Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Chess in Schools

Talk of chess in schools isn't new but it was again featured a couple of days ago in an Australian broadsheet. But while educators in Australia are still talking about it - over in Aberdeen, Scotland - chess has been part of the school program since at least 2001. The success of this program has eventually led to the Chess in the Schools and Communities International Conference to be held later this month at Aberdeen University. A conference coordinator and researcher, Dod Forrest, speaking about a research study into chess in education said:

We found that the chess-playing group of children showed improvements in reading comprehension and behaviour compared with the group which did not play chess, based on the teacher's assessment of some of the more difficult children in class.

The big question is why is this happening. We can look at the reading skills, before interaction with chess and afterwards, and something improves but we don't really know why.

The approach in Scotland is very ambitious. There's even talk of Chess Scotland paying for a development officer to coordinate the interaction of school-based chess with the greater chess scene. But volunteer coaches? That just won't work, in Australia at least, with a number of for-profit firms now already operating in schools anyway. I've always wondered, though, what these outfits are actually teaching!

Read more from The Scotsman.


Anonymous said...

TCG asked "I've always wondered, though, what these outfits are actually teaching!"
Suggest you return to your posts and links TCG, re-read and see that the benefit comes from chess-playing, not teaching. In fact the less the teachers know about chess the better the life-skills gain achieved by the students.

Anonymous said...

Above said "In fact the less the teachers know about chess the better the life-skills gain achieved by the students."

Don't shoot the messanger when i say you should employ guys like Sweeney to coach chess because he is a great teacher.

Martin Deane (aka Juicy Plums) said...

I don't see any harm encouraging youngsters to take up the game, surely it can only be a good thing.

Being a father of 4, I wish the rest of the UK had started a similar project several years ago that could have benefited my kids.

Anonymous said...

come on guys. how can you say that australian chess coaches at schools even teach chess. its more like baby sitting service.

DeNovoMeme said...

Cary Grant: its more like baby sitting service.

In case you didn't know, looking after and ushering kids successfully through childhood is THE most difficult and important task that this species has to complete.

Anonymous said...

Cary,do you think an 8year old kid even knows the difference between a 1500 player and a 2000 strength player?

Of course they dont,to them they are the same. Its only when the kids become solid 1200 players that they need someone stronger teaching them.