FIELDS MATHEMATICS EDUCATION FORUM
MINUTES - May 11, 2002
Gary Flewelling, Geoff Roulet, Lynda Graham, George Gadanidas, Sonia
Ben Jaafar, Diane, Stewart Craven, Gila Hanna, Dragana Martinovic, Walter
Whiteley, Bradd Hart, Miroslav Lovric, Chris Suurtamm, Peter Taylor,
9:30 to 10:00 refreshments
A light lunch will be served at an appropriate time.
2. Approval of Agenda - Additional items
3. Minutes of April 6 Meeting
4. Matters arising from the Minutes
5. Report by the Steering Committee and the Fields
6. Reports by the Task Forces (please send a paragraph to Maryam for
a. On-line courses
b. Grade 12 Mathematics of Data Management
c. School, College and University Interface
7. Reports from Associations and other Groups
f. MAA Seaway Section
g. "Tomorrow's Classroom" project MSTE Queen's University
7. Online elementary teacher education program at the University of
8. The Canadian Mathematical Society will hold a national educational
forum in Montreal on May16-18 2003 in UQAM (Montreal) which is to be
followed by a second one in Ontario in
Based on the information provided below, we will explore the role that
the Fields Forum could play in these meetings and, at the same time,
will consider studies, research, projects, etc. that could tie in and
could be developed as part of funding proposals.
9. Other matters
The Canadian Mathematical; Society held a National Mathematics Education
Forum in Quebec City in 1995. It was a great meeting for all those who
attended but very little influence was achieved beyond that personal
experience. This time the proposal is for two such meetings with the
first generating studies, proposals, information requests, etc., etc.,
that would be acted upon and reported at a second meeting a year after.
The second meeting will be hosted by the Fields and it seems appropriate
for the Forum to take a substantial role and take certain initiatives
into the first Forum that it would report at the second.
For the announcement please see
Please read through the following information, the latest draft of
program ideas from the organizers
1. First half-day: comparison of experiences.
We should expect brief presentations of what is done in all regions
of the country. As time is short written texts of the presentation should
circulate before the Forum (put them on the web some weeks before the
Forum and give paper copies at the Forum?)
Proposed plenary speaker is Liping Ma. Liping Ma has had a tremendous
impact in the US and was very effective in her presentations at the
CMS meeting in Vancouver. She has written a book Knowing and teaching
elementary mathematics: teachers understanding of fundamental
mathematics in China and United States reviewed by Roger Howe
in the Notices of the AMS, vol. 46, number 8, 1999, page 881).
Other suggestions of persons on foreign experiences?
2. Second half-day: Maths how to make it interesting?
The activity should start with a panel with several people covering
several themes. Here are some suggestions:
· Competitions and math circles: Ravi Vakil
· Maths camps: someone from Quebec
· Making maths interesting: Kanwal Neel, president of BC association
of math teachers
· Popularizing mathematics for the public: Stéphane Durand
(he is the one who made the ideas for the math posters of the WMY 2000
in Quebec. He is often invited to speak of mathematics in radio programs.)
· Maths in the news, coverage of maths in the media.
· Maths and technology: introduce such a course in the training
of future teachers
3. Third half-day: centered on curriculum.
Proposed lecturer: Jean-Pierre Kahane, Paris. Jean-Pierre Kahane, a
past president of ICMI (International Commission of Mathematical Instruction),
is a first-rank mathematician, and a very good speaker. He is a member
of the French Academy of Sciences. He has chaired over the last few
years the Commission Kahane appointed by the French Minister
of Education to bring recommendations for the revision of all mathematics
programs in the French schools (primary and secondary). The Commission
Kahane has published dozens of Studies of all kinds on math school education.
4. Fourth half-day: centered on training of teachers
Proposed lecturers Hyman Bass and/or Deborah Ball
Both of them are very involved in ICMI: Hyman Bass is ICMI president
and also president of the American Mathematical Society (AMS). Deborah
Ball is co-chairing the Program Committee for the ICMI Study on Teacher
Education. Deborah Ball and Hyman Bass have regularly given talks together.
Both are excellent lecturers. As a matter of fact, they are together
plenary speakers at the 25th Anniversary meeting of CMESG (Canadian
Math Education Study group), May 2002 at Queens. On November 2 and 3,
2001 in the United States the Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences,
which guided the development of The Mathematical Education of Teachers
(MET), launched MET with a National Summit on the Mathematical Education
of Teachers Deborah Ball and Hyman Bass gave a joint talk Teaching,
Learning, and Learning to Teach in Elementary Mathematics Methods
with many examples to show how much mathematics a teacher must know
to teach even the most basic arithmetic.
Proposed lecturer: Jean-Marie De Koninck, department of mathematics,
The public lecture will be in French and advertising will be made to
attract people, mainly teachers other than the participants of the Forum:
Jean-Marie de Koninck is a very famous figure in Quebec (he is the main
person behind Nez Rouge, a very well-known activity related
to drinking-and-driving problems and mainly active around Christmas
parties time). Jean-Marie De Koninck is a very good mathematician (number
theorist). He has a lot of experience of activities for the great public.
In particular he is now for two years the animator of a TV series Cest
mathématique on mathematics (he was chosen because of his
fame.) He will be giving the public talk during the CMS meeting, June
2002 in Laval and he is currently putting a lot of energy into making
this a top-level show for the public.
Some challenges for the Forum to have an impact on mathematical education
Teachers are essential for a successful mathematical education. How
can we make it attractive so that gifted mathematics students consider
the teaching profession? How can we ensure that the teachers are respected?
How can we give future teachers the best training?
In some regions of the country the number of students going to science
and mathematics is decreasing. In other regions this is not the case.
Why? How do we motivate students to do mathematics and science? Mathematics
and science are difficult. Moreover the younger one starts in a serious
way, the further one is likely to go and be well-prepared. How can we
make young students think that doing difficult things is exciting?
In order to have mathematics education improve in Canada we need to
convince everyone: provincial ministries of education, schools, the
public, companies, etc., that mathematics education is a national priority.
How can we arrange that those who do not participate in the Forum are
aware of it, so that the impact of the Forum is national and not just
among the participants?