School of Education

PhD Graduate Explores Experiences of Pre-Service Mathematics Teachers as they Solve Euclidean Geometry Problems

Dr Sfiso Mahlaba.
Dr Sfiso Mahlaba.

Lecturer at the North West University, Dr Sfiso Mahlaba, loves mathematics and Euclidean geometry.

This passion led him to graduate from UKZN with a PhD in Mathematics Education. His research looked at improving pre-service mathematics teachers’ (PMTs) knowledge of geometry and their discourses when solving geometry problems.

Mahlaba believes that his research ‘will contribute to training pre-service teachers to teach Euclidean geometry successfully so that they can go into classrooms with competent knowledge of Euclidean geometry for teaching children effectively.’

Findings from this study revealed that most PMTs use ritualistic discourse when communicating about their geometry problem solving actions. These findings are a consequence of them performing routines for social acceptance instead of generating endorsed narratives.

‘Others used ritualistic discourse because they rely on scaffolding from others to perform their routines instead of developing their own routines. Despite the dominance of ritualistic discourse participation in the current study, there are instances where PMTs seemed to be using explorative discourse but get stuck somehow and return to ritualistic discourse,’ explained Mahlaba.

He is grateful to his family, friends and supervisor for being a part of his PhD journey.

Mahlaba advised other scholars to ‘set time related goals and turn them into achievements.’


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