A couple of weeks ago I found out that OZCOTS (Australian Conference on Teaching Statistics) was being held here in Adelaide. I thought that I should go to it, since I seem to be spending rather a lot of time teaching statistics these days. And so I went.
As it turned out, I didn’t learn all that much I didn’t already know. But this is a good thing: It’s always nice to have the things you knew instinctively confirmed by those with more experience than you. So, here is a list of things I didn’t learn from OZCOTS 2012:
- “Real life” examples are good for teaching stats, but much more important is to have MORE examples.
- Successful stats courses depend on all the staff who interact with the students having the same goals.
- Statistical software often distracts students from the real learning.
- The reason students find maths boring is because they don’t understand it — being useful is secondary.
- Students like to have the option of talking to someone about their learning, no matter how many other resources you give them.
Of course, there were a few new things I DID learn (such as all about how to measure ESP, and the behaviour of badgers under pressure), but they can wait for some other time…