Meet the Sages — from Bonnie’s Perspective

Welcome to Statistical Sage! Let me tell you about the format of this blog. I, Bonnie Green, will be writing weekly on various topics related to the teaching of statistics in social science, business, education, and health. I will be joined by four “sages,” individuals who possess far more impressive credentials and experience in teaching applied statistics than me. Though they will each tell you more about themselves, I’ll tell you a bit as well.

There is Harold Kiess, I call him “Hal.” I first “met” Hal as I was seeking the right statistics book to use with my students. I wanted a book that was accurate (and as you know that’s not always easy to find), I wanted a book that hit on critical points, and I wanted a book that could serve as a good resource for both the students and for me. Out of the countless books I reviewed, I selected Statistical Concepts for the Behavioral Sciences, 3rd Edition. I read Hal’s words again and again and again before ever meeting him. When we finally connected via phone, it was like reconnecting with an old friend. As you will see in other places on the blog, I joined Hal in co-authoring the fourth edition of Statistical Concepts for the Behavioral Sciences. So over the course of the last few years, though we have only seen each other three times, we have spent hours talking about and corresponding about the teaching of statistics.

There is also Martin Richter, “Marty.” I’ll save my first conversation with Marty for another time … let’s just say, it was memorable. When I speak of Marty to others who don’t know him , I just refer to him as my “statistics mentor.” Next to my academic advisor and husband, Marty was the only other person who was with me at every step of graduate school, often telling me how I could do more and better. He is a brilliant statistics teacher. However, even more important than teaching me statistics, Marty is the one who convinced me that I could write. I, like many of the students we may face in our classes, was certain, due to comments made  by my high school English teacher, that I would never be a good writer. My behavior (or lack there-of) guaranteed that I would never get any better. I almost didn’t apply to grad school given my beliefs about my writing skills (I had an entity view on writing and an incremental view on math and science — most of your students will have the opposite pattern – we’ll talk more of this in a latter blog). Marty, without citing any research, actually convinced me with practice and effort I could learn how to write.

 

Each week (or so) one of them will be adding to the on going conversation of teaching applied statistics. As I have told them, they are free to remark on any issue relating to the teaching of statistics, so it should prove to be interesting. During this first month, I have asked them to introduce themselves to you. Thus, expect more in depth conversations to begin next month.

I encourage you to share this site with others whom you know are teaching statistics. Among the three of us, we have over 80 years of teaching experience and thousands of students who have been successful in our classrooms. We have formally study how students learn, and we have even failed … a lot. But from those mistakes, we have learned. It is this knowledge that we hope to impart to you.

I encourage you to post questions or comments you may have, as like students’ questions when we teach, I am sure your comments or questions will serve to shape our conversations.

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