Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Modern Languages and Literatures

First Advisor

Charles Batson

Second Advisor

Kim Plofker




mathematicians, reforms, education system, history


France has produced many illustrious mathematicians who have profoundly impacted mathematics as they are today. While Descartes, Cauchy, and Borel (among others) viewed math as a lifelong pursuit, they began their education in an elementary school classroom with everybody else. In this study, I explore mathematical reforms and governmental documents throughout history to show how the education system has grown to emphasize a strong mathematical curriculum for all students and have consulted many philosophical articles on both the importance of math in a student’s education as well as different views on the manner in which mathematics should be taught to students in order to discover what it is about l’hexagone that produces so many successful mathematicians. With this general background of history, philosophies, and reforms, I have completed an in-depth study of the pedagogical behaviors of today’s teachers to see how history had shaped the way students are taught in France today. I conclude my study with a brief comparison of French and American pedagogical theories.