Tips for coaching children

Discuss anything you like about chess related matters in this forum.
Jonathan Bryant
Posts: 2947
Joined: Sun May 11, 2008 3:54 pm

Re: Tips for coaching children

Postby Jonathan Bryant » Thu Mar 16, 2017 5:05 pm

Joey Stewart wrote:I suppose the underlying difficulty many coaches forget is that chess is essentially just a game which many players treat as a bit of fun, pushing the pieces around without wanting to attempt to master its complexities ... the vast majority who continue to play after primary school will end up playing online where they can continue to play the game for enjoyment, rather then entering into the highly competitive tournaments and leagues of the uk.



What you say is absolutely right, no doubt but I don’t think it’s the case that "many coaches" forget this. People actually working in junior chess especially pre-graded chess are very much aware of it, it seems to me. Possibly I’m just hanging out with a certain type of coach, but in my experience people not working in the field are more likely to struggle to grasp this point.

Anyhoo this

Joey Stewart wrote:There will be a few younger players who have a strong drive to keep going forward and improving their game, and those are the type who make the best pupils ....


is what I really wanted to question. If somebody truly thinks this way - that the pupils you describe are the "best pupils" - then I would suggest they might want to consider whether spending some time coaching children at chess is really what they should be doing.

Yes, I get it. It’s very rewarding to help introduce chess to a child and then watch them grow into the game and go on to win trophies and medals and whatnot. Is "the best pupils" the right label for this group, though? I don’t think so.

Words matter. Attitudes matter.

If we value a child/student’s according to how interested they are in chess/how good they get, it seems to me that something’s wrong.

Paul McKeown
Posts: 3016
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2007 3:01 pm
Location: Hayes (Middx)
Contact:

Re: Tips for coaching children

Postby Paul McKeown » Fri Mar 17, 2017 7:15 pm

Use Steps. It is the only truly coherent chess course ever developed. If you are unfamiliar with teaching chess, then buy the Manuals that accompany the workbooks. Make sure that the students do not pass on to the next Step, until they have grasped all of the current Step. Use the Steps Extra workbooks to reinforce the Steps Workbooks, then use the Steps Plus workbooks at each level to introduce material of added complexity and difficulty in order to further reinforce the material at each Step. Use the DVDs, as well, if the child likes to work at a computer. Ensure, also, that as well as learning from Steps, the student has sufficient practise by actually playing other students at a similar level.

Brendan O'Gorman
Posts: 487
Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2009 9:10 pm

Re: Tips for coaching children

Postby Brendan O'Gorman » Fri Mar 17, 2017 9:05 pm

Nick,
While there's still time, move - far away!

Jacques Parry
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2014 9:37 pm

Re: Tips for coaching children

Postby Jacques Parry » Mon Mar 20, 2017 8:45 am

Yes, I get it. It’s very rewarding to help introduce chess to a child and then watch them grow into the game and go on to win trophies and medals and whatnot. Is "the best pupils" the right label for this group, though? I don’t think so.


I wouldn't call them that either. But volunteers are usually keen to make the most effective use of whatever skills they may have. If children just want to have fun with chess, that's fine, but in that case it doesn't really matter whether the person supervising them knows anything about the game. Some of the kids I teach are interested in learning what little I can teach them; some aren't. The former group may not be better pupils than the latter, but what I have to offer is more use to them.

User avatar
Michael Farthing
Posts: 1309
Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2014 1:28 pm
Location: Morecambe, Disunited Kingdom

Re: Tips for coaching children

Postby Michael Farthing » Mon Jun 05, 2017 2:09 pm

To say someone is a 'better pupil' is not the sme as saying a 'better person'. Someone who wants to learn is quite clearly a 'better pupil' than someone who doesn't.

Jonathan Bryant
Posts: 2947
Joined: Sun May 11, 2008 3:54 pm

Re: Tips for coaching children

Postby Jonathan Bryant » Mon Jun 05, 2017 2:36 pm

Michael Farthing wrote:To say someone is a 'better pupil' is not the sme as saying a 'better person'. Someone who wants to learn is quite clearly a 'better pupil' than someone who doesn't.


I fundamentally disagree with the idea that if a child doesn’t 'want to learn' then the fault must lie with them - which is what the labels "better pupil" and "worse pupil" imply.

Jonathan Bryant
Posts: 2947
Joined: Sun May 11, 2008 3:54 pm

Re: Tips for coaching children

Postby Jonathan Bryant » Mon Jun 05, 2017 2:52 pm

Whilst I’m here, I’ll add that I also fundamentally disagree with this:-

Jacques Parry wrote:Some of the kids I teach are interested in learning what little I can teach them; some aren't. The former group may not be better pupils than the latter, but what I have to offer is more use to them.


(My emphasis)


The truth is the former group might feel more immediately more rewarding to teach - might actually be more rewarding - but you’ve no way of knowing how much of use it is to them or the other apparently 'not interested' group.


Of course whether you are doing the teaching paid or voluntary it’s entirely reasonable to decide you want to work with one particularly group or type of children and not another. You might want to set 'minimum standards’ in all sorts of ways and not just about 'playing strength' per se.

But these are personal choices and not about what the children are getting out of the lesson. That’s much harder to establish and measure.








All that said, it would be interesting to hear from the OP as to how he got on.

User avatar
Michael Farthing
Posts: 1309
Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2014 1:28 pm
Location: Morecambe, Disunited Kingdom

Re: Tips for coaching children

Postby Michael Farthing » Mon Jun 05, 2017 4:19 pm

Jonathan Bryant wrote:
Michael Farthing wrote:To say someone is a 'better pupil' is not the sme as saying a 'better person'. Someone who wants to learn is quite clearly a 'better pupil' than someone who doesn't.


I fundamentally disagree with the idea that if a child doesn’t 'want to learn' then the fault must lie with them - which is what the labels "better pupil" and "worse pupil" imply.


Fault? What fault? You're putting in the value judgement here, Jonathan. Your interpretation is akin to saying:

"Copper is a better conductor than polystyrene" implies that polystrene is somehow at fault. Clearly the fault could be placed on the copper by doing a comparison of insulation skills.

A child is not "at fault" for not being a better pupil, particularly if he/she has no interest in being a pupil at all and simply wants to play chess. It's a life choice (well, actually a 'now' choice) of the child. .

Jonathan Bryant
Posts: 2947
Joined: Sun May 11, 2008 3:54 pm

Re: Tips for coaching children

Postby Jonathan Bryant » Mon Jun 05, 2017 5:36 pm

Michael Farthing wrote:Fault? What fault? You're putting in the value judgement here, Jonathan. Your interpretation is akin to saying: ....


No I’m not - and no it isn’t. For many reasons, not the least of them being that you don’t have to infer anything about copper when comparing it with polystyrene.

When you decide a child doesn’t want to learn that’s an inference not a fact. It might or might not be a correct inference, but it’s an inference nonetheless.

Children aren’t bits of metal or some other kind of material. They are children. I’m happy to agree to disagree on the question of whether that should make any difference to how we treat them if you wish. Frankly given that you chose to make that comparison, I’m not optimistic we’re going to find common ground.

User avatar
Michael Farthing
Posts: 1309
Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2014 1:28 pm
Location: Morecambe, Disunited Kingdom

Re: Tips for coaching children

Postby Michael Farthing » Mon Jun 05, 2017 5:56 pm

No I don't think there's any chance of us agreeing. However, if you want a people example, then perhaps the grading system implies that because my grade is lower than yours I am at fault? So I assume you are opposed to grading? Indeed, any comparison involving a human being. In fact, the very act of playing a competitive game is pretty suspect..

Jacques Parry
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2014 9:37 pm

Re: Tips for coaching children

Postby Jacques Parry » Sun Jun 11, 2017 9:34 pm

Jonathan Bryant wrote:Whilst I’m here, I’ll add that I also fundamentally disagree with this:-

Jacques Parry wrote:Some of the kids I teach are interested in learning what little I can teach them; some aren't. The former group may not be better pupils than the latter, but what I have to offer is more use to them.


(My emphasis)

The truth is the former group might feel more immediately more rewarding to teach - might actually be more rewarding - but you’ve no way of knowing how much of use it is to them or the other apparently 'not interested' group.


Sorry, but I don't follow this. As far as I know I have nothing to offer them other than my extremely modest knowledge of chess and my willingness to try and communicate what little I know. So, if a child isn't interested in learning more about chess, I do find it hard to imagine what benefit he or she might derive from my being there (as against someone who is willing to supervise but knows nothing about the game). Or, since you refer to the apparently 'not interested' group, do you mean that maybe I can't tell who is interested and who isn't?


Return to “General Chat”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Joey Stewart, Lee Bullock and 2 guests