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Presentation 3F3. Maieutic, Laboratory-Based Approach to Teaching Probability Theory and Its Applications to Measurement Uncertainty

Giulio D'Agostini (Italy)


Presentation Abstract

Many difficulties in teaching probability and statistics can be overcome if the intuitive idea of probability is recovered, separated from its evaluations methods and framed in the Bayesian theory. This should be done in the courses from the very beginning, instead of presenting the "Bayesian paradigm" after the "classical statistics" (the fact that the latter approach reflects the chronological exposure to these ideas of most teachers does not mean that it has also a superior teaching effectiveness). Once the intuitive concept of probability is recovered, the Socratic (maieutic) approach is particularly suited to raise probabilistic ideas from intuition to a level of full awareness. Experience with this method, based on many years of undergraduate courses in the Chemistry and Physics curriculum, as well as minicourses given to Ph.D. students, is reported.


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