Using chess in a counseling mentoring morenoPresentation Transcript
Using Chess in a Counseling/Mentoring Approach for Students
Chess in the Schools and Communities International Conference
University of Aberdeen
Kings College Conference Centre
August 30th - September 1st 2007
Fernando Moreno MCPS School Counselor [email_address]
CHESS C hess H elps E very S tudent S ucceed
This presentation describes the value of using chess as a key component during a mentoring/counseling relationship
Adult mentors and Peer High School mentors develop successful relationships with their mentees using the chess game as a metaphor for life situations
This presentation explains how chess is used to address the social emotional needs of students
This approach has been implemented in different public schools in Montgomery County, Maryland, USA
It is currently being implemented at
Broad Acres ES
Peer Mentor/Chess Club
High School students are selected to be Peer Mentor Volunteers. They teach and conduct activities in Elementary School Chess Club.
They earn community services hours required for graduation.
This activity will provide an opportunity to develop language skills, social skills and chess skills.
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 ideal for teaching us that although we may come from various backgrounds, socio-economic statuses and even languages: our minds can work in similar ways when trying to reach a goal.
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.
Many times the mentor must teach the game of chess because the mentee does not know how to play.
This is done one piece at the time with the use of puzzles, games and life discussions with one piece or more pieces.
After the mentee masters all the chess moves and rules, the game is played.
The key component in the mentoring relationship is the use of Dialogue Journals.
Also, along with the writing a chess game is played. We paste a corresponding chess board at the end of the notebook and the mentee and mentor move their chess pieces and write their chess moves.
Correspondence chess game
While they are answering writing questions in the Journal, the mentor and mentee play a game of chess. (correspondence chess).
Mentees are not necessarily always ready to talk about their difficulties, and share feelings. But, when they are playing chess, rapport is established in a non-threatening way.
Once involved in the game, the pieces become ”concrete manipulatives” with which mentees can discuss their problems with their mentors and find alternatives and/or solutions.
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.
Life Skills Trough Chess
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
During the chess game in the Journal
Mentor creates specific chess puzzles and relates them with their life issues.
Teaches specific chess skills, as well as presents interesting history, pictures and articles about chess.
Past student’s journals for display are available for the audience to see.
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 like to play chess because I have to think and it is not boring”
“ I learned that you must think before you move”
“ I want to be successful and it is fun”
“ This is not just a game, it is a learning and thinking game”
“ I like to learn new things”
“ It’s all about making the right move”
Prompt ( Write a paragraph to describe a person who was very helpful to you in elementary school)
“ The very helpful person that I choose is Mr. Moreno our school counselor.
I chose him because when I have a problem he tells me what I should do so I could solve my problem.
Mr. Moreno teaches how to play chess and he compares chess to real life for example how to make good choices”
By Jesus Gutierrez (5 th grade ESOL student).
95% of students liked the program and recommended it.
Teachers agreed that through the game of Chess, their students have increased their social skills.
“…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.