Visual-spatial Skills and Mathematics Content Conceptualisation for Pre-service Teachers

Chipo Makamure, Zingiswa M Jojo


Empirical evidence in literature identified significant association between spatial ability and educational performance particularly in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The purpose of this study was to explore pre-service teachers’ spatial skills in solving mathematics problems, in the context of coordinate geometry. It is envisaged that spatial skills allow for the perception of visual information and, therefore, spatial cognition has been considered as a key skill in teaching mathematics. However, literature asserts that teachers are ill prepared to teach mathematics, hence there is limited use and misuse of spatial skills in teaching the subject. This study, therefore, examines the spatial orientation of pre-service teachers in teaching coordinate geometry. This is a mixed methods study in which pre-service teachers answered a coordinate geometry test to explore their content knowledge and their ability to interpret, analyse and apply visual spatial models to solve mathematical problems in coordinate geometry. The study established that the spatial orientation skills of pre-service teachers determine their performance in mathematics, especially coordinate geometry.


coordinate geometry, mathematics content knowledge, pre-service teachers, spatial orientation skills, visual-spatial skills

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