Blog Archives

The Class-size debate – it matters to teachers

January 16, 2017
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The Class-size debate – it matters to teachers

Class size matters to teachers Class size is a perennial question in education. What is the ideal size for a school class? Teachers would like smaller classes, to improve learning. There is evidence of a small positive effect size due … Continue reading →

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Why people hate statistics

January 10, 2017
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Why people hate statistics

This summer/Christmas break it has been my pleasure to help a young woman who is struggling with statistics, and it has prompted me to ask people who teach postgraduate statistical methods – WTF are you doing? Louise (name changed) is a … Continue reading →

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Has the Numeracy Project failed?

December 11, 2016
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Has the Numeracy Project failed?

The Numeracy Development Project has influenced the teaching of mathematics in New Zealand. It has changed the language people use to talk about mathematical understanding, introducing the terms “multiplicative thinking”, “part-whole” and “proportional reasoning” to the teacher toolkit. It has … Continue reading →

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Which graph to use?

December 8, 2016
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Which graph to use?

A student asked me on our Facebook page to help with an assignment. It got me thinking again about the nature of answers in statistics, and the challenge of communicating through graphs. The student gave no explanation, but rather a … Continue reading →

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10 hints to make the most of teaching and academic conferences

December 6, 2016
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10 hints to make the most of teaching and academic conferences

Hints for conference benefit maximisation I am writing this post in a spartan bedroom in Glenn Hall at La Trobe University in Bundoora (Melbourne, Australia.) Some outrageously loud crows are doing what crows do best outside my window, and I … Continue reading →

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Mathematics activities using Lego bricks

November 27, 2016
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Mathematics activities using Lego bricks

I love Lego. And I love making up mathematics and statistics activities for people of all levels of attainment. So it makes sense that I would make up maths discussion activities using Lego. Whenever I have posted my ideas on … Continue reading →

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Talking in class: improving discussion in maths and stats classes

November 3, 2016
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Talking in class: improving discussion in maths and stats classes

Maths is right or wrong – end of discussion  – or is it? In 1984 I was a tutor in Operations Research to second year university students. My own experience of being in tutorials at University had been less than inspiring, … Continue reading →

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Why Journalists need to understand statistics – Sensational Listener article about midwifery risks

October 25, 2016
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Why Journalists need to understand statistics – Sensational Listener article about midwifery risks

The recent article in the Listener highlights again the need for all citizens to  be statistically literate. In particular I believe statistical literacy should be a compulsory part of all journalists’ training. I have written before about this. I was happy … Continue reading →

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Play and learning mathematics and statistics

October 13, 2016
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Play and learning mathematics and statistics

The role of play in learning I have been reading further about teaching mathematics and came across this interesting assertion: Play, understood as something frivolous, opposed to work, off-task behaviour, is not welcomed into most mathematics classrooms. But play is … Continue reading →

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The nature of mathematics and statistics and what it means to learn and teach them

September 6, 2016
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The nature of mathematics and statistics and what it means to learn and teach them

I’ve been thinking lately…. Sometimes it pays to stop and think. I have been reading a recent textbook for mathematics teachers, Dianne Siemon et al, Teaching mathematics: foundations to middle years (2011). On page 47 the authors asked me to “Take … Continue reading →

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