23 April 2014

A helpful structure for analysing graphs

Mathematicians teaching English “I became a maths teacher so I wouldn’t have to mark essays” “I’m having trouble getting the students to write down their own ideas” “When I give them templates I feel as if it’s spoon-feeding them” These are comments I hear as I visit mathematics teachers who are teaching the new statistics curriculum in New Zealand. They have a point. It is difficult for a mathematics teacher to teach in a different style. But – it can also be rewarding and interesting, and you never get asked, “Where is this useful?” The statistical enquiry cycle provides a […]
6 January 2014

Statistics – Singular and Plural, Lies and Truth

Language is an issue in teaching and learning statistics. There are many words that have meanings in statistics, different from their everyday meaning, and even with multiple meanings within the study of statistics. Examples of troublesome words are: error, correlation, regression, significant, model. I wrote about addressing this in Teaching Statistical Language. But the problem starts even with the name of the subject. There are at least three meanings for the term “statistics”. The word is not even consistently singular or plural. I suggest three meanings are: Data (plural), analysis (singular) and information (plural). What we teach focusses on the […]