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The enrichment of Belgian secondary school mathematics with elements of the Dutch model of Realistic Mathematics Education since the 1980s

Book Contribution - Chapter

In search for alternatives for the failed New Math movement of the 1960s and 1970s, Belgian mathematics educators looked with great interest to the Dutch model of Realistic Mathematics Education (RME), developed by Hans Freudenthal (1905-1990) and his team at the University of Utrecht. In this chapter we primarily focus on how, from the mid 1980s until the mid 1990s, valuable elements of that model were integrated in Belgian secondary school mathematics. At that time, the influence of Dutch mathematics education on Belgian curricula was quite substantial, but some form of collaboration between the communities of mathematics teachers in both countries already existed since the early 1950s. However, from the 1950s until the 1970s, school mathematics in both countries evolved largely independentof each other. In Belgium, the structural New Math approach, with Georges Papy (1920-2011)as the main figurehead, became dominant in school mathematics, while the modernization of school mathematics in the Netherlands was strongly inspired by Freudenthal’s RME model emphasizing the role of applications and modelling.
Book: International reflections on the Netherlands didactics of mathematics:Visions on and experiences with Realistic Mathematics Education
Pages: 189 - 208
Publication year:2020