Abstract / Synopsis

Mathematics has often been referred to as an art. For some it is “the purest of the arts”, where the mathematicians’ art is “asking simple and elegant questions about our imaginary creations, and crafting satisfying and beautiful explanations”. Yet with classroom time given primarily to “covering the curriculum”, testing, and practicing problem-solving procedures, students’ opportunities to appreciate the aesthetic dimension of mathematics are often limited. To promote a responsive environment in an effort to enable students to become artists of their own mathematics experience, I consider in this paper two facets of the mathematics classroom. Content-wise I make the argument that students need to see problem-clarifying strategies in conjunction with problem-solving techniques, as the former are essential for making progress when engaging a mathematics problem where an explicit solution is not apparent. The other facet aiming to promote student agency is providing them opportunities to work with their own practical/professional concerns as students so as to become more creative and productive artists of their mathematics experience.



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