Thursday, February 23, 2017
New study of the benefits of chess in schools published
Ever since I wrote an article for Comment is Free on the movement to encourage chess in schools, I have taken an interest in the idea that doing so benefits children's performance in the conventional curriculum.
Last time I blogged about this, it was to report a study funded by the Education Endowment Foundation. It found that there were no such benefits.
As I wrote then, "I have written too many press releases about scientific papers in my day job to expect any study conclusive."
Sure enough new research has appeared, suggesting there were problems with methodology of that study and suggesting there may be benefits after all. That research is published by Frontiers in Psychology.
So the debate continues.
My own experience is that being good at chess as a teenager (though not half as good as I was in my twenties) did a lot (maybe too much) for my intellectual confidence, particularly when I found I could beat my teachers.
I also realised when I played a friend at draughts that I was winning because I could see further than he could, no doubt because I had developed that faculty playing chess.
And when we played a business game against other schools, I was the one saying we should get over our mistakes in the early rounds and think about the current one. Again, that was something chess had taught me.
But I was not aware of any benefits from chess in studying conventional subjects. But I was strictly on the arts side in the sixth form, so maybe it is different in maths and science.