This investigation examines the effects of using humor äs a systematic teaching strategy to improve attitudes, reduce anxiety, and increase achievement in introductory undergraduate and graduate statistics courses. A singlesample pretest-posttest design was employed to measure changes in attitudes and anxiety and their relationships to achievement levels. Three incidental samples of 142 students were selected to fest the humorous instructional Intervention. Statistically significant t-ratios in thepredicted directions and practically significant effect sizes were found for attitudes toward course content and anxiety for all classes. These affective characteristics also had moderate correlations with composite achievement. Introduction Among all of the courses students take during their academic careers, which one would receive the highest number of votes for super-boring, ultra-difficult, and most anxiety producing (that triple threat)? While I have not conducted a formal survey, the hearsay evidence I have gathered over more than 20 years of teaching methodology courses should put statistics courses near the top. Students probably drag more negative baggage into their required introductory statistics course than any other. That baggage may contain: (1) math anxiety associated with low math ability or self-esteem, (2) Computer anxiety due to lack of Computer proficiency and experience, and (3), worst
HUMOR – de Gruyter
Published: Jan 1, 1998
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