Traditional teaching is flawed

– Why is it that chess learning, and most learning in general, is seemingly slow and inefficient?

– Why is it that many learners are too soon losing interest in the subject and confidence in their abilities, and quite often they simply give up?

– Is there a way to teach chess a different way for faster progress?

If so, that could mean more people brought to chess and all the benefits it may offer in building up a character, self-confidence and a winning attitude for success in life and business.

Marcel Duchamp, Portrait de joueurs d'echecs. 1911

It appears that the limiting horizon in teaching is the teacher’s mind. Because anything they do with the student is limited by what the teacher is able to grasp or appreciate and encourage. There is no problem with learning as your brain is the most powerful, complex and sophisticated processing system in the known universe. But definitely there is a huge problem with how we teach chess, most notably early in the process.

Can we improve the methods we use to teach chess – so that everyone develops proficiency?

Yes, but how can we get there?

How many intelligences do we have?

The dominating question actually becomes: do we really know how people learn?

For too long we have ignored the basics of how humans are wired and how the brain works. We need to explore these evolutionary traits so we can better leverage the primary human drivers of behavior for greater success in learning.

First we need to know that during its long evolution the human brain has acquired three parts that have developed into what it is today. Of these three parts, the “inferior” one being the most primitive corresponds to a survival (reptilian) brain. There is the intermediary part controlling our emotions. Lastly on top of the two is formed  the rational new brain (neocortex).

The primitive brain is unfairly considered the underdog

Evolution is economical, it didn’t cast off the primitive brain structures. They are necessary as they provide drive for life and survival. These older systems also have profound effects on the way humans learn and the way we behave. Believe it or not, it is the primitive brain being in charge of all the following: sensory input, habit-forming, trust, self-confidence, motivation, ambition, goal setting, will to win, risk taking, intuitive thinking, decision making – all traits you need to be highly successful in life.

When we go to school they only educate our rational brain. We learn about inner workings of a frog and how Bunsen burner works. We haven’t learned much about life and how to make the most of it: how to set goals, manage emotions or how to handle conflict. They don’t tell us about the two other important parts of the mind, the older brain structures, the other subconscious intelligences we posses.

The primitive brain needs to go to school too!

That is where actually lies the answer to our questions from the beginning of the blog. The primitive brain can be the engine driving even our most advanced high-level, intelligent learning abilities. What we need are teaching methods that are more aligned with how our brain is genetically wired, taking into account why we act and behave the way we do.

Next few blogs we are going to take a look at how we acquire new knowledge and how to teach chess with a radically new approach using the old brain technology.

You can never be happy and successful in what you do on only one intelligence!

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