Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Chess in BC public schools.

Well, I'm back. I've got something to write about. It seems that the efforts of Arnie Nermo, a teacher from the Okanagan who now teaches in Abbotsford, have borne fruit. Nermo, along with fellow teacher Luke Campbell, has finally had his chess course approved by both the School Board and the Ministry of Education of British Columbia. Says Nermo:

What is the significance? Now that Chess is listed as a legitimate BAA course in BC (course number YLRA-12F) any teacher can apply to teach it in their school district. It will still take some effort on their part but the precedent is set and so it will be a much easier road. Although the course is the first of its kind in Canada that I know of, it is my hope that teachers in other districts and provinces country-wide may use Luke Campbell’s and my experiences to use the course as a template for the introduction and teaching of Chess into their high-school curriculum too.

For those interested in the substantiation, from the educators' point of view, of chess as a high school course, the following is also of interest:

As to the question of whether Chess has a viable place in high-school curriculum, extensive research has shown it to be an activity where even the weakest academic students can match their wits with the strongest and beam with success. It is a proven and valuable self-esteem builder! In addition, Chess demands that participants exercise their best powers of planning, memory, decision-making, judgment, creativity, and concentration. Interestingly, chess is known to assist cognitive development for students in four areas– logic, memory, awareness/analysis, and pattern recognition (Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal WGCTA). The educational benefits of chess are already recognized by its inclusion in the required curricula of over 30 countries including Canada (Quebec and New Brunswick).It is evident that chess is more than just a game.

Here are a few links for further investigation ...

Nermo address fellow teachers through the BCTF website.

British Columbia Chess in Schools: World Chess Federation (FIDE) report

Chess Federation of Canada Discussion Board - Chess Approved as a High School Credit

Chess Kids Australia takes notice of Canadian breakthrough.

The Australian website is useful because it provides links to: (a) A Short History on How to Start a High School Chess Course (.pdf file), and (b) Chess 12 BAA [Board Approved and Authorized] Course Outline (M/S Word .doc file)

Susan Polgar thinks this is important as well ...

Chess in Moldovian Schools

Chess in Schools in the Philippines

"Chess is a game that improves individual organizational and analytical skills. Children when exposed to this game at an early age achieve academically better, or even faster than those who have not been engaged in the game. Likewise, chess is among the activities that help build memory skills, concentration, self-confidence, self-esteem and in making disciplined decisions. Playing chess provides opportunities to practice such values as perseverance, honesty, and sportsmanship," Secretary Lapus stated in the Memorandum.

The Department of Education (DepEd) shall adopt chess as another strategy to promote the development of higher order thinking skills and values among Grades 3 to 6 in the Physical Education department. Chess will continue at the secondary level....

In the Philippine public school system, there are around 35,000 Grade Schools and some 6,000 High Schools. There are over 2,000 private High Schools. Brother Dizon said they aim to train 35,000 chess teachers by November 2009.

This is good news for chess in British Columbia, in Canada, and in the wider world.

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