Get Strong At Teaching


The "Get Strong at ~" idiom for parody is newer than this page is. The "~" is usually something bad, so it doesn't fit the idiom anyway. This a serious page on the topic of teaching.

There is an attempt at mild humor in discussing How Not To Teach Go. Reverse most of that advice.[1]

  • Start playing immediately. Talk about the history, et c., while playing (if necessary and possible).
  • ariel's idea covers a lot of the ideas that are the opposite of HowNotToTeachGo: Make the student do all the work. This means:
    • Let her discover what works and doesn't, and why. Don't disapprove of all her moves.
    • Let the reason for the strange Ko rule become painfully obvious, by playing a few (illegal) iterations of an infinite sequence. Don't introduce the Ko rule before it comes up in play.
    • Let her discover why life is alive. Don't show all the live and dead shapes.
  • Reuven added inadvertently, Review the games. The major benefit of playing on a 9-line board is that the time between the first stone and the last stone is short enough that the user doesn't forget what happened in-between. If you also review the games, the user can more easily see why a stone here helps a position over there.
  • DrStraw Having spend 30 years teaching people from beginner to mid-level dan I have one rule which I think is more important that all others: "Never try to teach anything beyond the level at which the pupil is capable of comprehending. When teaching I frequently make statements like "always play this move in this position". I know, of course, that "always" is nonsense, but I say it when I know that the level of knowledge is not high enough to be able to understand the exceptions. In time, the pupil will begin to understand for himself when to break the rule. By giving a rule which can always be applied the student learns by himself when it is appropriate to play otherwise. Remember: you never learn from your successess, only your failures."


A bit of discussion on the KGS Teaching Ladder page made me think this page might be a good idea.

Basically this can be a page for giving and getting tips on teaching Go, mainly to those who already know what the game is.

I know for myself, I enjoy teaching, and even feel that both I and the student get a lot out of the games and reviews I give, but I still feel like I'm sorta muddling through. If anyone has any tips, I will definitely appreciate them. And, of course, if anyone has any questions, I'd gladly answer, if I can.


ariel: I have a small, perhaps banal, teaching tip - 'make students do the work' (avoid telling them things). You can do this by asking students questions, e.g. a student has made a "bad" move, (they can often see it when they look at it again), ask them to provide a better move.....

puripuri: I've used the same "Make students do the work" idea, I ask them about an exceptionally good move they made. Like about an important shape point or an effective multi-purpose move. What all did they ponder through before placing the stone? Also in high handicap teaching games, when a local fight or a similar part of the game becomes completed, I never have second thoughts about stopping the game and backtracking dozens of moves to show why the sequence at hand was wrong or how B would have lived. After discussing the situation, game continues from a point where the student still had several choices of how to proceed in the game.

Bill: Martin Buber said that the job of a teacher is to build a bridge to the student. (The student's job, OC, is to cross the bridge.) In one on one teaching, I often ask what the student is or was thinking. Teaching a student to consider how well his stones work together is better than showing him ten joseki.

Hummph, I thought this was a new book in the parody series ;-(

You are thinking of this

[1] I don't think it's that good an idea to let the students do all the work. It sounds like somebody is just too lazy to teach to me! I don't know how other people were introduced and learned the basics but in my case a friend taught me how things should be as the dr said, at my level. And after 10 19x19s with reviews if done correctly probably anybody can reach at least 15k on kgs... Of course that is if they're truely interested in learnning and try to get the most out of there reviews... Reuven

Get Strong At Teaching last edited by tapir on November 3, 2011 - 20:17
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