16-20 January 1967 The UNESCO Colloquium on "Coordination of instruction of Mathematics and Physics" is held in Lausanne

H. Freudenthal and W. Servais participate. Important resolutions concerning the teaching of mathematics are adopted (ICMI Archives, 14B 1967-1974, 166)

March 1967 The Executive Committee of the ICMI for the 1967-1970 period begins its term

President: H. Freudenthal
Vice-Presidents: E. Moise, S. Sobolev
Secretary: A. Delessert
Members: H. Behnke, A. Revuz, B. Thwaites
Ex officio: H. Cartan (President of IMU)

(Cf. Internationale Mathematische Nachrichten, 91, 1969, 2)

July 1967 Release of the first volume prepared by ICMI and published by UNESCO, New trends in mathematics teaching, I, 1966 (Paris, 1967)

It is a collection of articles dedicated to modern mathematics teaching.
The volume also includes a list of symposia on mathematics teaching, a first list of journals relating to this subject, and a list of centres where the problems concerning mathematical education are studied.

21-25 August 1967 The Colloquium How to teach mathematics so as to be useful is held in Utrecht

The colloquium was attended by 34 active and 34 passive members (Internationale mathematische Nachrichten, 91, 1969, 3). Lectures are given by H. Behnke, A. Brailly, A. Delessert, A. Engel, T.J. Fletcher, H. Freudenthal, M. Glaymann, H.B. Griffiths, J. M. Hammersley, M. Håstad, M. S. Klamkin, A. Z. Krygowska, R. C. Lyness, Ch. Pisot, H. O. Pollak, A. Revuz, A, Roumanet, W. Servais, H. G. Steiner, J. Tavernier, R.J. Walker, G. Young, and will be published in the new journal Educational Studies in Mathematics (1, 1-2, 1968, 1-243).

26 August 1967

After the Colloquium in Utrecht there is an important meeting of the Executive Committee of the ICMI. President Hans Freudenthal believes that the practice of quadrennial reports at the ICMs is not a good one because the national reports are generally useless. He proposes the idea of an ICMI congress to take place the year before the ICM, with invited lectures and communications. The Assembly approves the proposal to organise an ICMI congress in 1969 and Maurice Glaymann proposes holding it in France. André Revuz solicits the founding of a new journal expressly aimed at professors at the secondary level, since the level of L'Enseignement Mathématique, the official publication of the ICMI, is too high.

Freudenthal suggests that future congresses not include the topics of programs and scholastic organising. He proposes the following topics for discussion at the next congress in Bucharest:
  • Mathematisation;
  • Motivation;
  • How to teach mathematics without a schoolteacher;
  • Comparative evaluation of the contents of mathematics courses
  • Criteria of success
  • Evaluation of the results of research in mathematics education; research methodology
(EM II s., XIII, 1967, 245-246).

1967 - The Nordic Committee for the Modernisation of School Mathematics (Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden) presents a new syllabus inspired by New Math.

The work of this Committee is very important for all the Nordic countries, including Iceland. Among the most well-known members of the Committee is Bent Christiansen (Denmark), who will shortly become one of the Vice-Presidents of the ICMI.

May 1968 - Freudenthal launched the new journal, Educational Studies in Mathematics (ESM)

This is a truly international journal devoted to research in mathematics education, and is still today one of the leading international journals in this field.
The initiative was funded by UNESCO and the IMU was not consulted beforehand. IMU President H. Cartan complains that he was not informed about the ICMI initiative at the Paris meeting in May 1968 (Cf. for example ICMI Archives 14B 1967-1980, p. 134, 138, 139 and LEHTO 1998, p. 259).
On December 2, 1967 O. Frostman, IMU secretary, wrote to Freudenthal in an attempt to dissuade him from both initiatives:
I must admit that I am not too happy about the new pedagogical journal. Do you really think that there is a market for two international journals of that kind (I do not)? If you are not satisfied with L'Enseignement, perhaps it would be better to try to reform it. And I am afraid too that in a new journal the "modernisers" of the extreme sort would try to be very busy.

On December 20 Freudenthal replied:
I would like to reassure you about the new pedagogical journal. The provisional list of editors does not include any "radical". In spite of its name, Enseignement has never been a pedagogical journal. Its contributions on education were not pedagogical but organisatory and administrative. I do not believe it is possible to reorganize a journal so fundamentally. (ICMI Archives, 1967-1974)
The first issue contains the Proceedings of the Utrecht Colloquium How to teach mathematics so as to be useful and the recommendations of another meeting sponsored by the ICMI, held in Lausanne in January of the same year, entitled The coordination of the teaching of mathematics and physics (ESM 1, 1-2, 1968, 244).

23 September-2 October 1968 - The International Colloquium Modernisation of Mathematics Teaching in European Countries, organised by UNESCO, is held in Bucharest

39 experts from 22 European countries and some 300 Romanian secondary school teachers participate in the colloquium. Among the experts are ICMI President H. Freudenthal and other members of the Executive Committee, A. Delessert and A. Revuz.

In spite of the theme of the colloquium, almost without exception the talks concern problems of teaching at the secondary level. The Conclusions and Recommendations of the Colloquium are divided into four points: General considerations on the impact of mathematics on contemporary schools; Principles and methods, devoted to the analysis of the characteristics of modern mathematics teaching; Training of teachers, urging that "scientific and methodical aspects of training should be joined and completed by continuous education of the teachers in organized, permanent institutions"; International cooperation, soliciting, among other, the contribution of the ICMI (Cf. Colloque International UNESCO Modernization of Mathematics Teaching in European countries, Bucharest, Editions didactiques et pédagogiques,1968, pp. 549-556).

1969 - Hans Georg Steiner and Heinz Kunle found, with the sponsorship of the ICMI, the Zentralblatt für Didaktik der Mathematik (ZDM) , the first truly international journal on the didactics of mathematics to be established in Germany
(Cf. Internationale mathematische Nachrichten, 97, 1971, 5).

On the frontispiece of vols. I to XI is written: "Zentralblatt für Didaktik der Mathematik herausgegeben in Verbindung mit ... und der Internationalen Mathematischen Unterrichtskommission (IMUK)". The journal has two principal aims: to publish research papers and to review international publications.

1968-69 - The Instituts de Recherche sur l'Enseignement des Mathématiques (IREM) are created in France

The work of the so-called "Lichnérowicz Commission" created by Christian Fouchet, France's Ministry of National Education in January 1967, together with the Association des Professeurs de Mathématiques de l'Enseignement Public (APMEP) has a dual outcome: on the one hand, the formulation in spring 1968 of the so-called Charte de Chambery, which sets out the main principles of a radical reform of mathematics teaching in accordance with New Math and active pedagogy; on the other hand, the creation of the institutes for research in mathematics teaching (IREM).

24-30 August 1969 - The First International Congress on Mathematical Education (ICME-1) is held in Lyon (France)

The Congress, attended by 655 active participants from 42 countries (Cf. Internationale mathematische Nachrichten, 97, 1971, 4-5, ICMI Bulletin 5, 20-24) is a big success, thanks to the high level of the talks given.
 ICME 1, Lyon
ICME 1, Lyon: Z. Krygowska,
H. G. Steiner, F. Papy, Z. Dienes
The Congress adopts resolutions concerning: the modernisation of the teaching of mathematics, both in content and method; the collaboration between teachers of mathematics and those of other disciplines; international cooperation; the permanent training of the teachers; the place of "the theory of mathematical education" in universities or research institutes.
The Congress further recommends that the ICMI study the creation of an informational bulletin on mathematical education and pay more attention to mathematical education from the ages of pre-school to adult.
Many talks are indicative of how research in education is developing step by step. For example, in his address The Role of Research in the Improvement of Mathematics Education, Edward Griffith Begle says:

Edward Begle
I see little hope for any further substantial improvements in mathematics education until we turn mathematics education into an experimental science … We need to start with extensive, careful, empirical observations of mathematics teaching and mathematics learning. Any regularities noted in these observations will lead to the formulation of hypotheses. These hypotheses can then be checked against further observations, and refined and sharpened, and so on. To slight either the empirical observations or the theory building would be folly. They must be intertwined at all times. (Cf. Actes du premier Congrès International de l'Enseignement Mathématique, Lyon, 24-30 Août 1969, Dordrecht, D. Reidel Publ. Comp., 1969, p. 110, also in ESM, 2, 2/3, 1969-70, p. 242)

28-30 August 1970 The General Assembly of the IMU is held in Menton (France)

IMU President H. Cartan notes the important work accomplished by outgoing ICMI President Freudenthal, and expresses his desire that the measures that he had begun will come to fruition in the future. However, he does not even acknowledge the first ICME congress held in Lyon the previous year.

During the Assembly M. J. Lighthill is elected ICMI President for the coming four-year term and it is decreed that the past president of the ICMI, the secretary of the IMU and the representative of the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) Committee on the Teaching of Science should be members ex officio of the ICMI.

1-10 September 1970 - The XVI International Congress of Mathematicians is held in Nice (France) under the presidency of Jean Leray

2811 members from 61 countries participate at the Congress. Lectures are by invited speakers only, of which 16 are one-hour addresses of a general character, and 265 are specialized lectures of 30-50 minutes each, divided between 34 sessions (Cf. Internationale mathematische Nachrichten, 99, 1971, 1). Participants are given a copy of a publication containing the 265 communications.

The section Histoire et enseignement is divided into two subsections. The second of these, Enseignement des mathématiques, presents four talks: H. B. Griffiths, Mathematical insight and mathematical curricula; Z. Krygowska, Problèmes de la formation moderne des professeurs de mathématique; H. O.Pollak, On teaching application of mathematics; S. L. Sobolev, Quelques aspects de l'enseignement des mathématiques en URSS.
Krigovska emphasises the fact, already underlined during ICME-1, that mathematics teaching should not be oriented only towards advanced studies and that the mathematical culture belongs to everyone:

Les problèmes des études mathématiques des futurs maîtres ne se réduisent donc pas aux problèmes de la formation d'une élite des professeurs pour une élite des élèves. Au contraire, notre tâche très importante et très difficile, c'est la formation moderne de la masse des maîtres pour la masse des élèves, car ce n'est pas par l' élite des professeurs et par l' élite des élèves qu'on pourrait élever le niveau de la culture mathématique de toute la société. (Actes du Congrès International des Mathématiciens 1970, Paris, Gauthier-Villars, 1971, v. III, 348)

5 September 1970

The ICMI meeting takes place during the Nice Congress (EM II s. XVI, 1970, 197-199). The outgoing president presents the IMU's decisions regarding the composition of the ICMI Executive Committee. From the discussion that follows, two objections emerge:
  • Les membres de la Commission sont élus par des personnes qui ne sont pas particulièrement compétentes en matière d'enseignement mathématique élémentaire (déclarations de MM Papy, Freudenthal, Behnke, Kurepa)
  • Les membres élus ne représentent pas les diverses tendances qui se manifestent actuellement dans l'enseignement mathématique élémentaire (M. Papy).
  • (p. 198)
Two recommendations are thus formulated:
  • The regulations that establish the ways that ICMI members are designated must be modified;
  • It is mandatory to ensure that ICMI members are always chosen from among those who are effectively involved with mathematics teaching

Later discussion concerns the organisation of ICME-2. The Congress will take place in Exeter (UK) and will be structured differently from the preceding one: a limited number of plenary lectures on themes of general interest is foreseen, and working groups will be constituted for addressing more specialised topics.

Cover of Der Spiegel, 25 March 1974
Cover of Der Spiegel, 25 March 1974

Establishment in Utrecht of the IOWO, Institute for the Development of Mathematics Instruction, by Hans Freudenthal.
Freudenthal becomes an energetic opponent of the structuralist "New Math" and, thanks to the foundation of the IOWO, the founder of a new direction in mathematics education, the so-called realistic mathematics teaching, which would eventually gain international dominance


1970 - The Journal for Research in Mathematics Education is founded
IMU Bulletin

January 1971

Publication of the first issue of the Bulletin of the International Mathematical Union (IMU-Bulletin) edited by Secretary Otto Frostman.

1971- The Executive Committee of the ICMI for the 1971-1974 period begins its term

President: M. J. Lighthill
Vice-Presidents: S. Iyanaga, J. Suranyi
Secretary: E.A. Maxwell
Members : H. O. Pollak, S. L. Sobolev
Members at large: M. Barner, F. Châtelet, A. Gleason, L. Lombardo Radice, Y. Mimura, J. Novak.
Ex Officio: H. Freudenthal (Past President of ICMI), H. Cartan (delegated by the President of IMU K. Chandrasekharan), O. Frostman (Secretary of IMU), A. Lichnerowicz (CTS/ICSU) (Cf. ICMI Bulletin 1, 3, 8-9, ICMI Archives, 1967-1974, 18.1.1971).

38 countries have nominated their delegate:
 James Lighthill
James Lighthill

Argentina: L.A. Santalo
Australia: B.H. Neumann
Austria: E. Hlawka
Belgium: G. Noel
Brazil: L. Nachbin
Bulgaria: B. L. Petkanchin
Canada: A. L. Dulmage
Czechoslovakia: J. Vysin
Denmark: S. Bundgaard
Finland: L. Kaila
France: M. Glaymann
Germany BDR: H. Kunle, H.G. Steiner
Germany DDR: K. Hartig
Greece: C. Papaioannou
Holland: P.G.Vredenduin
Hungary: J. Szendrei
India: P. L. Bhatnagar
Ireland: J.R. Timoney
Israel: M. Maschler
Italy: A. Pescarini
Japan: S. Iyanaga
Luxembourg: L. Kieffer
Malawi: M. Cundy
Norway: A. Johansen
Pakistan: M. Raziuddin Siddiqi
Poland: Z. Semadeni
Portugal: S. Silva
Romania: G.C.Moisil
Senegal: S. Niang
Spain: P. Abellanas
Swaziland: R.J. Waterston
Sweden: H. Wallin
Switzerland: A. Delessert
Tunisia: M. Bougila
United Kingdom: E.A. Maxwell
USA: R.P. Dilworth
USSR: I.M.Yaglom
Yugoslavia: D. Kurepa (Cf. ICMI Bulletin 1, 5-7).

Livia Giacardi
March 2008