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Topic: ICME-9: WGA #6 Adult and Lifelong Education
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Jerry P. Becker

Posts: 15,675
Registered: 12/3/04
ICME-9: WGA #6 Adult and Lifelong Education
Posted: Mar 10, 1999 9:24 PM
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[Note: I am sending this at the request of Ms. Gail Simmons, the Chief
of Working Group for Action # 6: Adult and Lifelong Education in
Mathematics. This
WGA is one of 13 on the program of the Ninth International Congress on
Eucation to be held July 31-August 6, 2000 in Tokyo/Makurhari, Japan.

Please circulate this announcement widely.

ICME-9: Working Group for Action (WGA) 6: Adult and Life-long
Education in Mathematics.

Call for Proposals

The 1996 UNESCO report Learning: The Treasure Within made the
following observations.

"... education is at the heart of both personal and community
development; its mission is to enable each of us, without exception,
to develop all our talents to the full and to realize our creative
potential, including responsibility for our own lives and achievement
of our personal aims" (p. 19)

"... it seems to us that the concept of an education pursued
throughout life, with all its advantages in terms of flexibility,
diversity and availability at different times and in different places,
should command wide support. There is a need to rethink and broaden
the notion of lifelong education. Not only must it adapt to changes in
the nature of work, but it must also constitute a continuous process
of forming whole human beings - their knowledge and aptitudes, as
well as the critical faculty and the ability to act. It should enable
people to develop awareness of themselves and their environment and
encourage them to play their social role and work and in the
community" (p. 21)

"The concept of learning throughout life thus emerges as one of the
keys to the twenty-first century. It goes beyond the traditional
distinction between initial and continuing education. It meets the
challenges posed by a rapidly changing world. ... The need [for people
to return to education in order to deal with new situations in their
personal and working lives] is even becoming stronger. The only way of
satisfying it is for each individual to learn how to learn" (p. 22)

A forum such as ICME provides an excellent opportunity for
international exchange of ideas as well as the solidarity and
co-operation sought by bodies such as UNESCO. The concept of equity is
crucial and respect must be accorded adult learners in terms of their
cultural, linguistic, social, and other backgrounds; their voices must
be heard. It should also be recognised that the concept of work
encompasses not only paid work in the official labour market
(full-time, part-time, or casual) but also that which takes place in
the home and the community (paid and unpaid). Each of these are
potential sites for life-long education as well as formal
institutions. It follows from the above that social needs are no less
important than economic.

The information received from the ICME-9 International Program
Committee states: "A working group for action (WGA) could be defined
as a group which is composed of those experts and general participants
who are concerned with hot and controversial topics regarding the
subject/theme of the WGA, and who intend to think together and work
together in order to recognize the existing issues, and in order to
search for resolutions or approaches to resolutions of them and thus
wish to improve mathematics education in the relevant range." There
will be three 120-minute sessions in the Congress, with the
possibility of an extra 90 minute session. There will be a variety of
means for the presentation and exchange of views.

Against this background, it becomes important for us to share - if not
necessarily agree on - ideas about the mathematics education needs of
adults returning to study. Indeed, it may well be appropriate to
judge their needs in differing ways for differing purposes in
differing contexts. This working group for action (WGA) has been
placed on the ICME program following the successful 1996 WG on Adults
Returning to Mathematics Education, in recognition of the growing
importance of a complex field which spans all educational levels, and
is likely to be linked with issues of class, gender and race.

Work is being undertaken in many countries to develop systematic and
critical foundations for research into adult learners and life-long
education specifically in relation to mathematics education. This
research needs to be grounded in the work of those practising in the
field, and this WGA welcomes the contributions of educators with
experience of teaching mathematics to adults in any sector of
education, whether on a formal or informal basis.

For a working group to function productively, it is important to
facilitate genuine and fruitful exchange of opinion and development of
ideas. Accordingly, it is intended that much of the business of the
working group should be conducted in smaller groups, based around
short presentations and discussions, and that the programme will be
responsive to the proposals elicited by this call. In preparing the
programme, we shall also attempt to maintain contact with other
working groups and topic groups with intersecting interests.

We are calling for proposals for activities such as key-note lectures,
panel discussions, or short presentations. A short presentation
provides an opportunity for an individual or team to present relevant
ideas and evidence to colleagues (for, say, 20 minutes) followed by
questions and discussion. It will also be possible for Congress
participants to present a paper prepared by themselves, subject to
acceptance by the Organisers, but without making an oral presentation.

Proposals are invited by 31 January 2000, and we will respond to them
by 31 March. The proposal should be in English and should list: (a)
the style of presentation activity; (b) the title of the presentation;
(c) the name(s), affiliation(s) and address(es) of the presenter(s);
and (d) a 400-word (maximum) summary of the presentation.

Please send a copy to the Organisers at the addresses shown below. We
will respond to proposals by the end of May. We are also willing to
give informal advice to anyone preparing a proposal.

We look forward to hearing from interested mathematics teachers and


Delors, J. (Chair)..(1996). Learning: The treasure within. Paris:
United Nations Scientific, Cultural and Scientific Organization


Gail FitzSimons
34 The Boulevard
Victoria 3113
Tel: + 613 9844 2902


Diana Coben
School of Continuing Education
University of Nottingham
Nottingham NG7 2RD

John O'Donoghue
Department of Mathematics and Statistics
University of Limerick

Tel: 353 61 333644
Fax: 353 61 334927

Gail FitzSimons

For correspondence, please use my home address:

34 The Boulevard
Victoria 3113

I can only access e-mail on Tuesdays - if the matter is urgent,
please send a cc. to my husband, Paul at

Paul's fax: (613) 9637 8117

Home Phone: (613) 9844 2902

Jerry P. Becker
Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
Southern Illinois University
Carbondale, IL 62901-4610 USA
Fax: (618)453-4244
Phone: (618)453-4241 (office)

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