The impact of teacher spatial ability on geometry instruction
Otumfuor, Beryl Ann
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The overarching goal of this dissertation was to examine the relationship between spatial ability and geometric reasoning as it is evident in teacher instruction. A review on the roles of teacher spatial ability, mathematics content knowledge and gesture use during instruction was presented. In addition, an empirical study examining the relationship between teacher spatial skills and spatial instruction was also conducted. Fifty-six in service teachers from middle schools in the Southeast were assessed on their nature of instruction through their use of gestures, pictorial representations and overall richness of mathematics practice. A significant moderator effect for teacher instruction was found suggesting that when teachers have stronger spatial skills, they are more likely to use different strategies like gestures and pictorial representations during mathematics instruction and also draw more explicit connections to mathematics concepts and operations. Overall, the results suggest that if we are to improve mathematics achievement, then more studies need to be done to explore these relationships. Together these findings contribute to the spatial ability research by expanding our understanding on strategies like gestures and pictorial representation that can essentially improve mathematics achievement. Implications of these findings for mathematics instruction are discussed further.