An analysis of the impact of a geometry course on pre-service teachers understanding of geometry

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

This dissertation examines the impact of a geometry course on pre-service teachers' levels of understanding of geometry. It is located within the Van Hiele model of geometric development which provides a conceptual framework to assess and analyse the progress of students. The study was conducted at a College of Education which prepares teachers for primary school teaching. It involved 26 second year, pre-service teachers over a 9 week period in a geometry course. The students were assessed for their levels of understanding before and after the course using a diagnostic instrument developed by Mayberry (1981) to assess the Van Hiele levels of pre-service teachers. An in-depth investigation of 8 students provided further insight into students' levels of understanding through course work and assignments. The overall findings of the study revealed that the majority of students had low levels of understanding of geometry before and after the course. However, those who had taken high school mathematics performed better than those without, although few managed to reach the higher levels. The results highlight the need for teachers to develop higher levels of understanding before being able to teach and design activities that are appropriate for learners. Little improvement in performance of learners on national and international competitions will occur while teachers continue to register low levels of understanding. It is crucial that time, resources and training are provided to all teachers if effective change is to occur in the mathematics classroom.

Includes bibliography.