Year after year, about 30% of Quebec high school students gamble on an occasional basis, and about 6% of them could be considered to be regular gamblers.
A team of researchers from Université de Sherbrooke and McGill University, in collaboration with the teaching staff of the Marie-Victorin school board, developed and tested a teaching and learning model aimed at encouraging students to develop a responsible attitude towards their gambling habits.
A proper teaching of probability theory can influence young people’s attitude to gambling.
This research showed that teaching probability theory using a real context, reproducing gambling situations with which the students are familiar, transforms their conception of gambling as a possible source of substantial income. In particular, the intervention had a marked effect on the students’ profit expectations from popular gambling activities such as poker, their conception of the role of chance, and the effectiveness of applying winning strategies.
The researchers also identified a critical need for the training of high school math teachers in the teaching of probability theory, as well as for appropriate teaching materials. In addition, the research team showed the effectiveness of educational technologies, especially gambling simulators, for increasing the students’ comprehension of their odds of winning in various contexts and the underlying mathematical concepts. This research clearly demonstrates that the teaching of probability theory by properly trained teachers can influence young people’s attitude to gambling.
François Larose, Université de Sherbrooke
Deposit of the research report: September 2011