Chess in School

Chess in School


There is growing evidence
that playing chess in school can benefit students in many ways. It can improve memory, reading
skills, and critical thinking. And it can be a lot of
fun at the same time.>>Can you attack this
piece with anything? Right, yeah. Yeah.>>Christina: These Grade 5
students at Nicholas Sheran School are getting a lesson
in chess from University of Lethbridge education
Professor Lance Grigg.>>Can you move your bishop
so it’s gonna put him in check again?>>Christina: But they’re
learning more than just the moves and strategies
of the game.>>Chess has been shown to
develop some very important thinking skills, some
very important attitudes. Chess has been shown to help
students develop an ability to focus on a particular plan
that they’ve put into place. The critical and creative
thinking skills and attitudes chess nurtures in a classroom
have been shown in the research to be significant. Chess has helped students be
able to focus for significant amounts of time on a particular
task and be successful in achieving that task.>>Everybody know how to find —
>>Christina: Professor Grigg is an avid chess player who
believes the game can be used as a powerful teaching
tool in the classroom.>>So as I’m walking around,
I’m seeing kids attentive, I’m seeing them focusing, I’m
seeing them putting concepts in place and strategies in
place at a pretty — pretty sophisticated level. And — and you talk about the
level of engagement here and the attention to the patterns
they’re seeing on the board and how they can use those patterns.>>I’m seeing a pattern — check
mate — pattern right here. For example, this is an
interesting game being played right here, and the king
was put into check mate. And one of the things
when you check mate, guys, you shake the
other guy’s hand. That’s sort of chess protocol. Good game. [ Chuckles ] >>When you’re gonna
sacrifice a piece. So block, move something
in the way, right.>>Christina: This class belongs
to first year teacher and chess player Stephen Woodcock. He’s a former student of
Dr. Grigg at the U of L and sees the educational
benefits of the game.>>Dr. Grigg really opened my eyes to a bunch of research at
that showed the link between improving test scores in math
and improving reading ability, memory work and that, you know,
we want students to develop skills related to — or across
all the subjects by being able to think outside the box,
problem solve, analyze different scenarios and think
critically about them. And chess was an activity the
students are loving and that drew a really great correlation
between all those skills and its growth.>>Where’s your — can you get
me your reading — your writing folder?>>Christina: More than just
having students play the games, Stephen integrates chess
across the curriculum.>>So right now we’re looking
at chess in language arts and health primarily. There are some great math
connections obviously as well. In language arts, we started
by learning about the basic movements and doing
some preliminary writing. What do we know about chess?
What would we like to learn about chess? We’ll move from that to doing
some research and creating our own instruction
manual for chess. And then I posed the
question to students, you’re having fun with
this, this is great, we’re learning a lot. Do you think chess
should be taught in school? And that really opened up the
idea of writing a persuasive piece about whether they think
chess has a place in schools as well as, you know, finding good
evidence to support their “yes’s” or their “no’s”.>>Christina: Whether they’re
playing or writing about chess, these students are
enjoying the game, finding it both
challenging and beneficial.>>You can play against anybody,
and it’s fit for all ages. It helps your memory and
helps critical thinking.>>It’s like a strategy game. You actually have
to have a strategy. And it’s not just a game where
you move a piece and whatever happens after that
is what happens. It’s an actual — you have
to know what you’re doing.>>Actually, I think that’s
why I like chess the most, ’cause you get to
make your own plan, and you have to
continue with it, and you have to make sure that
the other player’s plan isn’t better than yours. And if it is, you gotta find a
way to stop is or get it done — or get your plan done
before theirs is finished.>>Christina: Nicholas Sheran
is a leader in me school that promotes the seven
habits of happy kids. Chess seems like a natural fit.>>It does all of the habits,
but the main three is think win-win, think first to
understand, and synergize.>>Christina: Stephen says there
are many advantages to chess in the classroom, but one
stands out over the others.>>I think the most important
thing that I hope students take away from chess in terms of
relating to life is thinking before they act. And in chess you have
to plan before you move. You don’t wanna be too reactive. And that’s what we really want
our students to kind of take away as well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *