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selecting supervisors they often seek guidance regarding potential topics. While students have various experiences in independent decision-making rarely have they had any deep experience in deciding on a research topic that they will pursue for a few years. The level of explicit direction requested will vary from student to student and culture to culture. It is particularly important to "pull back" with a view to allowing as much freedom of choice as possible. In fact, my own personal bias is to actively discourage myself from giving direction early in a programme. We all tend to believe we do this but it is particularly difficult not to give direction. Such an approach can be uncomfortable for a student since they may feel they are not getting as much direction as they expect. However, particularly if when they graduate they are going to pursue academic careers the ability to set their own direction is an important facet of being a successful researcher. Clearly, there are other aspects of supervision, but on reflection these seem to me to be the key points, with the first being particularly relevant to the education of researchers in statistical education. I hope they prove useful to you in reflecting on your supervisory practice. LIONEL PEREIRA-MENDOZA National Institute of Education 1 Nanyang Walk Singapore 637616 Singapore
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26 8. VOCATIONAL TRAINING OF RESEARCHERS IN STATISTICAL TOPICS OF MATHEMATICS EDUCATION. AN EXPERIENCE IN MEXICO ERNESTO SÁNCHEZ CINVESTAV-IPN, México [email protected] Even though the activity that we develop in our Department of Mathematics Education is not directly linked to Statistics departments of Mexican educational institutions, in our doctorate program there are some students whose interest is aimed towards research of topics in Statistics Education. On the other hand, as far as we know, our Department is the only one in Mexico that offers doctorate studies and research in this field. In my particular case, my vocational training is that of a mathematician whose personal interests took him to study Probability and Statistics among the optional courses of the Mathematics degree. My Master’s thesis in Mathematics Education is related to teaching models for the learning of probability. My doctoral dissertation (done like the Master’s at the Centre for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute in Mexico) is about probability too; specifically it is related to concepts of Stochastic Independence. I have also taught Probability and Statistics courses at both high school and university levels. Through these experiences I had the opportunity to familiarize myself with the literature available in the area of Statistics Education, particularly in relation to students’ difficulties with and beliefs concerning probability concepts. As in my case, the three doctorate students under my supervision are not professional statisticians. One of them is a mathematician and the other two are engineers, but they have all specialized in the teaching of Probability and Statistics. They are currently working in topics of Statistics related to Mathematics Education.
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