Risk-communication is a hot topic, whether it concerns the benefits and harms of screening or the chance of a catastrophic earthquake. It is challenging to explain both unpredictability and uncertain knowledge to the public, and yet these are also essential elements in education in probability and statistics. I shall argue that current approaches in communicating risk and uncertainty can contribute substantially to educational practice.
In particular, Gigerenzer’s recommendation for ‘natural frequencies’ – whole-number outcomes starting from a defined population of cases - can be adapted to teaching probability based on a natural sequence of stages: empirical multiple narratives from experimentation represented as 2-way tables and frequency trees, to expected outcomes in multiple future experiments, and finally to probability trees. Issues of relative and absolute risk continually arise in topical stories, and representations that make these transparent are as relevant in the classroom as in the news. 'Expected frequencies' now feature in the GCSE Maths syllabus, and I shall illustrate the type of problem that can be solved using these techniques.
This public talk has been organised as part of the tenth annual conference of the International Society for Design and Development in Education (ISDDE).
David Spiegelhalter is the Winton Professor for the Public Understanding of Risk and Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Cambridge.
How to book:
The talk is free, and all are welcome, but admission is by ticket only - please book tickets online via Eventbrite.