8th International Congress on
Mathematical Education

General Description

Back to ICME 8

ICME-8 studied both current problems and problems in the near future with regards to Mathematical Education and possible ideas for developments worldwide.

The general program of ICME-8 was organized around the following items:


Plenary Lectures

A plenary lecture is defined as a 60 minute talk chosen in a way that all congress participants may be interested in the topic as well as in the speaker who must, logically, be a charismatic person.

In ICME 8, four plenary lectures were given, two after the opening ceremony and the other two just before the closing ceremony.

It was proposed by the International Program Committee that the four plenary lectures for ICME 8 were to be given by professors Miguel de Guzman (Spain), David Tall (Great Britain), Paulo Freire (Brazil) and Anna Sierpinska (Canada).

International Debate

An International Debate is a plenary session conducted as a roundtable discussion involving members from different countries talking about key subjects of Mathematics allowing for a wide range of points of view and opinions on systems and situations. This could be balanced by a rich overview of solutions and future trends from a comparative educational perspective. This session will be coordinated by a moderator.

A 2-hour session of this type was organized in the afternoon on the first day so that congress participants could stay in the same place where the opening and plenary lectures took place.

The International Roundtable Discussion was centered around "Mathematics Teachers as Decision Makers: Changes and Challenges". It was moderated by professor Alan Bishop (Australia) and was participated in by the following professors: Francisco Hernan (Spain), Maria Salett Biembengut (Brazil), Gail Burrel (USA), Ruchama Even (Israel) and Tang Ruifen (China).

ICME-8 aimed to broadcast this open debate to other places in other countries (especially in Latin America) via satellite.

Regular Lectures

A regular lecture may be defined as a forty-five minute talk followed by a fifteen minute discussion session. The speakers were chosen according to their professional qualities and their communication abilities.

In ICME 8, 60 regular lectures were divided into 10 time slots of one hour each.

Working Groups (WG)

A Working Group may be defined as a group of people who meet on several occassions to ask questions and discuss a particular issue which has controversial or alternative approaches.

Each working group will be led, in turn, by a scientific committee formed by a chief organizer, three panel members and a local organizer. This committee will be in charge of the structure, contents and group dynamics as well as internal aspects. Its members, who will act as speakers, will be appointed by the Program Committee and formally invited by the committee president. The National Committee may put forward ideas about other professors who could be present at group communications. In this case, the aforementioned professors would be invited specifically by the National Committee president, their presentations being no longer than 15 minutes.

During the conference each working group met in four 90 minute sessions which were organized in the following way:

1st Session
Presentation, explanation of issue by the speaker, with debate or roundtable discussion to follow if the speaker wishes.
2nd Session
Subgroup debates.
3rd Session
Subgroup debates.
4th Session
General meeting in which the conclusions reached by each subgroup can be discussed.

Congress participants will choose a working group at registration time and remain with that group throughout the congress as all working group meetings will take place simultaneously.

The subjects of the working groups will be "controversial" and the organizers must try and encourage debate and active participation by members. This polemic aspect will constitute, perhaps, the main difference between working groups and topic groups.

There will be 26 subjects developed by the ICME 8 working groups. They are the following:

Working Groups

Topic Groups (TG)

A topic group is defined as a set of people interested in a particular topic of an educational nature who will meet on various occassions in order to get a deep knowledge of the implications of the subject for which their group is entitled.

In ICME 8 there will be two 90-minute sessions alotted to each topic group at registration time and congress members will remain with that group throughout the congress, as the group meetings will take place simultaneously.

Each topic group will be led, in turn, by a scientific committee formed by a chief organizer, 2 panel members and a local organizer. This committee will be in charge of structure, contents and group dynamics as well as internal aspects. Its members, who will act as speakers, will be appointed by the program committee and formally invited by the committee president. The National Committee may put forward ideas about other professors who could be present at group communications. In this case, the aforementioned professors would be invited specifically by the National Committee President, keeping in mind that their presentations should be no longer than 15 minutes.

The local organizer, as well as having the option of intervening as a speaker, will also be in charge of coordinating plans with the local organization committee and, if necessary, with the program on a national level.

There will be 26 subjects expanded on by the ICME 8 topic groups. They are the following:

Topic Groups

Permanent ICMI Study Groups

The ICMI has four official International Study Groups:

They will present the conclusions reached by the studies conducted during the four years between ICME congresses.

In ICME 8 the above mentioned groups will be given 3 sessions of 2 hours each at their disposal.

ICMI Studies

As seen before, ICMI study results will be given throughout the congress,following the pattern of other ICME congresses.

In ICME 8 the works related to the studies entitled:

will be presented.

The ICMI studies will have sessions of 2 hours each.

National Presentations

The national presentations will consist of a determined number of countries exhibiting information about the actual state of mathematical education in their countries.

In ICME 8 the current educative systems in Spain will be presented by the Spanish Federation of Mathematical Professors(FESPM) with representatives from some Central American countries and China invited to speak as well.

A few 2-hour sessions will be organized and it is recommended, if at all possible, that they involve an audiovisual presentation and allow for a question period or debate afterwards. Each individual presentation will be given one hour in which the presentation itself should be about three quarters of an hour followed by a 15 minute question period.

A professor will be assigned to co-ordinate and act as moderator.

Short Presentations

Short presentations can take the form of a poster, a videotape or a software sample. The person designated to present these items will have a fixed place and time to expose materials and talk to interested people about their subject matter.

The organizers of ICME 8 will provide each presenter with a time slot in which they can describe verbally, if they choose it, the nature of their exposition.

Special times for setting up posters and displays will be indicated in the final program.

Short presentations will be classified according to the subjects of the working groups and thus located by coherent topics.

The Selection Committee will have the difficult task of deciding to accept or refuse the exhibition of short presentations based on whether they are entirely adequate for this particular congress.

Permanent Activities

A permanent activity is one that will take place during the whole congress by means of exhibitions in set places with interactive or informative characteristics and, in some cases, even product sales. The organizers will provide special stands and areas for these activities. Permanent activities may be seen in the form of projects, exhibitions of special materials, commercial offers and so on, and can be visited throughout ICME 8. The schedule for these events will be open with the only restriction that they do not begin before 10'00 a.m.

The organizers will consider the years a team has dedicated to their project as well as the involvement of international members on the team. Also, the project must be of clear interest to the education community.

It will be the responsibility of the Program Committee to decide which projects will be accepted and which rejected based on these criteria.

If a group is interested in presenting a project they should direct their request to the ICME 8 Program Committee. The petition must show the style and topic of the presentation and how it contributes to Mathematical Education, with exact details and specifics of the project provided.

All requests must be presented before January 31st, 1996.

There will be a special selection committee in relation with to permanent activities in charge of, especially, both accepting activities and fixing activity times and locations, as well as handling possible economic negotiations.

Whatever activity that will generate income for the presenter must have economic repercussions for the Congress organization as well. The organization will provide a standardized list of fees according to module used.

Permanent Activities of the FESPM

FESPM is expecting to have a variety of different permanent activities such as:

Special Meetings (ICMI Assemblies, Association and Magazine, Editors meetings, etc.)

During ICME congresses distinct groups and organizations have the opportunity to meet to exchange points of view, establish new work strategies and so on.

In ICME 8 the following meetings, among others, have been programmed: The ICMI General Assembly, Association of Mathematical Education Meeting and the Editors, Directors and Promotors of Magazines on Mathematical Education Meeting.

Groups interested in holding a meeting of this kind during the congress must request permission from the Local Organizing Committee before April 30th 1996 and must include on their request the group name, goals, number of members, what they hope to achieve, necessary materials for their meeting, number of sessions required and estimated time needed for each one. They must also indicate if the meeting would be an open one in which case the organizers would publicize the meeting and provide an appropriate time and place as well as give indications such as daily orders if need be.

The ICMI General Meeting will be held Wednesday the 17th from 17:00-19:00.

Special Sessions

A special session is one that the congress committee considers relevant enough to be included in the program. Some examples of these sessions could be homages to professors or the last minute involvement of an outstanding person.

For ICME8 it has been suggested that some homages be given closely related to the ICME congresses and paticularly to those involved in international mathematical education development.

It has as well been suggested that some special sessions could be talks about monuments and place which will be visited on the excursion talking into consideration mathemathical, historical and cultural aspects. For example, a talk could be on "The geometry of The Alhambra of Granada" or "The Arab and Roman culture in Cordoba", and so on. The idea of forming round table sessions to talk about these themes has also been put forward.

Social and Cultural Activities

During ICME8 a wide range of social activities will be offered which, on one side, will allow congress members to get to know each other on a more informal basis and, on the other side, let them get to know a bit about the multi-faceted aspects of the country in which the congress is being held from a cultural and touristic point of view.

Apart from a diverse number of events held in the city, there will also be an opening reception for congress members and, at the end of the sessions, every day a happy hour will be held.

Thursday will be dedicated to excursions organized throughout the regions of Andalucia and Extremadura. There will be a number of fixed places which must be visited that day such as The Alhambra in Granada, The Mezquita in Cordoba, Colombine areas of the Huelva, The wine route, San Fernando Observatory, Natural wonders and horse routes in Cadiz and Jerez, The Mediterranean beaches in Malaga or The Roman route in Merida and Caceres.

An official program of excursions and activities before, during and after the Cogress will be provided by the Official Travel Agency.

During the Congress, accompaniants will be offered a specially designed program by the Travel Agency as well.

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Math Forum
17 June 1996