Open Access from Teaching Statistics: The curse of knowledge when teaching statistics

Every week, we select a recently published Open Access article to feature. This week’s article is from Teaching Statistics and delves into educators’ overestimation bias when teaching statistics. 

The article’s abstract is given below, with the full article available to read here.

Shatz, I.The curse of knowledge when teaching statisticsTeach. Stat. (2022), 1– 5

When teaching statistics, educators sometimes overestimate their students’ knowledge and abilities. This is due to the curse of knowledge, a cognitive bias that causes people—especially experts—to overestimate how likely others are to know and understand the same things as them. This can lead to various issues, including struggling to communicate with students, and making students feel less comfortable in the classroom. To address this, educators should first identify situations where this bias can affect their teaching. In doing so, they should consider relevant risk factors, and potentially also solicit feedback from relevant individuals. Then, educators can reduce this bias and its impact on their teaching by using techniques such as keeping the curse of knowledge and their audience in mind, assessing students’ knowledge, assuming lack of knowledge unless there is strong evidence to the contrary, and avoiding saying that things are obvious.

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