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Remythologizing Mystery in Mathematics: Teaching for Open Landscapes versus Concealment

Faculty of Education and Society Department of Science, Mathematics and Society, Malmö University, 205 06 Malmö, Sweden
Faculty of Education, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, NB E3B 5A3, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(2), 41;
Received: 8 December 2017 / Revised: 26 February 2018 / Accepted: 20 March 2018 / Published: 27 March 2018
PDF [628 KB, uploaded 3 May 2018]


Mathematics is full of mystery. We illuminate the myth to expose two conflicting senses of mystery at work in mathematics and its education practices. There is a sense of boundlessness with mathematics—the idea that we never fully know. There is also a practice of concealment, in which an answer or solution is known by special people who may support or provide a scaffold for students’ navigation to the “special” knowledge, but may also challenge their access to it by erecting barriers and boundaries. In remythologizing mystery, we identify that the valorization of mystery in mathematics is rooted in the wonder of exploring boundless landscapes and is used misleadingly to justify school mathematics with the other sense of mystery—uncovering the concealed. View Full-Text
Keywords: mathematics education; myth; mystery; abstraction; popularization; discourses mathematics education; myth; mystery; abstraction; popularization; discourses

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Andersson, A.; Wagner, D. Remythologizing Mystery in Mathematics: Teaching for Open Landscapes versus Concealment. Educ. Sci. 2018, 8, 41.

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