http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 14.26Change: 0.05
R/$ = 11.30Change: -0.03
Au 1209.05 $/ozChange: 0.36
Pt 1272.50 $/ozChange: -29.50
 
 
Note: Search is limited to the most recent 250 articles. Set date range to access earlier articles.
Where? With... When?








Start
 
End
 
 
And must exclude these words...
Close Main Search
Close Main Login
My Profile News Alerts Newsletters Logout Close Main Profile
 
Agriculture   Automotive   Chemicals   Competition Policy   Construction   Defence   Economy   Electricity   Energy   Environment   ICT   Metals   Mining   Science and Technology   Services   Trade   Transport & Logistics   Water  
What's On Press Office Tenders Suppliers Directory Research Jobs Announcements Contact Us
 
 
 
RSS Feed
Article   Comments   Other News   Research   Magazine  
 
 
Nov 09, 2012

Introducing learners to chess at an early age will help boost matric results

Back
Cape Town|Gold|Port|Pretoria|Africa|Components|Education|Industrial|PROJECT|YouTube|Africa|South Africa|Richards Bay|Angie Motshekga|Garry Kasparov|Jacob Zuma|Kgalema Motlanthe|Olga
Gold|Port||Africa|Components|Education|Industrial|PROJECT||Africa|||
cape-town|gold|port|pretoria|africa-company|components|education-company|industrial|project|youtube|africa|south-africa|richards-bay|angie-motshekga|garry-kasparov|jacob-zuma|kgalema-motlanthe|olga
© Reuse this



Newspapers recently announced the start of the annual matric exam trek for thousands of school learners. One could virtually hear the drum roll as the country waits, with bated breath, to see what the results will be. It is not only the matric pass rate that is of interest, but also the subjects that learners take. Maths and science are always the big-ticket subjects.

To drive our industrial economy, the nation needs people who can actually ‘do’ things; we need people who can think, people who can analyse and come to conclusions.

When some company employs an individual, that company will be investing in what that individual will do for the company in the future – it will not simply be buying what the person knows.

A person who is a walking encyclopaedia but cannot put any of that information to good use is not of much use to the company. It is output that makes money. At times, the public asks why the matric pass rate is not higher. Teachers tell me that, frequently, they can see, in the first couple of weeks of the school year, which learners in the class will not pass. It is rather immoral to allow a person to study all year, knowing that he or she is virtually certain to fail. But what can a teacher do? The substandard learners should not have been promoted into matric, in the first place. In fact, in many cases, the learners should not have been promoted from Grade 8 or even from Grade 6. Whose fault this may be is not the issue – the issue is what should be done about this now.

A major problem with many learners, of all social backgrounds, is that they have poor problem-solving abilities. Therefore, when they confront maths or science, it is like a brick wall to them – they do not know where to begin.

Problem-solving training should start at an early age; preschool, in fact. Some children are lucky enough to have parents who have hobbies or interests that address these issues. The children then ‘look and learn’ and so acquire problem-solving skills.

Problem solving is actually a process whereby the brain attempts different solution paths until one is found that fits the conditions presented. I teach MBA part time and, believe me, there are students in a first-year MBA class who battle to problem-solve issues. It has been found internationally that an excellent way of addressing problem solving in children is to teach them to play chess.

Two years ago, a chess trust was established in Pretoria to bring chess to children across the country. The programme is called Moves for Life (MFL), and I am one of the MFL trustees. The project has spread steadily and we are now proud of the fact that 20 000 children attend our weekly chess classes. We have trained over 300 teachers, and now have chess in schools from Richards Bay to Nkandla, Cape Town, Pretoria, Midrand, Hotazel, Balfour and more. This programme comprises components that address the needs of children, covering the entire spectrum from preschool to matric.

Chess is also a registered approved sport in schools, and this gives us easy access to schools across the country. President Jacob Zuma, who is a keen chess player himself, is our patron. We have also received sup- port and encouragement from Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga. Both the President and Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe have asked MFL to roll out our chess programme into all areas where this is possible. International chess star, grandmaster Garry Kasparov, also joined up with us and we brought him to South Africa to see for himself what we are doing. We will be bringing him back again in the near future.

The MFL school programme starts with learners in Grade 1. They really enjoy the game and have great fun – they have no idea that they are also learning the basics of maths and science as they play. It is quite amazing to see the enthusiasm of the Grade 1 learners and, for that matter, even preschoolers at places such as the small Mvelaphanda preschool, in Tembisa, run by the enthusiastic founder, Olga. Our project in this school is featured on YouTube . . . look it up!

Measurements in some of our classes, which have run for a couple of years, have shown a 30% improvement in school performance in children who undergo our chess programme. Chess requires a player to think out a number of potential moves and to think out possible moves that the opponent may make in response, and then to think out ‘plan B’ in the event that ‘plan A’ is blocked by the opponent’s moves. It is these same brain pathways that are used to tackle a maths problem.

Chess is an inexpensive way of tackling the maths and science problem, and also has the advantage of a short implementation time. In essence, the MFL programme is complete in its design and has already been tested for some years on a limited scale. It has produced positive results. Implementation requires enthusiastic and dedicated people, but one should not be so naïve as to assume that it does not need some money too. We are dependent on financial donations to be able to operate in various places and are grateful to our donors, which include BHP Billiton, GE, Great Basin Gold, iwyze, Bright Edge and Spoor & Fisher, besides others.

We are grateful to our sponsors, but we need much more to grow even faster. After all, it is the industrialists and business entities that will be the beneficiaries of improved analytical performance in the workplace.

Chess is easy to learn and play, contrary to some popular belief. Of course, playing to national or international standard is another story, but it is not top-flight players that the MFL initiative is trying to produce – it is the ordinary learner with a brain that needs enhancement. Unless the brains of many thousands of learners are ‘rewired’ at an early age, we are not likely to see any dramatic change in matric results in the foreseeable future.

If we work directly with the fundamental human material, then those brains are likely to be much more absorbent when they come face to face with maths and science in classrooms. Our learners will see a shining light when their brains ‘pattern-match’ chess moves and tactics with those needed for tackling maths and science.

Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu
© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other Dr Kelvin Kemm News
I went to Port Elizabeth for a couple of days. I had received various requests to travel to the coastal city. So, accompanied by my project coordinator, I went.
The obsession that some people have with the renaming of places, streets and institutions is one of the most unreasonable sets of actions to have come out of post-1994 South Africa. Who are the people doing this?  If one has a look, it is only some politicians.
Recently, a number of people around me have been the victims of robberies. These incidents are irritating, not only because of the value of the items stolen, but also because of the amount of subsequent work required to replace them and to mend the damage caused by...
More
 
 
Latest News
Updated 1 hour 2 minutes ago The latest TransUnion Vehicle Pricing Index (VPI) contains a number of small, but significant indications that the tide may at last be turning for the beleaguered used car industry. For the third successive quarter, used car inflation has increased on a year-on-year...
Updated 1 hour 11 minutes ago JSE-listed Redefine Properties on Wednesday announced an equity raising of about R1-billion through the issue of new shares. The equity raise was subject to pricing acceptable to Redefine and would be implemented through an accelerated bookbuild process. Only public...
Updated 1 hour 28 minutes ago The seasonally adjusted Kagiso Purchasing managers’ index (PMI) rose above the neutral 50-point mark in September, signaling growth for the manufacturing sector for the first time since March, revealed Kagiso Tiso Holdings in a statement on Wednesday. BNP Paribas...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Road and Rail 2014 (PDF Report)
This six-page brief covers key developments in the road and rail industries over the past 12 months, including details of South Africa’s road and rail network and prospects for both sectors.
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
Updated 50 minutes ago The latest TransUnion Vehicle Pricing Index (VPI) contains a number of small, but significant indications that the tide may at last be turning for the beleaguered used car industry. For the third successive quarter, used car inflation has increased on a year-on-year...
The South African new vehicle market is likely to reach around 630 000 units in 2014, down from the 650 000 units recorded in 2013, says Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM) president and CEO Dr Johan van Zyl. Van Zyl is also president of the National Association of...
Efforts by the Kenya government to increase energy generation by 5 000 MW over the next three years received a major boost following the award of a $2-billion contract to build a coal power plant in Lamu.  Despite allegations of irregular tendering process, the...
Using crafty wordplay on a well-known Internet meme, brilliant South African-born US entrepreneur and businessperson Elon Musk announced that Tesla Motors would not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wanted to use its technology. Instead,...
August new vehicle sales declined by 1.4%, to 55 722 units, compared with the same month last year. Assisted by the car rental market, the South African new passenger car market, at 37 953 units, contracted by 1 047 units, or 2.7%, compared with August last year.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alert Close
Embed Code Close
content
Research Reports Close
Research Reports are a product of the
Research Channel Africa. Reports can be bought individually or you can gain full access to all reports as part of a Research Channel Africa subscription.
Find Out More Buy Report
 
 
Close
Engineering News
Completely Re-Engineered
Experience it now. Click here
*website to launch in a few weeks