The Effect of Social Class on Visualisation in Geometry

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Social Class and Mathematics Education in two KwaZulu-Natal Schools, South Africa

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of social class on visualising geometry in South Africa.

Hence the fieldwork for this study was conducted in two secondary schools in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Green Park High was a predominantly middle class school whilst Bleakstone High was a predominantly working class school.

Data was collected through a questionnaire, geometry evaluation worksheet and a semi-structured interview schedule.

A total of 160 grade 12 mathematics learners completed the questionnaire and geometry evaluation worksheet for the pilot and main study.

Finally, 24 Grade 12 mathematics learners participated in the main study.

These learners were interviewed using a semi-structured interview schedule.

The findings of the study show that whilst both the learners from working-class backgrounds and the learners from middle-class background employed visualisation techniques when solving geometry problems, their techniques, logic and geometric reasoning differed considerably.

This study unpacks these differences within the social context in which they occur.

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