23 March 2014

'Chess in School' : Why?

Why do we teach our children what we teach them? Why do we teach them letters and numbers; reading, writing, and arithmetic; literature, composition, and mathematics? Why do we teach them history and geography? Physics, chemistry, and biology?

We teach them those subjects because we know we should; because they are the building blocks, the essential skills, for other advanced subjects like medicine, finance, engineering, philosophy, commerce, sociology -- in no particular order and leaving out much. No one doubts that all of these subjects have an important place in both our individual existence and our collective existence.

At the end of my previous post on this subject, 'Chess in School' : Robert Ferguson, I noted,

In reviewing this material ['Educational Benefits of Chess'], I have the same sensation of feeling lost that I experienced for the first post in the series, 'Chess in (the) School/Schools'. I'll stop here to give it some time to sink in.

Now I know why I felt lost. I hadn't asked the basic question: Why should we teach our children chess? Why 'chess in school'? Why not 'checkers in school' or 'scrabble in school'? Or poker and backgammon? Why indeed any games at all?

With that in mind, I'm ready to tackle the Ferguson++ material again. I expect him, as well as the other proponents of chess education, to explain why chess belongs in school, competing for the same limited resources that we use to teach our children what we teach them.

2 comments:

Macauley said...

Presumably the answer to this question has to be that chess is, in some way, notably or even uniquely suited as a tool for developing important skills (both analytical and social) in children. I.e. In a way that other games are not.

Mark Weeks said...

See also:-

Interesting opinion on school chess
http://kevinspraggettonchess.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/interesting-opinion-on-school-chess/