Chess in the curriculum? The game that makes you smarter
Tigran Mehrabyan, Associated Press
Birmingham, Alabama, is looking to make chess a fixture in its schools, in hopes that it will allow kids to stretch their minds and improve their analytical abilities.
The plan is to create chess clubs at 15 to 20 schools in the Birmingham school system. The hopes reach beyond math, AL.com notes. "According to Birmingham City Schools officials, the benefit of chess instruction is not limited to math achievement," AL.com noted. "It is also known to increase analytical and problem solving skills, improve memory and has even been shown to increase IQ scores, they said."
But math is a big part of the picture. School officials cite a 1998 study that showed improved math skills after exposure to chess, AL.com reported. "The researchers randomly gave black high school students from the rural South 120 hours of chess instruction. They then administered math proficiency tests and found that students who received the chess instruction scored better than those who did not."
"Chess allows students to think critically, to strategize, to plan moves several steps ahead, and to think about consequences of moves," said Dr. Chad Witherspoon, superintendent of the Birmingham City Schools in a new promotional video. "It gives students an opportunity to think at a different level."
Across the Atlantic a similar chess push is underway, as an ideologically diverse group of political leaders in the United Kingdom is now pushing for chess integration into public schools.
Yasmin Qureshi, a Member of Parliament, argued that all state primary schools should have chess as part of the curriculum and should be made a sport with access to sports funding, according to a report in the Telegraph.
“The skills involved in playing chess are actually skills that a lot of young people can benefit from learning, especially children who have problems with attention and hyperactivity,” Qureshi said.
In 2011 chess became a compulsory feature in public schools in Armenia, a nation obsessed with the game. Armenia invested $1.5 million to create textbooks and curricula, train instructors and buy equipment.
"We hope that the Armenian teaching model might become among the best in the world," Armen Ashotyan told The Associated Press at the time.
"By incorporating chess as part of the curriculum you are including a game, and that's how kids see it," said Wendi Fischer, executive director of the US Foundation for Chess in the same AP report. "They think they're focused on fun. So I think it is a great way to cross over between a true hardcore curriculum that's mandatory and the young children being able to play and explore and have fun."
- 2015 summer festivals and celebrations around...
- Boy Scouts' leader says ban on gay adults not...
- 21 things to look forward to at Disneyland's...
- Utahn Sierra Dawn Thomas reflects on...
- Disney's 'Tomorrowland' is a surprisingly...
- Report: Millennials in Utah mirror dropping...
- 100 deadly days of summer: What you must do...
- Nothing else they would rather do: Couple has...
- Boy Scouts' leader says ban on gay... 163
- Erin Stewart: Why do men want 'strong'... 14
- Clinton says childcare needs to be a... 10
- Arianne Brown: Pretty girls can too... 5
- U.S. marriage rate hits new low and may... 4
- Report: Millennials in Utah mirror... 4
- 100 deadly days of summer: What you... 3
- The most popular boy names from 1960 to... 2