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The Epos of Euclidean Geometry in Greek Secondary Education (1836-1985): Pressure for Change and Resistance

Charalampos Toumasis
Educational Studies in Mathematics
Vol. 21, No. 6 (Dec., 1990), pp. 491-508
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3482388
Page Count: 18
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The Epos of Euclidean Geometry in Greek Secondary Education (1836-1985): Pressure for Change and Resistance
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Abstract

The study of geometry as a school subject generally presents pedagogical and epistemological interest because it brings to light the developmental trends and characteristics of this most ancient branch of mathematics, as well as the factors which contributed to the shaping of its educational value. These factors may be economical, political, social and scientific and they manifest themselves either locally or at a wider range each time. In this paper we try to present the development of school geometry in contemporary Greece, since the era in which the secondary education system was established (1836), up to today. The main purpose, of course, is not to describe facts but to identify and interpret the phenomenon of the incredible endurance which Euclid's Elements have presented, during the last 150 years, as the basic component of school geometry in Greece. School geometry in Greece presents special interest and it can be considered an exceptional phenomenon. Its changing in accordance with modern educational and pedagogical considerations and the removal of the "Elements" was confronted with powerful barriers up to the present. Every time an effort was made to revise the content of school geometry, those who exercised control over the mathematics curriculum reacted strongly against the new innovations, providing educational, philosophical and ethnic arguments.

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