Article ID: CBB001023842

From Isolation and Stagnation to “Modern” Mathematics in Iceland: A Reform or Confusion? (2006)


Bjarnadóttir, Kristín (Author)

Paedagogica Historica: International Journal of the History of Education
Volume: 42
Pages: 547--558

Publication Date: 2006
Edition Details: Part of a special issue, “History of Teaching and Learning Mathematics”
Language: English

At the beginning of the twentieth century, Iceland was under Danish rule. It was isolated in the middle of the North Atlantic, enjoying only little cultural exchange with other countries. A strong tradition of literacy and nurturing of literature flourished there, while knowledge in mathematics, natural sciences and technical matters was mainly confined to the few who attended the high school to become officials. Compulsory lower secondary education was formally established by a legislative act in 1946 and the high school was opened up with a centrally organized entrance examination. A number of new mathematics teachers were needed at the lower secondary level to meet these new education opportunities, while the teacher training programme provided only for primary education. A programme for secondary school teachers was established in 1951 but it produced too few teachers. A State Textbook Publishing House for the compulsory school level was kept with minimal funding and consequent lack of innovations in the field of learning material. In the mid-1960s, increased pressure was felt on the school system from a massive expansion of demand for more and better education, resulting from a better economy and an increasing number of intellectuals criticizing the deficiencies of the school system. The OECD paradigm -- that mathematical and technical education contributed to economic progress, and its support to an international `modern' mathematics reform wave -- reached Iceland under these conditions. In a couple of years, `modern' mathematics was introduced at all school levels, with consequent turmoil that lasted a decade. Similar problems arose in Iceland to those in other countries; the set theoretical approach did not meet the expectations of the educators and parents complained that they did not understand their children's homework. However, the reform brought new opportunities to teachers and a large amount of funds was allotted to curriculum development and publication of new teaching material. All things considered, the introduction of `modern' mathematics to Iceland must be regarded as a reform in spite of the various problems it brought.

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Article Schubring, Gert (2006) History of Teaching and Learning Mathematics. Paedagogica Historica: International Journal of the History of Education (p. 511). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Phillips, Christopher J.
Gvirtz, Silvina
Aisenstein, Angela
Aalerani, Alejandra
Cornejo, Jorge N.
Tankler, Hain
Paedagogica Historica: International Journal of the History of Education
Journal Electronique d'Histoire des Probabilités et de la Statistique
Science and Education
VIET: Voprosy Istorii Estestvoznaniia i Tekhniki
British Society for the History of Mathematics Bulletin
History of Education Quarterly
University Press of America
Vydavatelský servis
University of Chicago Press
Harvard University
Science education and teaching
Primary and secondary education
Mathematics education
Social aspects of education
Science and government
Kolmogorov, Andrei Nikolaevich
Fréchet, Maurice René
Maqdīsh, Maḥūd ibn Saʿīd
Smith, David Eugene
Gentile, Giovanni
United States
South America
20th century
19th century
20th century, late
20th century, early
21st century
18th century
Universität Dorpat

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