Daniel N. Jones
Statement of Teaching
I have experience teaching in both university and non-university settings. My
university teaching experience started early at the University of Arizona. Master’s
students were given the option of teaching their own courses for summer sessions. I took
full advantage of this opportunity teaching courses in social psychology, personality, and
research methods. I also taught a lab for research methods during the spring semester one
In my research methods classes, I offered my time to teach a one day optional
statistical seminar on a Saturday early in the term. Not only was I impressed by the
attendance of these Saturday optional lectures, I was very pleased at the outcome. Many
of the students told me how much better they understood statistics from this seminar, in
spite of it lasting only one day.
In addition to the courses I have taught on my own, I have given guest lectures in
classes for which I have been a teaching assistant. These lectures include topics such as:
Attractiveness, the self-concept, The Dark Triad of personality, and eating disorders.
My biggest passion for teaching would probably be with statistics and research
methodology (both and the graduate and undergraduate levels). I find these topics to be
the backbone of what we do, and without a good foundation in these domains, students
will flounder in future research efforts. My qualifications for teaching these classes are
clear as I have not only served as a statistical consultant both privately and for the
department of psychology here at UBC, my statistics professor Bruno Zumbo will also
attest to my ability and readiness to teach advanced statistics to graduate students.
I am excited to teach courses in the following areas:
Basic statistics (undergraduate level)
Overview of applied statistical methods (undergraduate & graduate level)
Multiple regression (graduate level)
Latent Variable Modeling (including SEM and CFA)
Validity and Validation (graduate level)
Psychometrics and scale development (graduate level)
Evolutionary and social role theories
Introduction to psychology
History of modern psychology
Miscellaneous specialized seminars (both undergraduate and graduate levels) on:
Psychology and film, the role of evolution in personality, the role of personality in
The world is a place of consumption and persuasion. The ability to critically
evaluate scientific findings presented in scholarly articles, books, and media are
invaluable to the success or failure of a person on a whole. In all my courses, my aim
will be preparing students for a lifetime of knowledge, learning, and reason.
I believe education is a lifelong process and a building process. In my courses, I
aim to provide both the tools for construction as well as the materials. In other words, I
emphasize the process of logic, thinking, reasoning, and asking a question as much as I
emphasize the material itself. I am not satisfied with a student who does well on an exam
but cannot apply what was learned in class to a real-life issue, nor am I satisfied with a
student who does not retain information down the road.
My teaching philosophy in seminars and subject courses. The first component to
my teaching philosophy is that I believe that nobody learns unless the material is relevant
to personal affairs. For example, I make a strong effort to bring relevant current events
and community examples into any and all lectures. One year I accomplished this by
demonstrating how prejudice and "ingroup/outgroup" bias was expressed in a campus
newspaper article. The article entitled, “why we should hate ASU” was published in the
campus newspaper at Arizona. The hatred between Arizona and their rivals, Arizona
State (ASU), represented blind ingroup/outgroup biases. I used this article to emphasize
how such seemingly "harmless" outgroup distinctions form the basis for our prejudicial
The second component is that I believe nobody learns unless the material is
discussed, written about, thought about, and brought home. Recent research by Roediger
and colleagues (2006) has shown that multiple testing sessions increase memory recall
better than reviewing material over and over. Therefore, in most of my classes I give
multiple exams, with a comprehensive final. I also like to give quizzes or thought papers
before and (sometimes) after lectures. I also believe that students learn more effectively
when the textbook material is read prior to a lecture, and I often use thought papers or
quizzes to encourage that habit. Such small papers and quizzes also provide more recall
opportunities, which improves memory.
I am also a strong believer in group discussions and thought papers. These small
assignments (brief and not labor intensive), are not focused on grading, but on letting
students voice their own perspectives. Once integrated into one's own perspective,
material sticks in memory more readily. For example, in teaching social or personality
psychology, students are assigned to watch a movie from a list of relevant films (feel free
to email me for the list). Students then write an integrative paper on how the theories
taught in class either apply or are demonstrated in the selected film. Some examples
students have articulated: Cognitive Dissonance in the film, Twelve Angry Men, or the
Dark Triad in the film, Savage Messiah).
My third component consists of the belief that it is my responsibility to go above
and beyond textbooks. Being in the field, my job is to present and easily explain cutting
edge research in the field that I glean from both scholarly readings and conferences I
attend. Letting students in on the scholarly discourse that occurs in scientific discussions,
and bringing them into the classroom, are things I consider to be part of my job.
The fourth component of my philosophy is that learning has to be enjoyable and
too much lecturing turns students away. Allowing discussions, presentations, class
participation, student generated examples, and media clips are invaluable in getting the
message across, while still making it all enjoyable for the student.
Teaching philosophy directed at statistical training. In my time as a statistical
consultant for the department of psychology at the University of British Columbia, I was
always amazed at the lack of logic taught to students surrounding critical statistical
questions. My approach in tutoring someone in statistics was always to first discuss the
argument being made, the problem at hand, and the nature of the data being analyzed. I
made a strong effort to show the individual why a certain statistical approach is
appropriate rather than simply stating what is appropriate.
I believe that students do not learn statistics when equations are written on the
board, and applied to a dry data set. This does not help the students grasp the statistical
concepts. Instead, I teach my statistics courses from the perspective of logic and reason,
rather than equations and numbers.
I do not deny that numbers, calculations, and equations are critical pieces to
understanding statistical issues, and they will certainly be taught in my courses.
However, equations are not a substitute for logic or reason, and therefore logic and reason
will receive just as much time as actual equations and numbers do. Furthermore, logic
and reason will always precede equations and numbers. Nothing is more daunting in a
statistical course than when a large equation is written on the board with no real logical
explanation for what it is doing. Therefore, logical arguments for a statistical technique
will always be presented and discussed prior to learning the precise calculations.
In all my statistics courses I have students reason through statistical dilemmas and
generate reasons why a certain technique should be applied. Students will leave the class
with a greater understanding of how to think through a statistical problem, not just how to
apply an equation. The best statistics course I ever took required reading of philosophy
of science manuscripts by individuals such as Popper and Meehl for the first two weeks.
The professor believed that only by understanding what logical processes lead us to make
statistical arguments, can we possibly apply statistical techniques appropriately.
Possibly the most important component of statistical training, that will be applied
in my courses, is analyzing actual data. Students in graduate courses, who have their own
data, will be asked to analyze it in different ways. I have collected data on over 20
different projects in my career (some of which failed to support a hypothesis). Students
will be allowed access to the data from projects that they find personally interesting. This
will include projects that failed to support a hypothesis as well as projects that succeeded
in doing so. I will also provide students with access to large datasets collected available
for public consumption around the world (e.g., world health and value surveys, Midlife In
the United States or MIDUS data, and so on). I believe these approaches are far more
likely to lead to long-term retention than the dry examples given in most statistical
In sum, my teaching philosophy is geared towards practical, and real-world
application. My classroom is usually informal, and discussions are encouraged and
abound. At the end of the term, I expect students to not only be aware of the relevant
issues on a given topic, but have the equipment to think through new issues as they arise
in a given field.