Monday, August 29, 2005

A small excursion into teaching techniques using the example of statistics

Statistics is fun if you know how to teach it

One of the most important things in teaching is to explain the students, why they should learn a specific subject or a specific idea, term etc. This applies for all subjects, all age categories and all levels of education.

Many years ago I was asked to teach Statistics at ERAU / Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Florida, USA /. I did not like statistics too much during my studies at VSE Prague, Czechoslovakia but I agreed. Usually, in order to explain what statistics is about, I used the following example:

Imagine you are a young man of 27 to 29 and you want to get acquainted to a young lady about 25 years old. There are specialized travel agencies who aimed at people in search for a partner. They organize every night three ships where they put people of fitting age together and let them talk, dance listen to music , eat and drink the whole night so that they can find out if they like each other. So you, as the young man go to such an agency and they ask you what age of a lad would be goof for you, you say you would like to learn a lady of 25 years of age. The lady at the teller in the agency says it is really terrific as just tonight on ship takes off where the AVERAGE age of ladies is exactly 25 years. So you are happy and buy the ticket for the ship and cannot await the evening as the ship takes off at 20:00. What is your surprise when you get on board and see that there are only grandmothers aged 48 with their granddaughters aged 2, the average age is 48 plus 2 divided by 2, which is exactly 25! So which of them would you prefer to get acquainted to: The 2 year old or the woman who might be your mother?????

Everybody can see that the AVERAGE number can be severely misleading, and exactly therefore there are statistical procedures which give us better grasp of the average number we want to understand, for example the standard deviation, and of course many others. Using these additional numbers we can better, much better understand what the average is telling us. Usually everybody can remember then that the average alone is not enough to base any judgements on but that we need some more numbers describing the reality more precisely.

This type of explanation makes the student aware of the danger of blind trust into average, and understands the necessity of Statistics and is prepared to learn.

The opposite example is the grades at school. Suppose there is a student with the average grade 1,4 on the scale from 1 /being the best/ to 5 /being the worst grade/. The question is. ”Is the student good or poor?” The correct answer is that the student is good because his average grade is closer to the grade 1 – being the best grade, and far away from the worst grade, 5. So the average grade of a student gives us a clear statement because we know the upper and lower boundaries, 1 and 5.

Compared to the example with the young man trying to get acquainted exactly this is the difference. The young man did not know the upper and lower age boundaries, but we know the boundaries when we speak of school grades.

In such a way it is possible to properly motivate the students by showing them what kind of benefit they can draw from learning the subject. This is possible for every subject. Only the teachers must think a bit. Basically, it is telling the students what is the stuff they are to learn good for.

Sunday, August 28, 2005


Languages and the school management of VOS

German newspapers

Today I have succeeded in posting some important pictures to the Forum, three scanned articles from German newspapers about the stay of students of VOS Domazlice in Germany. Those of you who speak German can understand the newspapers and for the English speaking students I make a short summary of the problem.

Some time ago I was a teacher of English at VOS Domazlice, and had found that the school management is too poor and too weak in pursuing new goals fitting the new times. By “New times” I mean the changes after 1989 in this republic, which means the end of communist reign over this country. Several times I offered my knowledge to the school management but they did not react. So I had decided to organize the work and study stay for the students myself. I succeeded; students of VOS Domazlice could go to Germany and work there and at the same time learn the language.

Unfortunately, the school management could not cope with that and STOPPED the program. This is a perfect illustration how the old “communist” people envy the young generation and do not allow them to study and become smarter. It is also typical that such people are at the leading position and thus, through their “not-knowledge” influencing the young generation, giving it a poor example for their future lives, and guiding it into a completely wrong direction.

You can see the scanned pictures of German newspapers below; a click on the picture enlarges the pictures so that you can read the report.


The third report in German newspapers about the students from VOS Domazlice in Germany. Posted by Picasa


The secon report in German newspapers Posted by Picasa


This is the report about the students of VOS Domazlice on their study stay in Germany, published in local newspapers, report No.1. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


FORUM VOŠ Domažlice


This is the forum, the real blog, i.e. a place where you can post your ideas. This blog is only for members. If you want to post your ideas here you must first become a member. What should you do to become a member? Well, first of all, you must send me email saying you would like to become a member; along with the copy of your ID card, because I want to know who are you IRL, and you should send me also your first creation. If your contribution will be ok I will enable your member access to this blog, so that you can post your contributions alone: Do not forget that violence, abusive and offending vocab is not permitted. Your postings can be any time erased from the blog by the administrator if not up to the standards.

I would like to see here postings about school, learning, science, and even some personal ideas, maybe even politics, economics etc.

Have fun and express yourself publicly!!!!


Dies ist das Forum, der tatsächlicher Blog, d.h. der Platz, wo jeder seine Ideen platzieren kann. Es ist nur für Mitglieder gedacht. Falls Sie hier Ihre Ideen postieren wollen, dann müssen Sie Mitglied werden. Was sollten Sie tun, um Mitglied zu werden? Also, als erstes müssen Sie mir eine Email senden, dass sie Mitglied werden wollen, zusammen mit eine Kopie Ihren Ausweises, weil ich möchte wissen, wer Sie in der Wirklichkeit sind; dazu dann noch Ihren ersten Beitrag. Falls Ihr Schriftstück meinen Vorstellungen entsprechen würde, werde ich Ihnen Ihren privaten Mitglieder-Zugang zu diesem Blog gewähren, dann können Sie Ihre Beiträge selbst veröffentlichen. Vergessen Sie nicht, dass jede Art beleidigender Ausdrücke hier absolut verboten ist. Ihre Beiträge können jeder Zeit vom Administrator gelöscht werden, falls sie den Standards nicht entsprechen.

Ich möchte hier Beiträge über Schule, Lernen, Wissenschaft und vielleicht sogar eigene private Ideen, vielleicht noch Politik, Wirtschaft usw.

Also viel Spaß und drücken Sie sich hier öffentlich aus.

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