Basics, fundamentals, and beginner knowledge
Charles Matthews Since we seem to be hitting some predictable difficulties with introductory material, I thought I'd launch a discussion page linked from Teaching Methods. Perhaps the best long-term aim is to have all reputable introductory pedagogic ideas represented.
To illustrate some distinctions: ko. One can look at this in a number of ways.
Basics Prevention of immediate repetition.
This is a long way from its
Implications Too many to get on one page ...
Fundamentals The player with the thicker position can expect to benefit, rather than the player with bad aji.
That is, the use of higher-level concepts to summarise conventional wisdom.
Beginner knowledge We can't quite be sure of the implied level for a beginner (from 40 kyu to about 16 kyu social player). So the implication of talking about beginner knowledge is really an ordering of concepts by 'simplicity', i.e. suitability for introduction on the basis of limited playing experience and study.
For example one can argue that, given the ko threat concept,
'ko threats are often plays you wouldn't normally play, like crazy ideas'
should come before
'ko threats that lose points are to be avoided'.
Identifying concepts that really are simple is a key to go teaching. They are the ones that may genuinely become beginner knowledge.
There is this schematic of weaknesses, from an instructional point of view:
- Basics: can be very distant from their implications.
- Fundamentals: can require a large apparatus of higher-level concepts and supporting debates.
- Simple knowledge: emphasis on implementable ideas and heuristics, low algorithmic and rule-based content and no guarantees about self-consistency.
 That can't be any kind of absolute if there are algorithmic concepts involved, since players of go differ widely in exposure to abstract thinking or computing ideas (for reasons of age, experience with other games, education and profession). One shouldn't limit go teaching in such a way that it assumes the intellectual equipment of an undergraduate in a mathematics-based subject - that's making the entry price too high for the possible public.