PME (PSYCHOLOGY OF MATHEMATICS EDUCATION) WORKING GROUP ON THE TEACHING AND LEARNING OF STOCHASTICS

John Truran
University of Adelaide

Newsletter for the Section on Statistical Education
Volume 3, Number 2 (Summer 1997)


(Stochastics is used here in the European sense as a generic term encompassing probability, statistics and combinatorics.)

This small group of about 20 people is formed of researchers with a special interest in psychological aspects of the teaching and learning of stochastics - a topic which has attracted increasing attention in recent years. Membership covers a remarkably large number of countries and language groups. It might be seen as essentially a focused subset of those people who receive the Newsletter of the International Study Group for Research on Learning Probability and Statistics.

After two years as a Discussion Group, the Group has developed into a Working Group with the aim of preparing a document looking at some form of codifying stochastics research. It is clear that newcomers to this field experience difficulty in accessing and evaluating the relevant material, and that much significant work not written in English is not as widely known as it deserves. It is also clear that our research is not having as much influence in the classroom as it should.

Plans for this document are still being developed. At the meeting of PME in Finland in July 1997, some possible approaches to preparing the document will be put forward for discussion. We want the document to be more than an annotated bibliography; we want it to link the literature together in a way which will make it more accessible to both researchers and teachers and which will provide an authoritative basis for further work. It will probably be structured around a small number of critical papers in each aspect of the subject. We anticipate that it will also help to identify those areas still in need of careful investigation.

The Group is also having talks with another PME Working Group - that on Advanced Mathematical Thinking. It is possible that we may contribute a chapter on Advanced Statistical Thinking to a book which that Group is planning. This represents a significant link between Mathematicians and Statisticians which we see as particularly valuable.

The group stays in contact mainly through electronic mail, and a newsletter is distributed every 2 months. It is not restricted to those who actually attend PME Conferences, and we are sufficiently multi-lingual to receive work not written in English. Anyone who would like to be involved with this Group, or who would like to suggest material which could be of value for its publications is invited to contact one of the convenors: Carmen Batanero at batanero@goliat.ugr.es; Kath Truran at Kath.Truran@unisa.edu.au or John Truran at:
Mathematics Education
Graduate School of Education
University of Adelaide
South Australia 5005
+618 8373 0490 (home + answering machine)
Fax +618 8303 3604
jtruran@arts.adelaide.edu.au


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