01 July, 2010

Over the Board with Harry

Hi fellow chess aficionados,

I have been neglecting the blog lately but am going to remedy that in the coming time.
Just to give you an insight into the scope and depth of the Chess Squared Program (CSP) in September, fifteen schools, who use chess in their math's curriculum, will compete in the Mt Alexander School Cluster Regional Chess Championships. There will be approximately 290 primary school kids competing making it the largest chess tournament of its kind in rural Australia.

The important thing about the CPS is that for the last five years we have maintained a curriculum based (learning time not lunchtime) chess program which fifteen (15) schools have been willing to finance. I have heard of similar programs running in Canada and the U.S.A but they are very few and far between. I think we are unique because we use chess in our primary school math's curriculum.

My co-development officer in the Steve Carroll has completed a minor thesis on program building and social capital which I am sure will be an edifying read for anyone interested in developing a similar program as the CSP.

I have also begun my Master of Education (Hon) research project. The proposed research study will focus on the Chess Squared Program (CSP). The program seeks to influence students’ learning and thinking especially in regards to improving resilience, perseverance, impulse control and to enhance mathematics outcomes.
The research study will focus on why some students excel at playing chess and compare different groups (for example gender, participation in school, home background, ethnicity) of students and attempt to answer if and why some groups do better than others.

The research will be amongst the first attempts of this kind to investigate the link between learning to play chess and learning mathematics, problem solving, and affective domain skills.

The expected benefits for schools and students will be:

 Insights into the learning processes that engender greater resilience, motivation and strategic thinking skills and may show ways to motivate low achieving students.
 Strengthen public confidence in a world-class school education system, with a strong government school sector at its core.
 Develop an innovative approach to delivering curriculum and test the veracity of the approach.

Steve and I hope the blog will develop into a learning & knowledge sharing forum around these challenging subjects.

Regards Harry

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