Language and Discourse in the Learning of Statistical Concepts

Francis McGonigal


Students on Business School courses will require a certain level of numerical ability; therefore, Mathematics and Statistics are important elements of the curriculum (Cottee et. al., 2014). Students often struggle with these quantitative parts of their course and this is sometimes seen as part of a general "Mathematics Problem" that impacts many disciplines including biology, economics, nursing and psychology (Mac an Bhaird and Lawson, 2012). Many students find Statistics in particular a difficult subject as it includes concepts which are complex and even counter-intuitive. For these students the way in which statistical ideas are communicated and specifically the use of language and discourse are of great importance.

This paper reports on ongoing research into the role of language and discourse in teaching and learning Statistics. Included are: Findings from a Pilot Enquiry carried out in 2019; the theoretical background to the research and the challenges presented by the pandemic both for teaching and for the research.


StatisticEducation, Pedagogic discourse, Language Codes

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