The relevance of cognitive conflict is the most controversial issue in mathematical geometry which becomes the most difficult unit to teach in all educational levels. Low mastery of geometry subject is not only identified among Indonesian student teachers but also those in some developed countries like the United States. This study investigates: The improvement of spatial visualization ability between students who are exposed to cognitive conflict strategy and those taught by expository seen from: overall student sample, and levels of prior mathematical knowledge. The interaction between learning types and categories of prior mathematical knowledge on the improvement of spatial visualization ability. The difficulties encountered by students in completing spatial visualization questions. This study used a mixed-method of experimental pre and posttest control group design that involved 73 student teachers at university in Bandung Indonesia as samples. Study findings show that: The mathematical spatial visualization ability of students who are exposed to cognitive conflict strategy has higher improvement level than students who are exposed to expiratory teaching based on overall and prior mathematical knowledge. There is an interaction between learning types and prior mathematical knowledge on the improvement of spatial visualization ability, thus students’ difficulties in completing the spatial visualization questions can be minimized. Unlike previous studies which claim that cognitive conflict occurs during cooperative collaboration, this study argues that such conflict happens at cooperative exploration stage.
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