Saturday, July 21, 2018

Building Support Communities for Statistics Educators

It's been a week since I returned home from Japan and I think I am finally recovered from the jet lag. At least, I hope I am. I spent a couple of days in Tokyo, then took the Shinkansen to Kyoto for the 10th International Conference on Teaching Statistics (ICOTS). Lynette Hudiburgh [of Miami University] and I presented about a topic near and dear to us – statistics teacher support communities.

Lynette and me presenting at ICOTS 10
Because statistics educators often lack pedagogical knowledge for statistics education, are often isolated in their workplace, and are in increased demand, teacher support communities are becoming more and more important. In our paper and presentation, Lynette and I discussed the needs for such support communities, what teachers do in these communities, and the types of communities: institution-level communities, cross-institutional, national communities in the U.S., and international communities. Finally, we gave our advice on how to structure a community so that it will be successful and best support statistics teachers. 

We cited Math for America (MƒA), a non-profit organization for NYC public math and science teachers, as an exemplar teacher support community and briefly discussed my experience as a member. As a two-time recipient of the master teacher fellowship, I receive a stipend and free professional development. Most MƒA professional development is teacher-led with many professional learning teams including the fabulous AP Statistics PLT. We mentioned some of the other many organizations that provide opportunities for statistics teachers to share ideas, discuss statistical content, and talk about their classes including the American Statistical Association (ASA), International Association for Statistical Education (IASE), and the College Board.

[Want to know more? You can read more details in our paper and presentation linked below.]

The best session at ICOTS 10: Session C2A
A time slot on the first day of a five-day conference? If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up. Also recommended... presenting in a session with other good talks. The two other presentations in our session:

Leigh Harrell-Williams (University of Memphis) – Using the SETS level A items to classify pre-service teachers' self-efficacy to teach statistics: an application of the Mixture Rasch Model

Jason Mark Dolor (Portland State University) – Post-secondary teachers’ understanding of p-value

Leigh brought up the fact that I didn't mention my blog anywhere in our talk. I hadn't thought of this blog as a community, but she does have a point about blogging being a way to connect with other educators. You're right, Leigh. I guess we'll have to include this idea in the future.

Giving ICOTS 10 a thumbs up
Fun fact: Even though the two of us were at the 2014 AP Statistics exam reading, Lynette and I didn't meet until we attended an ICOTS 9 workshop together. We've been stats conference roommates ever since. I can't think of a better person with whom to write a paper, break bread, share a bottle of wine, or get lost in Tokyo. This experience was truly a fitting way to commemorate the support community, n = 2, we've created together.

Building Support Communities for Statistics Educators (paper)

Building Support Communities for Statistics Educators (PPT)


(Top photo of Kiyomizu-dera Temple in Kyoto, Japan. ICOTS session photos courtesy of Liza Bolton and Alejandra Sorto. Graphic courtesy of Math for America.)

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