Exploring Grade 11 mathematics teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge when teaching Euclidean geometry in the Umlazi District.
Nojiyeza, Abednigo Sibusiso.
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Teaching Euclidean geometry is a complex activity. From my personal teaching experiences, it appears that most grade 11 learners perform poorly in geometry, especially in Euclidean geometry. Challenges encountered by learners in learning Euclidean geometry affect their overall performance in mathematics. Often the mathematics teacher is regarded as the main contributing factor in mathematics learner performance. The knowledge that mathematics teachers possess and use in the classrooms when teaching Euclidean geometry is the instrument of change in learners’ learning. Since the process of learning Euclidean geometry is mainly influenced by the teacher, it is therefore important to understand how teachers explain or demonstrate ways of solving Euclidean geometry problems to learners to help them understand. This research study focused on exploring grade 11 in-service mathematics teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge when teaching Euclidean geometry. It was intended to investigate the methods used by mathematics teachers in teaching Euclidean geometry. This study used the van Hiele levels of geometrical thinking as a theoretical framework to understand and explore teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge of geometry. Purposive sampling was used to select three grade 11 mathematics educators from three conveniently sampled South African secondary schools within the Umlazi district in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. A qualitative research approach was used in this study. Data was collected through open and closed-ended questionnaires, semi-structured face-to-face interviews as well as lesson observations to gather descriptive data from the three participants, and it was coded with set categories. This research is important within the South African context where the teaching and learning of geometry, especially Euclidean geometry, is still a challenge. Euclidean geometry is still difficult for many teachers to teach and for many learners to learn. The findings of this study may be useful to all secondary school mathematics teachers in improving the teachers’ skill in teaching Euclidean geometry. This is because teachers would become aware about the factors that teaching methods can bring about, thus influencing learners’ participation in lessons to improve their performance.