All students benefit by having a mentor, however, this is an unrealistic expectation because there are not enough mentors for all students in a particular school. Therefore, at-risk students are matched with mentors.
These mentors are from different backgrounds and expertises.
These mentors encourage students to work hard in school and build positive relationships. They also model behaviour, guide careers and in general help mentees to better understand life situations.
Chess is a great tool for building positive relationships. Chess is an international language that can produce meaningful interactions. Chess facilitates discussions about life. When playing chess students gain insight into the decision- making process. They experience the positive or negative consequences of their own decisions.
This mentor-mentee relationship has to be developed at the right speed. If you try to ask personal questions too soon before the rapport has been established the mentee may not respond. But if you have developed trust the the personal sharing will come naturally.
Chess pieces are used as metaphors for life situations.
A variety of specific chess positions correlated to social situations will be presented in my presentation called : “Teaching Life Skills Through Chess”.
Conflict resolution/fight It is White’s turn to move. The Black pawn just moved forward. What would you do? If the white pawn moves forward, nobody can stop it. It will be promoted to a Queen and later the black King will be checkmated. But, if white captures black , the other black pawn will capture white and nobody will win. It will be a draw. Advice for Life : When somebody challenges you, bothers you or steps into your space, your first reaction may be to bother or fight them back. Is it the best decision? It might be best to think before you move, focus on your goal and move away from trouble. Fighting does not solve anything, nobody wins
Using Journal writing is a great way to interact with your mentee and develop a personal contact.
Each mentor should decide the frequency of the entries in the journal. For some of the students once a week could be enough, others might like to do more or less entries. For some students, I suggest the use of pictures, drawings, word games along with conventional writing…etc
Here is a list of suggested questions for you to use them with your students
What was the best thing that happened to you today?
What does success mean to you?
What makes you scared?
What do you remember about your first day at school?
What three things make a person popular in your school?
What makes you laugh?
Why do you think some kids/adults dress differently?
What makes you angry?
Where would you go if you could travel anywhere in the world? Why?
What’s a skill you wish you had? Why?
What one thing would you do to make the world more peaceful?
If you could go back in time and live in any era, what would it be? Why?
Do you like being challenged? How?
If you could write a book, what kind of book would it be?
Do you learn more when you win or when you lose?
Dialogue Journals guide open ended discussion about life issues : Make time to Listen/ Take Time to Talk is an interactive conversation starters produced by the US Department of Health and Human services
“…I had the opportunity to observe Fernando Moreno "in action" during a lunch time session of “Chess for Success” for 5th grade Hispanic boys at Forest Knolls. It was exciting to see how Fernando uses the game of chess to build essential skills such as conflict resolution, decision making, and goal setting. Through his energy and enthusiasm, he seamlessly moves between specific instruction in chess concepts and life skills. The students, regardless of their proficiency in English, are engaged in the lessons and eager to respond to his instructions.