MA²ThE-TE-AMO Project Home Page

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European Commission - Comenius

European Commission - Education and Culture

Project Details

MAking MAThEmatics TEAchers MObile

129543-CP-1-2006-1 -IT-COMENIUS-C21


Project span

Project Coordinator

CAFRE Centro di Ateneo di Formazione e Ricerca Educativa
Università di Pisa

Contact person


Project Partners

(AT) Universität Wien

(CZ) Univerzita Karlova v Praze

(DK) University College Lillebælt, Skårup Seminarium

(FR) Institut Universitaire de Formation des Maîtres de l'Académie de Créteil

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Project Introduction

MA²ThE-TE-AMO – MAking MAThEmatics TEAchers MObile is a project partly supported by the European Commission under the Socrates programme – Comenius 2.1 action (Ref. No. 129543–CP–1–2006–1–IT–COMENIUS–C21).
It is therefore a project that, by the training of school education staff, aims at promoting the teachers mobility, enhancing the quality of teaching and strengthening its European dimension, in the field of mathematics education.


Aim and specific objectives
Innovative issues
Pedagogical and didactical approaches
Target groups and expected impact
Mobility of teachers and student teachers
Partnership composition and contribution
Schools linked to a partner Institution


After a survey of literature on teaching mathematics in a foreign language, a questionnaire on that issue is distributed to initial and in-service teacher training institutions. Based on the analysis of the answers, mathematicians and linguists prepare a few teaching units to be discussed with teachers and student teachers.
Two teachers (one in-service, one student teacher) from each country are prepared, linguistically and interculturally, to go abroad and teach the units using one of the selected foreign languages as the medium of instruction.
On the basis of reports from the visiting teachers a discussion takes place among them, teacher trainers, and interested teachers, with the aim of refining the teaching units. Video recordings of some of the above mentioned activities are used continuously as a stimulus for discussion and teacher training. As a conclusion of the activities and a way of disseminating results an international workshop is organized.

Rationale (top)

The project focuses on promoting teacher mobility by enhancing teachers’ confidence in their language competence and thereby reducing their reluctance to be mobile. It takes into account that:
  • the shortage of mathematics teachers is quite relevant in western countries;
  • mathematics is a truly international subject, i.e. taught everywhere with quite similar curricula and standards;
  • reading texts in mathematics requires a limited competence in a foreign language because mathematical texts usually have a limited vocabulary, make use of a symbolic language and have a standardized way of structuring and organizing sentences;
  • a higher degree in communicative competence is needed for the discussion/teaching of mathematical topics.

Background (top)

A preliminary analysis has shown the current situation to be:
  • in some countries (FR, IT), there is very little or no interaction between teachers in maths and languages;
  • in other countries (AT, CZ, DK) student teachers can achieve a joint degree in maths [taught in the mother tongue] and in a foreign language;
  • however, nowhere are the student teachers educated to use the foreign language as the medium of instruction in maths.

Aim and specific objectives (top)

The aim of the project is to prove, by the piloting of the same didactic units in the five partner countries, that it is not difficult to teach mathematics abroad provided teachers acquire the necessary intercultural communicative competence in a foreign language.
The specific objectives are:
  • through the comparison of the educational systems in the partner countries, to make teachers aware that mathematics curricula are quite similar at lower secondary school level;
  • through teaching units, to show teachers how an interactionist approach can represent a more effective way of teaching mathematics;
  • through piloting of the teaching units, to make teachers aware that in spite of the fact that mathematical language seems to require a rather limited vocabulary, it is all the same necessary to develop communicative competence in order to implement teaching based on an interactionist didactical approach;
  • through workshops in the partner institutions, to help teachers improve their intercultural communicative competence;
  • through the choice of relevant real-life cultural aspects as the basis for the design of the teaching units, to help teachers improve their awareness of the role of culture in the teaching/learning process;
  • through discussions between hosting and visiting teacher, to increase intercultural awareness and strengthen links between schools in various countries;
  • through their experiences when teaching in a foreign language, to acquire a better understanding of the additional difficulties pupils with a non-native mother tongue have to face when learning mathematics;
  • through the project outcomes, to work out an analysis of obstacles to mobility.

Innovative issues (top)

Mathematics teachers teaching the subject in a foreign country using a language which is not her/his first language is the most innovative aspect of the project.
The fact that the teaching units in mathematics are designed in a co-operation between teachers of foreign languages and teachers of mathematics is a further innovative aspect.

Pedagogical and didactical approaches (top)

During the preparation of their teaching abroad activity, teachers and student teachers will also have the opportunity to consider that, during their lessons, they need to use three languages that interact in an overt or covert way and influence each other: the learners’ mother tongue (L1), a foreign language (L2) and the language of mathematics (L3).
Teachers will be, therefore, asked to reflect on the great importance of making use of a plain (for L1), easy (for L2) and, at the same time, precise (for L3) linguistic approach to the mathematical communication in the classrooms they visit.
The fact that teachers and student teachers are to teach mathematical topics in a foreign language to pupils abroad will make them reflect on their previous teaching practice and consider more thoroughly their future pedagogical approaches.

Target groups and expected impact (top)

The main target groups are mathematics in-service teachers and student teachers in secondary schools. The dissemination of the experiences obtained through the piloting of the teaching units will increase teachers’ confidence in their ability to prepare and implement similar teaching units independently, thus  encouraging them to be mobile.
Video recordings, teaching units, reports, etc. will be an additional resource for teacher trainers and represent possibilities for change in their didactical approach.
Pupils – specifically those with a non-native mother tongue – will benefit from the possible changes in the teachers’ didactical approach.

Duration (top)

The first year is devoted to a deep analysis of the current situation in the partner countries as regards teaching mathematics in a foreign language and selection of topics to be taught.
The second year will be spent on designing teaching units and on discussing them with interested teachers and on the selection of schools and visiting teachers.
The preparation of visits and the piloting of the teaching units by visiting teachers will take place during the third year. The project will end with an international workshop.

Outputs (top)

  • Project web site
Nature: Web site
Contents (Public access area):
  • Bibliography (in EN) of literature on teaching maths in a foreign language
  • Data analysis (in CZ, DA, DE, EN, FR, IT) of the questionnaires on teaching maths in a foreign language abroad
  • Teaching units (in CZ, DA, DE, EN, FR, IT)
  • Reports from visiting teachers (in CZ, DA, DE, EN, FR, IT)
  • Selection of video clips of various project activities (language of instruction)
Contents (Restricted access area):
  • Forum for discussion
  • Administration
  • Internal communication
  • In-progress materials
Languages: CZ, DA, DE, EN, FR, IT
Target groups: In-service teachers, student teachers, teacher trainers, policy makers
Period of delivery: From 09.2007
  • DVD
Nature:  Teacher training material
  • Bibliography (in EN) of literature on teaching maths in a foreign language
  • Data analysis (in CZ, DA, DE, EN, FR, IT) of the questionnaires on teaching maths in a foreign language abroad
  • Teaching units (in CZ, DA, DE, EN, FR, IT)
  • Reports from visiting teachers (in CZ, DA, DE, EN, FR, IT)
  • Video clips of various project activities (language of instruction)
Languages: CZ, DA, DE, EN, FR, IT
Target groups: In-service teachers, student teachers, teacher trainers
Period of delivery: 09.2009
Teaching/learning environment: Secondary schools and teacher training institutions
  • International workshop
Nature    Workshop
  • Presentation of the main results of the project and of the DVD content
  • Discussion of experiences made during the teaching abroad
  • Lectures by specialists on the topic, by a policy maker and by an EC representative
  • Possible implications for changes of teachers’ and policy makers’ attitudes to mobility
Language: EN
Target groups: In-service teachers, student teachers, teacher trainers, policy makers
Period of delivery: 09.2009
Teaching/learning environment: Teacher training institutions

All partners involved will contribute equally to the project activities and outcomes.

Mobility of teachers and student teachers... (top)

... for the purpose of teaching practice and class observation in a foreign institution.

Sending institution Host institution Approx. date Duration No. of teachers
and students
CAFRE – University of Pisa (IT) University of Vienna (AT) 11/08  1 week 1 + 1
University of Vienna (AT) Skårup Seminarium – Skårup (DK) 11/08 1 week 1 + 1
Charles University – Prague (CZ) IUFM – Créteil (FR) 11/08 1 week 1 + 1
Skårup Seminarium – Skårup (DK) Charles University – Prague (CZ) 11/08 1 week 1 + 1
IUFM – Créteil (FR) CAFRE – University of Pisa (IT) 11/08 1 week 1 + 1

The sending Institutions will recognize their student teachers’ activities as part of their teaching practice, on the basis of statements by the host Institutions respect to the amount of hours taught abroad.
All National Agencies concerned (IT – AT – CZ – DK – FR) agreed to fund the mobility indicated in table above.

Partnership composition and contribution (top)

1. CAFRE of the University of Pisa

The University Centre for the Training and Education Research – CAFRE of the University of Pisa (IT) is the Centre in charge of research and training in the educational field, both at secondary and tertiary level. It is a public institution, located in Tuscany Region.
CAFRE members are University of Pisa researchers active in different subjects and have experience in European transnational co-operation projects at any level. Interdisciplinary research, such as Mathematics and Language, is one of their main concern.

2. University of Vienna

  • Type: University
  • Main areas: Scientific education in all subjects, teacher training
  • Expertise: Largest teacher training institution in AT, authors of the most widely used textbooks in the project subjects are staff members
  • Experience in co-operation:
    • Institution: scientist exchange programmes with several European and non-European universities in all fields, SOCRATES/ERASMUS and CEEPUS programmes in the project subjects with several universities
    • Contact person: project co-ordination in several international projects (AT, SK, CZ, BG, US) in mathematics education
  • Role in education system: Publicly recognized initial teacher training institution for lower and upper secondary level.

3. Charles University

Charles University is located in Prague, CZ. It is a public institution.
Charles University’s Faculty of Education mission is to prepare teachers for all types and levels of schools, prepare specialists and scientists in the area of pedagogy, educational psychology and didactics. Depending on the type of study, the Faculty of Education awards Bachelor, Master and Doctor diplomas and degrees. In the area of international co-operation, the Faculty of Education focuses on various types of projects in the Socrates programme (Comenius, Lingua, Grundtvig, Minerva, Arion, Erasmus).

4. Skårup College of Education

Skaarup College of Education has educated teachers for Danish primary and lower secondary schools since 1803. (Oldest teacher training institution in Denmark). Almost all subjects taught in Danish schools are taught at the college. In all subjects there is a main emphasis on the didactics of the subject.
The college is involved in COMENIUS, LINGUA, ERASMUS and NORDPLUS projects and exchange programmes and has a longstanding cooperation with universities in UK, HU and SK.
Skaarup College of Education offers distance learning in the field of teacher education in mathematic (among other subjects) and offers in-service training for primary and lower secondary school teachers.

5. IUFM de l'Académie de Créteil

IUFM of the Académie de Créteil is a public institution located in the Eastern outskirts of Paris. The Académie de Créteil, the second in France as for inhabitants and number of school and University students (about one million), is made up of more than 500 public secondary schools (about 360 collèges and 170 lycées of general , technological and professional studies). The IUFM is responsible for the training of primary and secondary schools teachers (of general, technological or professional subjects). The first training year is mainly oriented to prepare a competitive examination and the second one is more strongly rooted on teacher practice. The global amount of students and trainees of the IUFM de Créteil is nearly 5000 including the primary, the general secondary and the technical and professional secondary degree schools.  The IUFM partners are the nearby Universities and the schools of the Académie de Créteil.

Schools linked to a partner Institution (top)

Will participate actively in the project without a Socrates grant

IT Istituto Santa Caterina, Piazza S. Caterina, 4 – 56100 Pisa [primary and secondary school]
AT BRG VI “Marchettigasse”, Marchettigasse 3 – 1060 Wien [lower secondary school]
CZ Zakladni skola Na Slovance – Praha 8 [secondary school]
DK Skårup Skole, Østergade 53 – DK 5881 Skårup [primary and lower secondary school]
FR Collège du Parc, 5,allée du parc – 94370 Sucy en Brie [lower secondary school]

Evaluation (top)

The project will be continuously monitored by the co-ordinator and each of the contact persons.
The project meetings will provide the opportunity for global monitoring of the activities so far carried out and their internal evaluation, step by step.
The external evaluation will be required from a preminent international expert in interdisciplinar education; it will be presented and discussed in specific evaluation meetings during the project meeting at the end of each of the first two years, before starting the new year activities, and during the third year, when all the materials are ready to be transposed to DVDs.
Further opportunities for monitoring and externally evaluating the project activities will be given by their presentations to the national and international community of researchers in Mathematics and Language Education during Conferences and Workshops.

The project outputs will first be assessed by means of specific questionnaires to be circulated before and discussed at the project meetings.
The external assessment will then be obtained by questionnaires addressed to the lower secondary schools teacher trainers after their testing of the didactic materials and the project products.

Dissemination (top)

Continuous information will be given to the educational community (teacher training institutions, regional and national education authorities) about the most significant provisional outcomes.
Results of the activities will be presented at national and international conferences.
The focus of the dissemination will be based on the following aims: a) To diffuse knowledge about the content of the project, b) to inform people of the experiences gained throughout the development of the project, c) to provide a forum for the exchange of experiences inside as well outside the project partner institutions.
In view of this, a web site devoted to the project will be designed and produced and the final report of the project will be published  and distributed..
Making available the main project outputs (website and DVD) in the languages of the partner countries (CZ – DA – DE – FR – IT) and in EN will ensure the opportunity for the educational community to easily access the project results.
The final international workshop will be open to the participation of educators and teacher trainers from all over Europe interested in the project topic. The lectures given by an EC representative and a policy makeR in the field of education will give the project a greater opportunity for dissemination of its results.
COMENIUS 2.2 courses will be organized in the following years.
The project web-site will make the project results, experiences and outputs easily available to the secondary school  teacher training institutions across Europe. Besides the languages of the partner countries (CZ – DA – DE – FR – IT), EN will be used.
The co-ordinator and the project partners will continue the dissemination of all the project activities and the final results by their presentations to the national and international community of teacher trainers and scholars in Mathematics and Language Education during Conferences and Workshops, which they are used to attend since many years. The above measures should ensure a long-term exploitation of the project results.



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This project has been carried out with the support of the European Commission within the framework of the Socrates Programme - Comenius 2.1 Action.
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