Teaching the Hungarian Mathematics Pedagogy to American Pre-service Teachers

  • Péter Juhász
  • Anna Kiss
  • Ryota MatsuuraEmail author
  • Réka Szász


We describe an approach to pre-service teacher education founded on crossing two types of borders: (1) cultural and geographic borders between the United States and Hungary; and (2) the border between the roles of the student and the teacher.

Budapest Semesters in Mathematics Education (BSME) is a study abroad program for American students interested in the learning and teaching of secondary school mathematics. Participants spend a semester in Budapest and learn about the Hungarian mathematics pedagogy that emphasizes problem solving, creativity, and communication. They investigate how to bring this pedagogy into their future American classrooms, thus blending good practices from the two countries.

At BSME, American pre-service teachers immerse themselves in Hungarian mathematics education, as they learn from Hungarian secondary school teachers, observe K-12 classrooms in Budapest, and design and teach their own Hungarian-style lessons to Hungarian students (in English). Their academic experience is based on crossing the border between the roles of the student and the teacher. As students, BSME participants learn mathematics through the Hungarian pedagogy; as teachers, they reflect on the learning experience and consider how to apply the Hungarian pedagogy to their future classrooms.

This chapter begins by describing the history and principles of the Hungarian mathematics pedagogy. We then elaborate on the dual roles of the student and the teacher played by BSME participants. To examine two particular aspects of the Hungarian pedagogy—learning through games and learning through problem posing—this chapter focuses on the coursework component of the BSME program. We conclude with our observations on the impact that crossing the various borders has on our participants.


Pre-service teacher education Study abroad program Hungarian mathematics pedagogy Mathematical games Mathematical problem solving Problem posing Task design Task threads 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Péter Juhász
    • 1
  • Anna Kiss
    • 1
  • Ryota Matsuura
    • 1
    Email author
  • Réka Szász
    • 1
  1. 1.Budapest Semesters in Mathematics EducationBudapestHungary

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