Original Research

Foundation phase teachers’ (limited) knowledge of geometry

Kakoma Luneta
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 4, No 3 | a228 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v4i3.228 | © 2014 Kakoma Luneta | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 March 2015 | Published: 30 December 2014

About the author(s)

Kakoma Luneta, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

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This study is about student teachers’ conceptual understanding of shapes. While the National Curriculum Statement stipulates that by the time learners exit high school they should have grounded knowledge of basic geometry and know shapes such as polygons and polyhedrons and their properties, this study finds that the majority of student teachers have limited knowledge of basic geometry and require not remedial, but re-learning of these basic concepts. The Van Hiele levels of geometric thought model is used as a lens to gauge and understand students’ knowledge of geometry. A cohort of 128 first-year students registered for a foundation phase programme took part in the study. It was found that while Grade 12 learners are expected to operate at levels 3 and 4 of the Van Hiele’s levels, the majority of the participants in the study were operating at level 1, the level of the learners they will be teaching when they complete the course. Suggestions are made for how to address this problem.


Geometry, shapes, polygon, polyhedrons; geometric thoughts, Van Hiele’s levels of geometric thought


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