29 May, 2007
Meeting the tutors(3): Greg Smith
My name is Greg Smith and I’m a chess tutor. Thanks Harry and Steve for asking me to join the team.
Unlike Harry I came late to Chess. I played a few games as a child and luckily remembered the moves when I first attended the Castlemaine Chess Club. There I enjoyed the company, wisdom, humour and coaching of the astute.
I became a father in 2002 (I now have a boy and a girl) and a teacher in 2003. I had taught SOSE, ICT and Art, previously to tackling Chess. The student’s enthusiasm and engagement with chess overwhelmed me. Truly amazing! Chess works.
I distinctly remember a point when 30 children all pondered studiously silent, each brain computing at the speed of light. This despite my preferred method of encouraging banter, conversation and discussion. I have derived happiness reaffirming that children enjoy thinking.
I have been privileged to attend 5 schools in Mt Alexander Shire and I enjoy the diverse challenges available. All teachers have been warm and supportive and speak of positive results. Large, small and mixed age classes all require different approaches. I am often asked about gender bias and I haven’t observed any. Students love to count up the pieces. Whether it is shown that chess improves maths or not I remain convinced that chess in schools, particularly at upper Primary level, is eminently beneficial.
Harry sums up chess so perfectly I will simply quote him here.
“Research, experience and observation have led me to believe that chess is an excellent pedagogical tool which improves concentration, impulse control and accountability, cultivates good sportspersonship and social interaction.”
With chess, a novice can play an experienced player, beautifully expressed by an Indian proverb, "Chess is a lake in which a gnat may sip and an elephant may bathe."
(Meet our other tutors here and here- scroll down a bit!