Beijing Normal University (China) The 4th International Conference on Mathematics Textbook Research and Development Opens in Beijing

The strength of mathematics determines the development level of modern science and technology as well as the future of the society. Since mathematics education has been an important part of modern school education, and mathematics textbooks have almost become the most important learning materials for everyone’s mathematical literacy and the main vehicle for mastering mathematics, the quality of mathematics textbooks is recognized to be of great significance for the change and development of mathematics education. In recent years, the research on mathematics textbooks has received increasing attention in the international mathematics education community. Understanding textbooks and their development, and understanding how textbooks are used to facilitate teachers’ professional work, to support students’ learning, and to promote and influence curriculum reform have become important fields of mathematics textbook research internationally. The 4th International Conference on Mathematical Textbooks Research and Development, representing the highest level, the most influential and the most widely participated in the field of international mathematical textbook research, opened on November 14, 2022, in Beijing Normal University.


Guests gather to send a common message on the high-quality development of mathematics textbooks

At the opening ceremony starting at 1:30pm, Frederick Leung, President of the International Commission of Mathematical Instruction, Gu Mingyuan, Honorary President of the Chinese Society of Education, Tian Gang, President of the Chinese Mathematical Society, Shen Jiliang, First level Inspector of the Textbook Bureau of the Ministry of Education, China, Zhou Zuoyu, Vice President of Beijing Normal University, and Zhu Xudong, Dean of Faculty of Education of Beijing Normal University addressed the opening ceremony respectively. The Conference was chaired by Professor Qi Chunxia, Chair of the conference’s International Programme Committee, and the opening ceremony was held in a combination of online and offline, with more than 4,000 participants online.

Frederick Leung pointed out that mathematics textbooks have been playing a key role in mathematics learning, and the reform of textbooks needs to be paid more attention. In addition to providing opportunities for mathematical researchers to participate in exchanges, the conference also provided a platform for extensive discussion of mathematics textbooks. Gu Mingyuan believes that excellent textbooks do not teach students rote knowledge, but teach students the basic concepts and logical thinking of mathematics. Mathematics is closely related to people’s daily life and is not as difficult as people imagine, where the key is textbook compiling for primary and secondary schools. Tian Gang highlighted that mathematics is the basis of science and technology. In mathematics education, textbooks could to a degree decide the methods that teachers design curriculum and organize class, and guide students’ understanding, thinking and feeling. That’s why the importance of textbooks in mathematics education has been widely recognized internationally. Shen Jiliang said that China’s mathematics education has its own advantages. Through the efforts of more than 20 years since the 21st century, Chinese mathematics textbooks has formed a featured system that can reflect Chinese characteristics and the structure of “one standard with multiple copies”. In the future, Chinese textbooks construction should adhere to the guidance of core quality, encourage the diversification, promote the specialization of the development team, and explore the digitalization of teaching resources more in-depth. Zhou Zuoyu said in his speech that Beijing Normal University has made important contributions to the reform and development of mathematics curriculum and textbooks in China. Under the global circumstances, mathematicians and mathematics educators from different countries and regions should keep close contact, think globally and act locally, work hard to strengthen international cooperation and promote the construction of high-quality teaching materials system. Zhu Xudong called for building a localized knowledge system, academic system and discourse system of mathematics education, which could constantly promote the international development of mathematics education, as well as high-level research products of mathematical education.


Information Disclosure on the Preparations and Main Agenda of the International Conference

The conference’s International Programme Committee consists of 20 experts from more than a dozen of countries, including current and past president of the International Commission of Mathematical Instruction, Freudenthal Prize awardees and other world renowned scholars in mathematics education. Professor Qi Chunxia, Deputy Director of the Institute of Curriculum and Teaching of Beijing Normal University, served as Chair of the International Procedures Committee, and Professor Fan Lianghuo, Director of Asian Center for Mathematics Education of East China Normal University, served as Co-chair of the IPC.

The Local Organization Committee of the conference was composed of 22 experts and scholars from 17 Chinese universities and scientific research institutions, including a few from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, who are important representatives in the field of mathematics teaching materials research in China. Professor Liu Jian, Director of the China Institute of Education Innovation, Beijing Normal University, served as Chair of the Local Organization Committee, and Professor Zhang Chunli and Cao Yiming served as cochairmen.

Because of the covid-19 pandemic, the conference was held online and offline at the same time, linking the main venue with six sub-venues. In addition to the main venue at Beijing Normal University, Asian Centre for Mathematics Education of East China Normal University, Northeast Normal University, Southwest University, Central China Normal University, Tianjin Normal University, Zhejiang Normal University and Zhuhai Campus of Beijing Normal University have set up sub-venues respectively.

The conference was held in Asia for the first time since its launch. Nearly 200 mathematics educators from more than 20 countries, including China, the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea, Germany, Brazil, Israel, the Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Indonesia, and the Philippines etc., submitted 113 papers, with nearly 400 officially registered representatives. The opening and closing ceremonies are broadcast worldwide, and the plenaries would be watched in the main venue and the six sub-venues at the same time. The joint efforts of scholars from all over the world would certainly exchange and share of the theoretical achievements and practical wisdom of international mathematics textbook research at the conference.

The conference lasts for 4 days, during which there are 5 plenaries, 4 symposiums, 1 workshop, 68 oral reports and 7 Poster & Sponsor Exhibition. Professor Shi Ningzhong of Northeast Normal University in China, Professor Jane Remillard of the University of Pennsylvania in the United States, Professor Sebastian Rezat of Paderborn University in Germany, Professor Gert Schubring of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and Professor JeongSuk Pang of the Korean University of Education were invited to make reports on the conference. On the basis of setting up oral report topics such as mathematical textbook development, mathematical textbook content and language, mathematical textbook use and student achievement, historical research on mathematical textbooks, comparative research on mathematical textbooks, mathematical textbook policy, other disciplines and mathematical textbooks, the Congress would pay more attention to the relationship between curriculum reform and textbook development, and the meta-research of mathematical textbooks for the first time. At the same time, the challenges faced by mathematics textbooks in the context of the epidemic situation would also be discussed.


Exploring the Origin of the International Conference on Mathematics Textbook Research and Development

In 2014, a team led by Professor Fan Lianghuo, Chair in Education and Director of the Research Center for Mathematics and Science Education at the University of Southampton, and Professor Geoffrey Howson, former Secretary General of the International Commission on Mathematical Instruction and former Chair in Mathematics Curriculum Studies at the University of Southampton, jointly planned and organized the first International Conference on Mathematics Textbook Research and Development (ICMT), which is then held every two or three years in different regions of the world. After eight years of development, the conference has become the most important and comprehensive academic conference in the field of international mathematics textbook research, focusing on many important research fields of mathematics textbook research, and it also had had a positive impact on the research and development of textbooks in other disciplines. Following the success of the ICMT-1 in Southampton, UK, ICMT-2 was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2017, and ICMT-3 in Paderborn, Germany in 2019, and this conference, ICMT-4, now, in Beijing, China. The conference will also provide a stage for Chinese mathematics educators to show the development of Chinese mathematics textbooks and the latest academic research achievements of mathematics textbooks to the world.

It is understood that the 5th International Conference on Mathematics Textbook Research and Development, ICMT-5, will be held in Norway. At the closing ceremony of this conference, Professor Birgit Pepin, Chair of the International Program Committee of ICMT-5, who is Director of the Engineering Education Research Center of Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands, will introduce the next conference to the participants.

For more information about the conference, one may visit the conference website: or contact the conference secretariat at