A nodes model for creativity in mathematics education

Clack, James (2009). A nodes model for creativity in mathematics education. In: BERA Annual Conference, 2-5 Sep 2009, Manchester, UK.

URL: http://www.beraconference.co.uk/2009/index.html

Abstract

This paper sets outs a proposition for a model of understanding creativity in the mathematics classroom. It aims to show that creativity in mathematics can be conceptualised as the mental processes involved in ‘meaning making’ in the mathematics classroom. It is currently primarily a conceptual exploration, with only preliminary empirical investigation, however it is hoped that this is to be addressed in the coming academic year. The paper comes from more formal conceptual development of an informal discussion about what creativity in mathematics actually is between the author and a number of researchers at University of Durham. A variety of ideas were put forward, and while there was little consensus on what creativity in mathematics is, there was agreement on what creativity in mathematics is not – creativity in mathematics is not about making classroom mathematics ‘shiny’. While colourful displays and beautifully drawn graphs were useful in themselves, this did not, the group concluded, constitute creativity in mathematics. Similarly, while setting project work could be considered creativity in mathematics it wasn’t necessarily. It was agreed that there was something more fundamental about what creativity in mathematics may be. This nodes model takes one of the ideas discussed and is an attempt to describe what this ‘more fundamental’ aspect may be.

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