Original Research

Thinking styles of Mathematics and Mathematical Literacy learners: Implications for subject choice

Erica D. Spangenberg
Pythagoras | Vol 33, No 3 | a179 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/pythagoras.v33i3.179 | © 2012 Erica D. Spangenberg | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 May 2012 | Published: 06 December 2012

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Erica D. Spangenberg, Department of Science and Technology Education, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

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In this article I report on research intended to characterise and compare the thinking styles of Grade 10 learners studying Mathematics and those studying Mathematical Literacy in eight schools in the Gauteng West district in South Africa, so as to develop guidelines as to what contributes to their subject choice of either Mathematics or Mathematical Literacy in Grade 10. Both a qualitative and a quantitative design were used with three data collection methods, namely document analysis, interviews and questionnaires. Sixteen teachers participated in one-to-one interviews and 1046 Grade 10 learners completed questionnaires. The findings indicated the characteristics of learners selecting Mathematics and those selecting Mathematical Literacy as a subject and identified differences between the thinking styles of these learners. Both learners and teachers should be more aware of thinking styles in order that the learners are able to make the right subject choice. This article adds to research on the transition of Mathematics learners in the General Education and Training band to Mathematics and Mathematical Literacy in the Further Education and Training band in South Africa.


Thinking styles; learning styles; Mathematical Literacy


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