Olympification versus aesthetization: the appeal of mathematics outside the classroom. (English)

Smeyers, Paul (ed.) et al., Educational research: material culture and its representation. Cham: Springer (ISBN 978-3-319-03082-1/hbk; 978-3-319-03083-8/ebook). Educational Research 8, 163-178 (2014).

Summary: In this chapter we explore how mathematics education is caught by a meritocratic sense of the useful and how it could benefit from a more creative and experiential approach. The notion of olympification in mathematics education comes to the fore in the analysis of the differences between the measurements of PISA and TIMSS, further detailed by an example of Flanders (Belgium). Besides the observation of the olympification we consider the possibility of another perspective on mathematics education, looking at a way of bringing classroom mathematics in interaction with the material grounding of mathematics and with other experiences in life. Based on the content analysis of eight international journals concerning mathematical education we demonstrate the extent in which teachers and researchers take care of outside classroom experiences as possible input for a mathematical curiosity and understanding. Focusing on the relation between mathematics and art we will shortly explore different examples of mathematics within the arts. Finally we bring an example of how a mathematician can creatively bring mathematics outside the classroom.