This study explores how pre-service mathematics teachers (PMTs) in South Africa use visualization and self-discourse to solve mathematical problems. Visualization is known to enhance mathematics learning, while effective communication skills are critical for teaching and learning mathematics, especially in contexts, where the language of instruction may not be the first language of students or teachers. By understanding the visualization techniques and discursive properties employed by PMTs, insights can be gained into how to improve mathematics learning and teaching. The study is informed by the commognitive framework and uses qualitative data from a purposive sample of 10 PMTs who participated in a performance test and semi-structured interviews. The study found that PMTs rely on mental visualization for simpler mathematical problems but use both symbolic and iconic visual mediators for more complicated problems. The use of language to engage in self-discursive activity during problem-solving was found to be key for successful visualization.
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