Article Summary

First-Time Teacher-Researchers Use Writing in Middle School Mathematics Instruction    PDF

2004, Vol. 14, No. 1, 19-34

Mathematical creativity ensures the growth of mathematics as a whole. However, the source of this growth, the creativity of the mathematician, is a relatively unexplored area in mathematics and mathematics education. In order to investigate how mathematicians create mathematics, a qualitative study involving five creative mathematicians was conducted. The mathematicians in this study verbally reflected on the thought processes involved in creating mathematics. Analytic induction was used to analyze the qualitative data in the interview transcripts and to verify the theory driven hypotheses. The results indicate that, in general, the mathematicians’ creative processes followed the four-stage Gestalt model of preparation-incubation-illumination-verification. It was found that social interaction, imagery, heuristics, intuition, and proof were the common characteristics of mathematical creativity. Additionally, contemporary models of creativity from psychology were reviewed and used to interpret the characteristics of mathematical creativity.

About the Author:
Bharath Sriraman is an assistant professor of mathematics and mathematics education at the University of Montana. His publications and research interests are in the areas of cognition, foundational issues, mathematical creativity, problem-solving, proof, and gifted education.


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