Sunday, September 19, 2010

Things I learned in stats class

I have been totally worried about stats class. Don't get me wrong, I have no fear of stats itself, but I have not had positive interactions with this instructor and it has had me worried.
I can put all my fears to rest! He is a great instructor. I like how he is approaching the stats for this class - compared to how the last instructor was approaching it.
He has a very dry sense of humor and a few times had me chuckling. He seems to me to be a very stereotypical "absent minded professor" - without the absent minded part! It's obvious he is brilliant and he knows so much about so many things. I learned all about Harry Belafonte's Banana boat song.
It was originally a Jamaican folk song made popular by Harry in 1955. It's about slaves wanting to be finished with the day of work and asking for the tally man (the slave who was assigned a supervisory role) to count the bananas. Slaves were not permitted to learn to read or write, so they use tally marks - like the ones we used in class! He also gave us some history of music and how in the 1950's there was a separation between what was seen as appropriate for white people to listen to - in a racially segregated America. This song by Harry Belafonte became very popular with "white" listeners and was seen as a real break though in the music world. It was a way for the Caucasian kids to rebel - but an interesting topic of song to use to rebel against racism!

I also learned that I have a lot of fun plotting numbers into a double stem leaf....

The other thing I was a little worried about was fitting into the cohort. I was a part of a cohort for my classes here. I think on three occasions we had people from outside the cohort join us for classes and it really had an interesting impact on the class dynamic. I was worried about being disruptive and an "outsider" in the class, so I really made an effort to tone myself down and watch, not jump right in. I had a great experience with everyone in the class, and was even invited to the standing breakfast a number of classmates gather for each Saturday before class. It was great!

I got all the homework done on Friday night that I needed to and MOST of what I needed to get done on Saturday. I still have some stuff to do but it is WORLDS more clear than it was when I tried to do it over the phone. I think this is going to work out just fine! Now if only the weather will co-operate we are GOLD!


Anonymous said...

What a great story about The Banana Boat Song. I had no idea.

I loved stats. I always thought it was so fun. (It probably helped that my prof let us have open-note tests, so I didn't have to memorize all the formulae...)

Teena in Toronto said...

I'm sooooo not a numbers person.

The Bumbles said...

Sounds like a terrific professor to engage everyone with a fun song and the history behind it, relating it back to the matter at hand. I can see why you are enjoying class!