NOMAD 18(3), 2013

Skapad: 2013-11-19. Ändrad: 2013-11-19  

NOMAD 18(3), 2013

Arithmetic textbooks in Estonia, Iceland and Norway – similarities and differences during the nineteenth century

Kristín Bjarnadottír, Andreas Christiansen and Madis Lepik


This paper identifies similarities and eventual differences in the development of public mathematics education in the nineteenth century in three Northern-European countries: Estonia, Iceland and Norway. Special attention is paid to how these developments were reflected in the first arithmetic textbooks written in the vernacular in these countries. By the end of the century, all three countries had taken serious steps to develop public education, and arithmetic textbooks, meant for self-instruction or for use in elementary schools, had been published. The content and style of presentation of these textbooks in Estonia, Iceland and Norway are described and compared in the paper, revealing their roots in Northern-European culture: Lutheran Protestantism, Enlightenment and pedagogical currents initiated by Comenius, Pestalozzi and Spencer, emphasizing meaningful learning. Their educational aims were important driving forces in growing national movements in the respective countries by contributing to capability to manage own resources and use of own vernacular, resulting in increased self-esteem.

Kristín Bjarnadóttir

Kristín Bjarnadóttir is associate professor at the School of Education, University of Iceland. Her research interests concern the history of mathematics education and its socio-economic context.

Andreas Christiansen

Andreas Christiansen is assistant professor at the Department of Teacher Education and Cultural Studies at Stord/Haugesund University College in Norway. His research interests are history of mathematics, and history of mathematics education.

Madis Lepik

Madis Lepik is associate professor of mathematics education at the Department of Mathematics, Tallinn University, Estonia. His research interests include teachers’ beliefs and professional development, textbook studies, and proof and proving.