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Has Anything Changed?

We teach mathematics...something that has been done for a long time. At the same time, we often complain at how slow things change...either in the mathematics we teach or how it is taught. But, do you really know how mathematics was taught in the past---what were the issues confronted by teachers (e.g. no state performance tests), the pedagogical aides (e.g. no computing technologies), and required qualifications (e.g. No "highly-qualified").

To gain some sense of the past, you might want to peruse this "recent" archive, containing 34 issues available free for interested readers.

The journal is the Texas Mathematics Teacher Bulletin, produced by faculty at the University of Texas. The earliest issue seems to be Volume 1, Number 2 (January 25, 1916), where you will find articles on approximation proofs, literal arithmetic, exponents, logarithms, and the use of the straight edge.

The final journal available seems to be Volume XXIII (April 1, 1938). Again, the topics are familiar: probability, mathematics as a basis for physics, quantatative reasoning, mathematical sociology, vector algebra, and competitive examinations. I suggest you give a quick read to the F. Beers' article "The Attained and the Unattained in the Teaching of Mathematics," as it brings up the point of teaching the aesthetic side of mathematics, something that seems to be lost in the current curriculum efforts.

Though I have not read all of the issues, I have browsed extensively. The journal gives a good flavor of mathematics education during the period 1916-1938. And, one quickly discovers that so little has changed....the issues, the mathematics being taught, the concerns, the approaches.

This archive should keep you busy through a rainy weekend. Happy reading!