A Study on the Spatial Abilities of Prospective Social Studies Teachers: A Mixed Method Research

Author/s: Eyup Yurt, Vural Tunkler

DOI: 10.12738/estp.2016.3.0324 

Year: 2016 Vol: 16 Number: 3

Abstract

This study investigated prospective social studies teachers’ spatial abilities. It was conducted with 234 prospective teachers attending Social Studies Teaching departments at Education Faculties of two universities in Central and Southern Anatolia. This study, designed according to the explanatory-sequential design, is a mixed research method, involving two stages. The first stage was conducted in the causal-comparative research design. The data were collected using “Mental Rotation Test” and “Surface Development Test”. Descriptive statistics, MANOVA and ANOVA were used to analyze the data. The second stage was designed as a case study. “Opinion Form for Spatial Ability Tests” was used to elicit the views of 37 prospective teachers (F:20, M:17) identified via the purposive sampling method. The qualitative data obtained were analyzed using the content analysis technique. The study results showed that spatial visualization and mental rotation abilities of the prospective teachers were low; male prospective teachers were betterqualified than female ones in mental rotation but spatial visualization ability did not vary by gender. Moreover, prospective teachers with higher academic averages had better spatial abilities. Integrating virtual environment applications such as Google Earth etc. into social studies courses and using them in these courses can help to improve prospective teachers’ spatial abilities.

Keywords
Spatial ability, Mental rotation, Spatial visualization, Social studies, Prospective teachers

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