NOTE: In October’s FOCIS newsletter, Nancy Johnson reviewed an article about the Russian schoolteacher Tatiana Ogneva and her unique approach of using fairy tales to introduce chess themes to her students. In this article we hear directly from Ms. Ogneva as she describes her experience as a chess teacher for over 25 years and over ten years as a classroom teacher and school psychologist in a Moscow primary school. When Ms. Ogneva uses the term “technology,” she means teaching methodology.
At the school where I went to work, there were classes of remedial and developmental education (abbreviated as RDE). An indispensable condition for their functioning was the presence of a psychologist. My duties were to teach lessons in these classes, as well as hold consultations and give recommendations.
I learned that one of the main reasons for these children’s low learning ability was related to the omissions in their psycho-motor development during the first year of life. The omission of crawling is especially important. Therefore, as a psychologist, I organized for them training aimed at developing motor skills. It improved the work of the prefrontal frontal zone, which contributed to establishing neural connections. This contributed to better retention of motor programs and the possibility of receiving feedback, which improved self-control. The work was very successful, and later pupils from such classes moved into regular classes, without experiencing serious problems.
The experience of teaching chess as a teacher, additional education teacher and coach, as well as a psychologist, helped me to create a methodology for teaching chess, in which a child occupies the central place. This means that the lesson of chess should be interesting and useful for children. To achieve this, a chess coach should ensure that the lesson material is understandable, gives food for thought and gives children an opportunity to show initiative in gaming activities. If one provides these three components of a successful lesson, the children will look forward to the next lesson.