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Mathematics in primary education in the state of Pará (Brazil), between 1890 and 1930: on rules, regulations and textbooks

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Abstract

The article describes and comments on the trajectories of mathematics (arithmetic, geometry and design) of the primary school in the state of Pará (Brazil), between 1890 and 1930, based on rules, regulations and textbooks of the time. In this sense, we make a synthesis of regulations and legislation, as well as the official programs and textbooks for primary teaching of mathematics in primary schools of Pará in the mentioned period. Our main focus was to understand the scenario offered by the historical sources for the construction of a historiographical narrative on the subject. Our research was based on the cultural history as proposed by Roger Chartier (2002), Dominique Julia (2001), Peter Burke (2005), Michel de Certeau (1982) and the concepts of André Chervel (1990). We made a documentary survey on the Rare Books Section of the Arthur Vianna Library, at the Pará State Cultural Foundation, in search of answers to the following questions: What did these teaching programs and textbooks prescribe for teaching math? What are the pedagogical concepts underlying the mathematics teaching process in primary schools of the state of Pará? We note that the contents were arithmetic, problems, fractions, metric system, proportions, rule of three and interest, practical geometry, square and square root, cube and cubic root, practical notions of bookkeeping and practical rudiments of trigonometry, design and surveying. On the pedagogical conceptions we found that they were based on the thoughts of Gréard (1886) based on the method of Calkins (1886), obeying a systematic distribution, logic, with use of assets or intuitive methods. We conclude that the primary school in Pará was heavily influenced by the pedagogical ideas and concepts from the French school culture of the time, which were incorporated into the primary school of Pará in the late nineteenth century.

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