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Mathematical Connections: Beyond Utility

Kissane, B. (2021) Mathematical Connections: Beyond Utility. In: Loh, T.L. and Choy, B.H., (eds.) Mathematics — Connection and Beyond. World Scientific Publishing, pp. 71-93.

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Mathematics is often interpreted as a ‘useful’ activity, with limited attention paid to its potential to be significant for other reasons. While utility is of course important, it is of diminished significance if students are not engaged with, interested in or attracted to mathematics. Many mathematicians and others over time have drawn attention to the beauty of mathematics and its deep aesthetic qualities, and mathematics is connected richly to our collective cultural heritage. One of the broad aims of mathematics education is to develop positive attitudes towards mathematics; while syllabuses make reference to this broad aim in different ways, it is often hard to see how it is addressed explicitly in official documents. In this chapter, we first consider some ways in which mathematics is connected to a wider world beyond its practical applications. We address in particular the significance of some of the aesthetic aspects of mathematics and its cultural heritage, both its history and contemporary views of its place in the world.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Education
Publisher: World Scientific Publishing
Copyright: © 2021 World Scientific Publishing Co Pte Ltd
Other Information: Yearbook 2020 Association of Mathematics Educators
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