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Schools teach chess to help ‘difficult’ pupils concentrate

The Guardian – Rob Walker

“The year 3 pupils at Park End Primary School in Middlesbrough are a bit of a rowdy bunch. Headteacher Julia Rodwell describes them as “a complex and difficult group”. Put them in front of a chess set though, and silence descends. “The first time I saw them playing chess, I was absolutely gobsmacked. Their concentration is incredible – I’ve never seen anything like it in any other lesson,” says Rodwell. Park End is one of 800 primaries to add chess to its curriculum – a threefold increase over two years. A desire to improve maths and problem solving is part of the motivation, but as schools grapple with screen addiction and short attention spans, chess is also seen as a way to encourage “digital detox”. Rodwell has been so impressed that all her staff have now been trained to teach chess.”(more)

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