When you think about education, the first thing that comes to mind is probably not playing a game. However, some games are designed to increase a child’s learning potential. One such game is the thought-provoking and strategic game of chess.
My 7-year-old have recently started to play chess at school as a part of a new scheme introduced by the European Parliament to make chess a compulsory subject for school children in Spain. So far he is enjoying the ‘new’ game and the school has made it a part of their weekly routine, dedicating about an hour of gameplay within the classroom.
How Does Chess Help Students Learn?
Chess requires a great deal of concentration and strategy. John Hopkins University did a study on the effectiveness of playing this game. According to the study, they have concluded that there is a correlation between learning to play Chess and achieving higher test scores.
Further study shows that between the ages of 8-9 is the best time to introduce Chess to a student’s education plan. It is a strategic game that causes a child’s brain to think through cause and effect.
Chess is a Language of Its Own
One of the best things about this game is that students from all cultures and backgrounds can play the game together. They do not even have to speak the same language in order to play it with one another. In classrooms that are diverse, this is a perfect way to bridge the gaps that are driven by language barriers.
It is a self-directed play that can be experienced between two diverse students. In a sense, it is its own language and allows children to connect to those around them.
How is the Game-Used in the Classroom?
Before students can play against one another, they must be taught the game. During class, a teacher uses curriculum or lesson plans that specifically teach children about the game.
The students are taught about the board and given the proper names for each game piece. They learn the fundamentals of how to move pieces in strategic ways.
Some school curriculum put together lessons that use Chess as a springboard for many subjects. Since a student has learned the game and how to play, it is easily used as a point of reference to understand concepts in other subjects.
Chess in Spanish Schools
The Spanish government has gotten on board and begun to implement Chess into many schools in Spain. Through their concerted efforts, they hope to see the test scores of the overall student body rise. It is also a good way to allow international students to be incorporated into a classroom with ease.
I’m happy that the school my son attends have introduced this method of learning. Like many children his age, my son get easily distracted and he also finds maths quite challenging. By playing chess, I believe that it would be beneficial on his concentration, problem-solving and lateral thinking.
My son is also given homework to learn chess a few nights a week. Not having played chess before, it’s also a learning opportunity for me. As well as using the traditional board and pieces, we have also downloaded a game to practice on my tablet, which I prefer and find easier to follow. :D