Prospective middle school mathematics teachers' preconceptions of geometric translations

Yanik H. B.

EDUCATIONAL STUDIES IN MATHEMATICS, vol.78, no.2, pp.231-260, 2011 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 78 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s10649-011-9324-3
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.231-260
  • Keywords: Preconceptions, Geometric translations, Prospective middle school mathematics teachers, STUDENTS, MISCONCEPTIONS, CONCEPTIONS, COHERENCE, KNOWLEDGE
  • Anadolu University Affiliated: No


This article reports an analysis of 44 prospective middle school mathematics teachers' pre-existing knowledge of rigid geometric transformations, specifically the geometric translations. The main data source for this study was the participants' responses to the tasks that were presented during semi-structured clinical interviews. The findings of the study revealed that prospective teachers had difficulties recognizing, describing, executing, and representing geometric translations. The results indicated that teacher candidates held various views about the geometric translations: (1) translation as rotational motion, (2) translation as translational motion, and (3) translation as mapping. The results further revealed various interpretations of the vector that defines translations: (1) vector as a force, (2) vector as a line of symmetry, (3) vector as a direction indicator, and (4) vector as a displacement. Although many of the teacher candidates interviewed knew that a vector has a magnitude and a direction, this knowledge did not generally lead them to conclude that vectors define translations.