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Fifth European Summer University





19-24 July 2007, Prague, Czech Republic


This is going to be the 5th meeting of this kind. The initiative of organizing a Summer University (SU) on History and Epistemology in Mathematics Education belongs to the French Mathematics Education community, in the early 1980’s. From those meetings emerged the organization of a SU on a European scale, as the European Summer University (ESU) on History and Epistemology in Mathematics Education. Some more information on the previous ESU is given in the Appendix  below.


1.  Aim and focus of the ESU

The ESU mainly aims

- to provide a forum for presenting research in mathematics education and innovative teaching methods based on a historical, epistemological and cultural approach to mathematics and their teaching;

- to give the opportunity to mathematics teachers, educators and researchers to share their teaching ideas and classroom experience;

- in this way, to motivate further collaboration in this perspective among members of the mathematics education community in Europe and beyond.

The ESU’s focus is not only to stress the use of history and epistemology in the teaching and learning of mathematics, in the sense of a technical tool for instruction, but also to reveal the following aspects of mathematics:

 • Mathematics should be conceived as a living science, a science with a long history, a vivid present and an as yet unforeseen future;

• This conception of mathematics should not only be the core of the teaching of mathematics, but it should also be the image of mathematics spread to the outside world.

In this connection, emphasis put on historical and epistemological issues of mathematics may lead to a better understanding of mathematics itself and to a deeper awareness of the fact that mathematics is not only a system of well-organized finalized and polished mental products, but also a human activity, in which the processes that lead to these products are equally important with the products themselves.

In particular, integration of historical and epistemological issues of mathematics in mathematics education may help to realize that:

- Mathematics is the result of contributions from many different cultures;

- The philosophy of mathematics has evolved through the centuries;

- The teaching of mathematics has developed through the ages;

- Mathematics has been in constant dialogue with other sciences, arts and technics;

- Mathematics has been a constant force of scientific, technical, artistic and social development

and in this way, to improve the learning of mathematics and stimulate students’ interest to it;

This helps to improve mathematics education at all levels, at the same time, however, realizing that although mathematics is central to our modern society and a mathematically literate citizenry is essential to a country’s vitality, it is not the sole subject worth studying. It is the harmony of mathematics with other intellectual and cultural pursuits that makes the subject interesting, meaningful and worthwhile. In this wider context history and epistemology of mathematics have a yet more important role to play in providing a fuller education of the community.

This is most important especially today that many countries are concerned about the level of mathematics their students learn and about their decreasing interest in mathematics at a time when the need for both technical skills and a fuller education is rising.


2. Main themes of the ESU-5

The ESU is neither a collection of intensive courses, nor a conference for researchers, but something in between. More specifically, it is a place where beginners, more experienced researchers and teachers from all levels of education present their teaching experience to the benefit of the participants and get a constructive feedback from them. The programme and activities of the ESU are structured around some main themes, which, for the ESU-5 are the following (for the themes of the previous ESU, see the Appendix):

     1. History and Epistemology as tools for an interdisciplinary approach in the teaching and learning of Mathematics and the Sciences

     2. Introducing a historical dimension in the teaching and learning of Mathematics

     3. History and Epistemology in Mathematics teachers’ education

     4. Cultures and Mathematics

     5. History of Mathematics Education in Europe

     6. Mathematics in Central Europe


3. Activities during the ESU

The ESU includes a few plenary lectures and panels. However, a major part of the ESU consists of workshops. The scientific program of the ESU will be structured along its main themes.

Plenary lectures and workshops should refer to these main themes.

In the panels the participants will work together, well before the ESU, so that there is a real discussion among them and/or with the panel coordinator during the panel session

In workshops the participants read and work on the basis of material distributed by the organizer of the workshop (e.g. original texts, chosen and briefly presented by the organizer, or teaching material used or proposed by the organizer etc). This means that there are many workshops in parallel, which may vary in duration (say, from 2 to 5 hours). It would be very good and stimulating if there were workshops, which elaborate on the general ideas presented in the plenary lectures.

In addition, there will be parallel sessions with oral presentations for participants who want to speak about their own experience, or research. This is an activity in the spirit of a conventional research conference.

Finally, it is expected that poster sessions and exhibitions of books and other didactical material will also be present in this ESU.


4. Target population

The major part of the participants is expected to be (elementary or secondary) schoolteachers, who may wish to gain new ideas on how they can integrate the history of mathematics into their teaching. However, there will be also university teachers and students, interested in the history and epistemology of mathematics and their integration into mathematics education, as well as, historians of mathematics, who may give lectures and workshops to inform others about recent developments in their domain, and mathematicians with an interest in the relation between mathematics, its history and epistemology, and its role at present and in the past.


5.  Time and place

The 5th ESU will take place from Thursday 19 to Tuesday 24 July, 2007 at Univerzita Karlova v Praze, Pedagogickα fakulta, Katedra matematiky a didaktiky matematiky (Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Education), Czech Republic.  The location of the conference site ir right in the center of Prague, near Vaclavské námesti, at M. D. Rettigové street, number 4, Praha 1.  The nearest underground stations are Národni trida and Mustek.


6.  Submission of proposals

The dealine for proposals for oral presentations and workshops has expired.  However, proposals for 10-minute short oral presentations or poster presentations (with an abstract of no more than 200 words to be included in the proceedings) can be submitted until February 28, 2007.  Please submit the title and a short abstract (including full name, affiliation and e-mail and postal addresses to Evelyne Barbin, Chair of the ESU-5, e-mail:; postal address:  Centre François Viète, Faculté des sciences et des techniques, 2 rue de la Houssinière, BP 92208, 44322 Nantes Cedex, FRANCE.


7.  Programme

There will be one plenary lecture for each of the six themes, as follows:

Theme 1:  Leo Corry, University of Tel Aviv (Israel), Axiomatics between Hilbert and R. L. Moore:  Two Views on Mathematical Research and their Consequences on Education

Theme 2:  Luis Puig, University of Valencia (Spain), Researching the history of algebraic ideas from an educational point fo view

Theme 3:  Fritz Schweiger, University of Salzburg (Austria), The implicit grammar of mathematical symbolism

Theme 4:  Ulrich Rebstock, University of Freiburg (Germany), Mathematics in the service of the Islamic community

Theme 5:  Hélène Gispert, University of Orsay (France) and Gert Schubring, University of Bielefeld (Germany), The history of Mathematics Education and its contexts in 20th century France and Germany

Theme 6:  Magdalena Hyksova, Czech Technical University in Prague (Czech Republic), Contribution of Czech mathematics to the theory of probability

In addition, there will be two plenary panel discussions, as follows:

Theme 2:  Mathematics of yesterday and teaching of today, Evelyne Barbin (France), Abraham Arcavi (Israel), Luis Radford (Canada), Fritz Schweiger (Austria)

Theme 5:  The emergence of mathematics as a major teaching subject in secondary schools, Gert Schubring (Germany), Hélène Gispert (France), Livia Giacardi (Italy), Nikos Kastanis (Greece)

Other parts of the program, still tentative, can be found by clicking here.


8.  Official Languages

The official languages of ESU-5 are three:  English, Czech and French.  More specifically

            - All plenary talks and panel discussions will be in English.

            - Oral presentations can be delivered in any of the three official languages.  However, for presentations in either Czech or French, presenters will be asked to use two sets of transparencies; one set in the language in which they will present and one set in English.

            - It is preferable to organize Workshops in English, but a number of workshops could also be in Czech or French. Nevertheless, workshop organizers who intend to organize their workshop in Czech or French are encouraged to prepare copies in English of the material to be distributed to the participants (e.g., transparencies, worksheets).  This will certainly increase participation, as well as facilitate communication among participants.


9.  Proceedings

Publishing the Proceedings of the ESU is also a major task.  In fact, Proceedings of the previous ESU have become standard references in this area (cf. the Appendix ).  It is important to have high quality reports and texts in the Proceedings.  To this end, the members of the SPC will review the submitted proposals at the usual international standards.


10.  Registration

Participants should register online via the ESU-5 website,, by filling in the Registration Form.

Early registration by February 28, 2007:  Fee is 90 EUR

Late registration by May 31, 2007:  Fee is 120 EUR

Onsite registration fee is 150 EUR

More details are available at the website.

Registration fee includes the ESU 5 proceedings plus postage, the welcome reception cocktail, coffee breaks, the conference bag which includes the programme and certificate of attendance, and free access to all activities.


11.  Accommodation

The conference organizers will only provide accommodation in university residences.  Participants who wish to stay in a hotel are requested to make theor own arrangements.  Again, information on both university residences and hotels are available on the ESU-5 website.


12. The (international) Scientific Program Committee (SPC)

Evelyne Barbin, University of Nantes (France), chair

Nada Stehlikova, Charles University in Prague (Czech Republic), co-chair

Constantinos Tzanakis, University of Crete (Greece), co-chair

Abraham Arcavi Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel)

Michel Balieu, CREM (Nivelles), Université Libre de Bruxelles, (Belgium)

Martina Becvarova, Czech Technical University of Prague (Czech Republic)

Otto Bekken, Agder University College, Christiansand (Norway)

Carlos Coreia de Sa, University of Porto (Portugal)

Ubiratan d’ Ambrosio Campinas University, Sao Paolo, (Brazil)

Abdellah Elidrissi Ecole Normale Supérieure, Marrakech (Morocco)

Gail FitzSimons Monash University, Victoria (Australia)

Eduard Fuchs, Masaryk University of Brno (Czech Republic)

Fulvia Furinghetti, University of Genoa (Italy)

Magdalena Hyksova, Czech Technical University of Prague (Czech Republic)

Sten Kaisjer, University of Uppsala (Sweden)

Victor Katz, University of  the District of Columbia, Washington, DC (USA)

Manfred Kronfellner, Vienna University of Technology (Austria)

Ladislav Kvasz Comenius University, Bratislava (Slovakia)

Ewa Lakoma, Military University of Technology of Warsaw (Poland)

Antoni Malet, University Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona (Spain)

Eva Milkova, University of Hradec Kralove (Czech Republic)

Luis Radford Université Laurentienne Sudbury, Ontario (Canada)

Leo Rogers, University of Roehampton (UK)

Gert Schubring, University of Bielefeld (Germany)

Man-Keung Siu University of Hong Kong (China)

Jan van Maanen, University of Groningen (The Netherlands)


The Local Organizing Committee (LOC)

Nada Stehlikova, Charles University in Prague (chair)

Martina Becvarova, Czech Technical University of Prague

Antonin Jancarik, Charles University in Prague,

Darina Jirotkova, Charles University in Prague,

Jana Kratochvilova, Charles University in Prague,

Karel Kubin, webmaster

Marie Kubinova, Charles University in Prague,

Pavel Sisma, Masaryk University of Brno

Jaroslav Zhouf, Charles University in Prague


13.  More information

The web site at   will be consantly updated to include the latest information on ESU-5. 

Evelyne Barbin, France

Nada Stehlikova, Czech Republic,

C. Tzanakis, Greece


"Fifth European Summer University," Convergence (December 2005)