In this paper we propose ten simple ‘rules’ for guiding students’ learning of the language of statistics. Learning any new subject brings with it the requirement to learn the language associated with that subject. Students also bring with them varying understandings about the relationship between statistics and mathematics. Many students expect the formality and precision of mathematics to transfer to statistics, and are baffled to discover this is not the case. The first four rules will guide instructors and learners around the landscape of tricky terms, from general English to the English of mathematics, statistics and other disciplines. The remaining six rules will establish some signposts along the way to assisting students to overcome the challenges of the language of statistics. We acknowledge that there is no single route to enforce here, and that management of expectations, embracing ambiguity in terminology, and reinforcement of new language through writing and speaking all have a role to play in teaching and learning the language of statistics.
39th Australian Conference on Teaching Statistics (OZCOTS): Big Data: Mining, Analysing, Teaching, Canberra, Australia 5-9 December 2016
Proceedings of the 39th Australian Conference on Teaching Statistics / Helen MacGilivray, Michael A Martin, Brian Phillips (eds): pp.32-37