Enthusiasm for teaching and learning

It’s a joy to be with faculty who are deeply enthusiastic about teaching and about student learning. I’m just back from AusPLAT (Australian Psychology Learning and Teaching), the first Australian conference on learning and teaching, under the auspices of the Australian Psychological Society. Only about 60-70 folks participated, but the focus and enthusiasm was great. Also, having just survived a frostier than usual winter in Victoria, it was nice to be up north in Ipswich, Queensland, in clear sunshine.

I had been given the title ‘The Joy of Stats’ for may talk, and I was very happy with this. It’s a title stolen from a fabulous BBC documentary. I focused on what in my experience is one of the really great things about taking an estimation and Open Science approach from the very start–from class 1 with beginning undergraduates: It all simply makes sense, and that gives pleasure.

I’d love to have more empirical evaluation of the curriculum followed in ITNS–surely that will come. In the meantime, I can enjoy my classroom experience that students say more positive things and report much less confusion and negative emotion than in the old days of hacking through the weird logic of NHST. In my experience, the new ways can indeed bring joy!

The slides for my talk are here. I’m always looking for pithy and memorable ways to make key points. Here’s one of the last slides, with two messages that are not new, but perhaps make the points with a bit of zip.

The first expresses what seems to me the bottom-line logic that compels choice of The New Statistics. The second tries to illustrate that a CI gives a much different, and more justifiable, message than the equivalent p value. Yes, researchers should develop the habit of mentally converting any p value (and point estimate) they see into the approximate equivalent CI. Woe, a long interval signals much uncertainty, but that’s the truth!

I salute all faculty who are enthusiastic about their teaching, and dedicated to doing it better, always better…

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