Preparing Teachers of Statistics: A Course for Graduate Students and Future Teachers Joan Garfield and Michelle Everson University of Minnesota
OverviewDiscuss issues and challenges in preparing teachers of statistics at the secondary and college level. Present a case study of a graduate level course taught at the University of Minnesota that:Focuses on developing excellent teachers of statisticsIs based on the GAISE guidelinesHelps students develop both knowledge of teaching (pedagogical knowledge) and specific knowledge about teaching statistics (pedagogical content knowledge). Explain how the course was transformed from a face-to-face setting to an online environment.
Challenges in Preparing Graduate Students to Teach Statistics Changing our understanding of what constitutes effective pedagogy, improving the use of technology, and placing an emphasis on working with data in elementary courses raise the standard that teaching assistants must meet. Training programs should themselves be models of good pedagogy (Moore, 2005, p. 1) Training programs in statistics departments (Harkness & Rosenberg, 2005; Froelich et al., 2005) Few graduate courses for credit (e.g., Gellman, 2005)
Training vs. DevelopmentTA Training: Prepares good teaching assistants to assist faculty and teach recitation sectionsTA (Teacher) Development: developing knowledgeable, competent teachers of statistics.
EPSY 5271A teacher development course at the University of MinnesotaUnique graduate course offered yearly since 2002Becoming a Teacher of Statistics, regular and onlineServes graduate students across all departments and teachers in the community
Goals for Students in EPSY 5271
Develop into competent and effective teachers of statisticsBecome part of the statistics education community and utilize good resourcesDevelop an awareness of and appreciation for the research, scholarship and best practices in the field
Goals in Teaching EPSY 5271Model an effective and positive statistics classroom. Teach the way we want the students to teach.Create a learning environment for developing a deep and meaningful understanding of statistics and help the teachers develop their ability to create this type of environment for students. Be a facilitator of learning by providing resources and activities and encouraging discussion and reflection.
What is needed to be an effective teacher of statistics?
Teachers should: Know their subject matter at a deep level (content knowledge)Have good teaching skills (pedagogical knowledge)Pedagogical content knowledge (PCK, Schulman,1986) is also essential to promote student learning
Preparing Teachers for a Changing World, Darling-Hammond and Bransford ( 2005)
The importance of preparing teachers to go beyond covering the curriculumThose who prepare teachers are encouraged to build on the growing knowledge base on learning and teaching to support teachers in meeting these demands.A model of professional practice that includes knowledge of subject matter and curriculum goals, knowledge of learners, and knowledge of teaching (the subject matter).
Assume most graduate students preparing to teach introductory statistics have knowledge of the subject matter, they also need knowledge of curriculum, learners, and knowledge of teaching (both in general and specifically, of teaching statistics). Our course is designed to help prepare future teachers of statistics to become knowledgeable about each of these areas.
About the CourseA graduate-level semester long course that met once a week for three hours at a timeEach offering of the course has enrolled a variety of students representing different disciplinary backgrounds and teaching experiences. Students have had required textbooks (Moore, 2001; Gelman & Nolan, 2002) as well as weekly assigned readings.
Alignment with GAISECourse is organized around the GAISE recommendations.Emphasize statistical literacy and develop statistical thinking;Use real data;Stress conceptual understanding rather than mere knowledge of procedures;Foster active learning in the classroom;Use technology for developing conceptual understanding and analyzing data;Use assessments to improve and evaluate student learning;Readings and activities each focus on one if the guidelines.Each session or set of sessions are on a particular guideline.
Weekly Topics Introduction and OverviewDiscussion of experiences learning and teaching statisticsDiscussion of activities for a first day of class, types of first and second coursesIntroduction to the new and emerging field of statistics educationIntroduction to GAISE recommendations
Use of real data
Discussion of what statistics is and EDA is, how EDA is reflected in introductory statistics coursesDiscussion of importance of data, good data sets, how to use them and obtain them, how to explore them using statistical software
Weekly Topics Stress conceptual understanding rather than mere knowledge of proceduresDiscussion of research on teaching and learning statisticsIntroduction to Sampling SIM, causeweb.org
Emphasize statistical literacy and develop statistical thinkingDefining, teaching, and assessing statistical literacy, reasoning and thinkingFocusing on learning outcomesDiscussion of models and simulation
Weekly Topics Foster active learning in the classroom Discussion of different teaching methods: Active learning, cooperative groups, lab approachesDiscussion of what makes a good activity; students spend time critiquing and improving different activities
TechnologyDiscussion of abstract concepts that technology can help students visualizeExploration of websites, web software, online courses, and more
Weekly TopicsAssessmentDiscussion of ways to develop tests for different learning outcomes and conceptsExploration of the ARTIST websiteDiscussion of student projects, critique of different product guidelines and review of sample project ideasDiscussion of assessment rubrics
Weekly TopicsA Statistical Reasoning Learning Environment (SRLE)Discussion of what the SRLE isCrafting lesson plans and activities for the SRLE
Innovative courses and projectsDiscussion of AP statistics, ISCAM, CHANCE, AIMS, and online courses
Weekly Topics The Statistics Education CommunityStudents learn more about where the statistics education field has been and where it is goingDiscussion of different publications, journals, organizations, conferences, websites, CAUSE, ASA, IASE, SRTLDiscussion of ways to get involved in the statistics education community
Final weeks: Student PresentationsData setWeb resourceGroup lesson plan
Assignments and AssessmentsPresentation of a web resourceStudents find and share a favorite web resource that can be uses to support student learning in a unique way in a statistics course.
Presentation of a data setStudents find a data set that interests them (one that includes at least two variables and has both quantitative and categorical variables) and spend time exploring it and learning as much as they can about it. The data set is then shared with the class and discussion revolves around how the data set can be used in an introductory course.
Assignments and AssessmentsGroup Lesson Plan ProjectStudents work in small groups to develop a detailed lesson plan for one day in an introductory statistics course.
Assignments and AssessmentsReflection Papers (4)Their experiences as a student of and possibly teacher of statisticsObserving a class period in a first course of statisticsReading, summarizing, and critiquing three articles about teaching and/or learning statisticsReflecting on the course and discussing the kind of teacher they would like to become
Promoting Classroom Discourse
Another important goal for the teachers in our courses is to develop an appreciation for the value of classroom statistical discourse. This is different from teachers asking questions and students responding. The kind of discourse we promote is dialogue where students learn to question each other, respond to each others questions as well as defend their answers and data-based arguments. The use of good activities and technology allows for a new form of classroom discourse.
Effective Classroom DiscourseWe try to model ways to create a classroom climate where our teachers feel safe expressing their views, even if they are tentative. We encourage them to express their conjectures, and ask other teachers to comment on these conjectures. Allowing questions that begin with what do you think or what would happen if can lead to good class discussions.
Challenges in the Online ClassDesire to accommodate more students Adapting from face-to-faceChanging activities and assignmentsRole of discussion and promoting discourseA success, but changes will be made
Evaluating the CourseMidterm feedback End of course evaluation Students in the course typically report on how amazed they are at the vast set of resources available for teachers of statistics and how appreciative they are of the course and what it offers them as future teachers. End of Course Reflection paper Teaching philosophy statement that usually documents their integration of course learning goals. These statements suggest that the students in the course take the teaching of statistics very seriously, have expanded their knowledge of statistics education, and have developed their awareness of good teaching and resources for teaching and learning statistics.
Success StoriesParticipation in Stat ChatTeaching awardsAcademic positions after grad schoolAfter course feedback of great success in introducing activities into their classes and encouraging their colleagues to also enroll in this class. Six students from this course attended the US Conference on Teaching Statistics (USCOTS) In summary, the course appears to be succeeding in developing knowledgeable, competent, and enthusiastic teachers of statistics.
SummaryUnlike some of the teaching assistant training courses or programs that focus primarily on administering large sections of introductory statistics, this course strives to prepare teachers to understand the challenges involved in helping students develop important learning outcomes, Focus on developing both pedagogical knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge.
SummaryWe continue to evaluate and revise our classes as we teach them each year. We hope more faculty will explore ways to develop courses for pre-college and postsecondary teachers and encourage them to consider the different types of knowledge needed by competent teachers of statistics.
SummaryMoore (2005) offers four recommendations for preparing graduate students to teach statistics: Borrow from existing programs,Model good instructional practices,Provide students with written materials to study and carry away with them, and Evaluate how well you are doing.
SummaryWe concur with these recommendations, and are happy to share our course materials with others who want to develop such a course:
Lists of required and recommended readings, assignments, assessmentsEvaluation methods
We encourage faculty who have the opportunity to work with graduate students interested in teaching statistics to consider developing and offering a course that goes beyond training to developing excellent teachers of statistics.
Chance, B., Ben-Zvi, D., Garfield, J., & Medina, E. (2007, October). The role of technology in improving student learning of statistics. Technology Innovations in Statistics Education Journal, 1(1). Available: http://repositories.cdlib.org/uclastat/cts/tiseDarling-Hammond, L., & Bransford, J.(2005). Preparing teachers for a Changing World. John Wiley and Sons.Cobb, P., & McClain, K. (2004). Principles of instructional design for supporting the development of students statistical reasoning. In D. Ben-Zvi & J. Garfield (Eds.), The challenge of developing statistical literacy, reasoning, and thinking (pp. 375396). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
Franklin, C., & Garfield, J. (2006). The Guidelines for Assessment and Instruction in Statistics Education (GAISE) project: Developing statistics education guidelines for pre K-12 and college courses. In G.F. Burrill, (Ed.), Thinking and reasoning about data and chance: Sixty-eighth NCTM Yearbook (pp. 345-375). Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Froelich, A, Duckworth, W., Stephenson, W.R. Training Statsistics Teachers at Iowa State Universeity. The American Statistician. 59 (12), 8-10
References (contd)Garfield, J. (Ed.). (2005) Innovations in teaching statistics. Washington, DC: Mathematics Association of America.Garfield, J., & Ben-Zvi, D. (2005, May). A framework for teaching and assessing reasoning about variability. Statistics Education Research Journal, 4(1), 92-99. Retrieved December 26, 2006, from http://www.stat.auckland.ac.nz/~iase/serj/SERJ4(1)_Garfield_BenZvi.pdf Garfield, J. & Ben-Zvi, D. (2008). Developing Students Statistical Reasoning: Connecting Research and Teaching Practice. Springer.
References (contd)Gelman, A. (1994). A course on Teaching Staiststics at the University level. The American Statistician. 59 (12), 4-7Gelman, A., & Nolan, D. (2002) Teaching Statistics: A Bag of Tricks. Oxford University Press. Harkness, W., & Rosenberg, J. (2005)Training Graduate Students at Penn State University to Teach Statistics. The American Statistician. 59 (12),11-14.Moore, D. (2005). Preparing graduate students to teach statistics: Introduction. The American Statistician. 59 (12),1-3.