Saturday, 11 July 2009

Scholastic Chess, Reasoning and Training Executive Function

Scholar's mate - white to move.
[1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nc6 3. Qh5, Nf6]

What is the benefit of having a scholastic chess program in schools?

It seems to me that the beneficial effects of chess may simply be that it provides a positive stimulus to helping the child to learn how to learn. Binet and Simon in 'The development of intelligence in children' (1916), when writing about the definition of intelligence, come to the following conclusion:
... what they should learn first is not the subjects ordinarily taught, however important they may be; they should be given lessons of will, of attention, of discipline; before exercises in grammar, they need to exercised in mental orthopedy; in a word they must learn how to learn.
This conclusion seems just as important now as it was revolutionary back then (1916). The difference now is that we are developing a real understanding about the importance of the critical literacy skill, reasoning. This fundamental cognitive skill helps to integrate the other three R's - reading writing, arithmetic. The executive system is the theorized cognitive system that controls and enables reasoning and the other cognitive processes. Integration of executive function training into school curriculums must be an important priority.

Regarding chess training in schools, it is important that the learning focus should be around reasoning, problem solving, planning, and the application of falsifiability in decision making. Simply learning about openings, tactics training, and simple pattern recognition is unlikely to have any enduring cognitive benefit.

Related Posts:
ALCHEssMIST: Chess Research - Language Impairment and Visual Immediate Memory in Children
ALCHEssMIST: Playing Chess May Benefit Schizophrenia Patients

Posted by ALCHEssMIST .

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