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By Nerida Ellerton, M.A. (Ken) Clements

The concentration of this publication is the basic impression of the cyphering culture on arithmetic schooling in North American faculties, colleges, and apprenticeship education sessions among 1607 and 1861. it's the first ebook at the historical past of North American arithmetic schooling to be written from that point of view. The relevant information resource is a collection of 207 handwritten cyphering books that experience by no means formerly been subjected to cautious ancient analysis.

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Extra info for Rewriting the History of School Mathematics in North America 1607-1861: The Central Role of Cyphering Books

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We own both of those manuscripts. The Christ’s Hospital Model for Mathematics Education As we pointed out earlier, the Christ’s Hospital mathematics program was devised by a committee that included people of the intellectual caliber of Jonas Moore, Isaac Newton, Samuel Pepys, Peter Perkins, John Wallis and Christopher Wren. Despite occasional modifications, it would remain in place for at least 150 years (Howson, 1982; Trollope, 1834). Curiously, Geoffrey Howson (1982), in his otherwise illuminating analysis of Samuel Pepys’ work in supervising the development of the Christ’s Hospital Royal Mathematical School’s curriculum in its early years, did not acknowledge that from the outset the cyphering approach, complemented by a high-level textbook especially written for the Christ’s Hospital program, defined the modus operandum for the teaching of mathematics.

The high quality of presentation in the Christ’s Hospital cyphering books continued until well into the 19th century (Reynolds, 1818). In 1843, more than 150 years after Samuel Pepys had insisted on the highest standards of penmanship in cyphering books at Christ’s Hospital, Horace Mann the well-known American educator, visited the school and reported that the students’ writing there was “the most beautiful” he had ever seen (Mann, 1937, p. 185). The “writing-as-also-arithmeticke” culture that permeated the Royal Mathematical School at Christ’s Hospital was part of a carefully conceived mathematics education policy developed by an advisory body of scientists appointed by the British government (Howson, 1982; Trollope, 1834).

Every student was expected to prepare a handwritten record of what he studied, and the cyphering book that resulted was to be used when the student was apprenticed as a navigator or reckoner for a private merchant (Allan, 1984; Hans, 1951b). Royal Mathematical School graduates were required to serve as apprentices for seven years. Although they did not usually proceed directly to a university (Bache, 1839), there were exceptions (Brooks, 2010). The boys in the Royal Mathematical School were expected to maintain the highest possible standards of penmanship, calligraphy and illustrations in their cyphering books in which details of the arithmetic, geometry, trigonometry, and navigation components of the curriculum were meticulously recorded (Howson, 1982).

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