Discussion group 20:
Current problems and challenges in primary mathematics education
Roberto Casas Auditorium (FACPYA) and room A201

DG 20 will examine important questions regarding problems and challenges in primary mathematics education around the world. The age range that this discussion group deals with is from 3-12 years old. We are interested in an international perspective in our discussions and will continue to consider some of the themes that were brought up in this discussion group from ICME 2004 as well as introduce some new foci for our discussions.

  • Charles Opolot-Okurut (Uganda)
    copolotokurut@yahoo.co.uk
  • Joan Moss (Canada)
    jmoss@oise.utoronto.ca
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Team members:
  • Tania Campos (Brazil)
    taniammcampos@hotmail.com
  • Anne Gervasoni (Australia)
    Ann.Gervasoni@acu.edu.au
  • Bin Wei (China)
    binwei32@hotmail.com
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Questions central to the discussion
  • - What is the status of the National Curricula, in different countries, regarding content coverage, organization, assessment and pedagogical approaches?
  • - What is the current situation of teaching mathematics in primary schools in different countries to cater for the range of different abilities?
  • - How are different countries managing issues of equity of gender, access, language and disadvantaged groups in preschool and primary years?
  • - What are the key problems and challenges faced in primary school education in your country?
  • - What is the role of technology in different countries in preschool, primary and special education?
  • - What are the teaching approaches for teaching large classes of more than 70 learners?
  • - What is the role of informal knowledge in primary school education in different countries?
  • - What is the balance of focus for preparing primary mathematics teachers: a focus on strong mathematics content knowledge or a focus on the development of how children learn?
  • - How is the math education community responding to new strands of mathematics that are being introduced in the early years? e.g. Algebra, Mathematical modeling.
  • - What mathematics do teachers need to know and to learn to successfully teach mathematics in primary schools?
  • - What mathematics is seen to be critical or essential at this level of schooling?
  • - How is assessment conducted in primary schools to identify pupils’ current knowledge and mathematical abilities?
  • - What factors hinder pupils’ opportunity to learn in the context of primary schools?
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Call for contributions

Those wishing to participate in DG 20 are encouraged to submit a one-page description of their interest and/or research related to these questions or other questions more generally on the topic of problems and challenges in primary mathematics teaching and learning. It would be helpful if these descriptions could include the author(s) names and location (town and country, school or establishment; the age range of the pupils concerned or, if referring to teachers, the ages of the pupils taught and, where relevant, the mathematics topics that are addressed.

These contributions should be received by each of the five members of the committee no later than Dec. 17, 2007 and should specify the question or questions that will be addressed.

As well as the usual kinds of paper proposals, we also invite contributions of brief video clips of pupil learning in elementary school classrooms. These clips would be accompanied by: a transcript in English or subtitles of the video clips in a language other than English. These clips would be supported by background information such as: country, type of school, age of students, research project as well as a description of the particular goals of the researcher/teacher in presenting the video.

Participants whose proposals will have been accepted by the organizing team should submit, via e-mail attachment, a paper of 1000 to 2000 word in extent, to each member of the Organizing Team not later than Jan. 18, 2008,

The organizing team expects to make its selection of participants no later than January 25, 2008. It is understood that a necessary condition for participation in the group and posting of any material is that the participant be registered for ICME 11.

No later than April 15, 2008, the organizing group will circulate an agenda for the three sessions. Some individuals will be requested to play particular roles.
Please note that the set of questions we have included seeks to provide a stimulus for papers. They are not intended to limit the areas of discussion. Those wishing to participate in the discussion group are encouraged to e-mail other possible areas of discussion to the group chairs for inclusion in the draft program even if not supported by a discussion paper.

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