Promoting Gifted Mathematicians

Cite As:
Berman Abraham, Gueron Shay. Promoting Gifted Mathematicians Haifa Israel: Samuel Neaman Institute, 2000.
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The level of mathematics in high school education is unsatisfactory, as can be seen in recent years in international surveys. The phenomenon is especially perturbing in view of the importance of mathematical education as a key for success in science and technology and the high-tech industries based on them.

Nevertheless, successful activities are being introduced and conducted at the various universities in Israel to cultivate mathematical giftedness, and the Israeli selected delegation to the International Mathematics Olympiad repeatedly achieves nice results. A seminar devoted to these activities was organized by the editors of this brochure, at the S. Neaman Institute on May 25th, 2000.

At the seminar lectures were held on mathematical giftedness and reports on the various activities were presented.

The discussion concluding the seminar dealt with the question of how to advance even more the achievements and level of the outstanding pupils in the country. The following problems were identified as inhibitive factors:

1. Teaching – the level required by the schools is not high enough in order to properly advance the excellent ones. The technical/algorithmic approach does not encourage creative use of the tools learned. The mathematical proof concept is not sufficiently assimilated.

2. Encouraging giftedness – there is not enough encouragement of giftedness in the education system, beyond the basic requirements. There is not enough positive feedback for pupils who excel more that required (for instance at national and international competitions) and for the teachers responsible for their excellence.

3. Enrichment material – there is no budget for creating enrichment materials in Hebrew for the specially gifted pupils, and therefore there is almost no material which meets their needs and the needs of the teachers who are supposed to advance them. There is also no encouragement of pupils and incentives for teachers to use such materials.

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