CHESS DEVELOPMENT IN ABERDEEN'S PRIMARY SCHOOLS: A STUDY OF LITERACY AND SOCIAL CAPITAL
A Scottish Executive Education Department Sponsored Research Project
Dod Forrest: Principal Community Learning and Development Worker, Mastrick Community Centre, Aberdeen and Honorary Research Fellow, Rowan Group, School of Social Sciences, University of Aberdeen.
Dr Iain Davidson: Honorary Research Fellow, School of Education, University of Aberdeen.
Janet Shucksmith: Senior Lecturer, Rowan Group, School of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology, University
Tony Glendinning: Senior Lecturer, Rowan Group, School of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology, University of Aberdeen.
ABERDEEN CITY COUNCIL
UNIVERSITY OF ABERDEEN
SCOTTISH EXECUTIVE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT
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SECTION ONE: INTRODUCTION
Chess Development in Aberdeen's Primary Schools: the background
Northfield Associated Schools Group: poverty and low attainment
Chess: literacy and learning
A Framework for the Study: theories of social capital
Social Justice Research
The Research Questions
Aims of the Study
Study Design and Methodology
Analytic Method: a grounded theory approach
SECTION TWO: POINTS OF DEPARTURE
The introduction of chess to the classroom
The chess coaching style: a form of pupil support?
SECTION THREE: CHILDREN WHO PLAY CHESS
Time for play
Voluntary study: books and software
Feelings: winning and losing
SECTION FOUR: AFTER SCHOOL CLUBS, TOURNAMENTS AND NETWORKS
Chess after school clubs: the structure, organisation and ethos
Chess after school club: the participant perspective
New networks: the growth of achievement
SECTION FIVE: THE QUANTITATIVE ELEMENT OF THE STUDY - MEASUREMENTS OF CHANGE
Measurements of change
The approach to the quantitative analysis
Difference between test scores for all groups: an initial analysis
Provisional conclusions from the initial analysis
Summary of results from the multivariate analysis
SECTION SIX: DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS
Appendix One: multivariate analysis - tables 2(i), 2(ii), 3(i) and 3(ii)
Appendix Two: Case stories 1 - 12
Table 1: Case Study Design
Table 1a Univariate Kurskal-Wallis test - initial analysis, of group differences
Table 2 (i): Means differences on test components among the three study groups
Table 2 (ii) Multivariate analysis of improvement among the three study groups allowing for baseline differences
Table 3(i) Means differences on test components between the two study groups at Mschool school
Table 3(ii) Multivariate analysis of group improvement allowing for Baseline differences for intervention groups at Mschool
Figure 1(i) Change in scores for comprehension, reading, spelling and word recognition among the two Mschool groups
Figure 2(ii) Initial scores at baseline for comprehension, reading, spelling and word recognition among the two Mschool groups
Figure 3(i) Change in scores for arithmetic and social adjustment among the two groups at Mschool
Figure 3(ii) Initial scores at baseline for arithmetic and social adjustment tests among the two Mschool groups
* Due to technical difficulties tables may not display well in html format, and figures and photographs are only available in the pdf format.
This study would not have been possible without the generous assistance and encouragement of a large number of people. We would like to thank them all. In particular we would like to thank the children, parents and staff who took part and who gave us their time to talk to us or to fill in a questionnaire.
We would like to thank the head teachers of Mschool and Donbank primary schools respectively, Catherine Taylor and Margaret Bolton. We would also like to thank the class teachers, Mrs Glendinning, Mrs Inness and Mrs Reid for allowing us the time to speak to the children. Thanks also go to all the other staff at Mschool and Donbank primary schools who assisted in so many different ways throughout the school year.
Many thanks go to the members of the advisory group: Janet Shucksmith, Catherine Taylor, Kate Kasprowisc, Iain Davidson and David Leslie.
Other colleagues provided us with assistance at various stages. In particular we would like to thank Kate Philip, Matt MacGovern, Claire Guest, Elaine Rutherford and Jackie Thain.
Many thanks go to John Stodter and Pete Hamilton and staff at the City Council and the Scottish Executive for their support. The project would not have been possible without the commitment shown locally, and the financial support provided by the Scottish Executive Education Department Sponsored Research Programme and Aberdeen City Council.
CHESS DEVELOPMENT IN ABERDEEN'S PRIMARY SCHOOLS
The report begins by providing a brief account of the background and impetus for the present study of chess development in Aberdeen's primary schools, followed by reviews of the impact of chess play on children's literacy and learning in the school environment and theories of social capital. We describe the findings of the report in sections two through to five. The final section of the report provides a discussion and analysis of the key findings. Appendix 2 provides twelve case stories illustrated by photographic images of children who were introduced to chess during the period of the study.
The study was funded by the Scottish Executive Education Department's Sponsored Research Programme in alliance with Aberdeen City Council. The study provides an in-depth account of the impact of the final year (2003 - 2004) of a three year New Opportunities Fund (NOF) programme of Out of School Hours activities which focused on the development of chess coaching for P4 pupils and chess after school clubs.
Aims of the Study
· To assess the relationship between children's learning in general and chess tuition in particular;
· to assess the relationship between children's reading, other aspects of language and thinking skills and chess tuition;
· to identify the key characteristics of chess teaching in one P4 classroom setting;
· to identify the processes of networking at local, national and international levels in a sample of Aberdeen's primary schools, alongside the introduction of chess tuition;
· to examine the relationship between children's chess tuition in school and parental support for study at home.
A case study methodology was adopted for the study. A variety of methods were used to collect data, including:
· a field diary kept by the principal researcher;
· a written and photographic account of observations of chess coaching in the classroom, after school club sessions and tournament play;
· in-depth interviews and focus group discussion with key staff;
· a questionnaire completed by 18 children;
· in-depth joint interviews with the 18 children in receipt of chess coaching;
· a questionnaire completed by 10 parents of children in receipt of chess coaching
· NOF progress reports;
· administration of Burt's Reading Test; Neale's Analysis of Reading Ability: Schonnel's Spelling Test; Wechsler's Arithmetic Test and Stott's Social Adjustment Scales to 54 children, consisting of an intervention group and two matched controls.
A grounded theory framework for data analysis was adopted for the study. This constant comparative method incorporated the use of case stories and photographic imagery throughout this case study and was modelled on the practice developed by Labonte and Feather (1996) in their use of stories in health promotion practice.
The Key Findings
· It is evident that the introduction of chess to the school environment did influence family life and that children were instrumental in making this link. It was clear almost from the outset of the study that some children were members of chess - playing families and that in-school chess coaching generated chess-playing families.
· Chess coaching of the eighteen children generated involvement in chess play at numerous levels. All of the children introduced chess-play to their households, more than one third of the children to a substantial extent, thus involving parents and grand parents in activities of a cultural, bonding and bridging nature.
· The chess after school club presented the first formal opportunity for involvement at a level beyond play at home and in the classroom. This setting became a starting point for a range of networking opportunities that ranged from tournament play in Aberdeen, the rest of Scotland and abroad.
· At the end of the school year the quantitative analysis of pre-test and post-test results on intervention and control samples showed that the most statistically significant difference that chess made to classroom life was in terms of the nature of social adjustment, particularly for those pupils identified by the class teacher at the outset as exhibiting poor behaviour. The patterning among the scores on the various pre-chess and post-chess tests point to positive changes occurring on comprehension and arithmetic skills in the chess coaching group.
· The 'informal coaching relationship' was a relationship that bridged classroom and family life. This informal coaching relationship, perhaps one more akin to an informal mentoring role, became a feature of the classroom life, family circumstances and community development.
· The qualitative study uncovered aspects of family life that involved substantial periods of voluntary study associated with chess play.
· At an emotional level the opportunity to express feelings in a co-operative and structured environment where a personal code of conduct was central to the chess proceedings, benefited those children who were either experiencing learning difficulties or mood swings, or both.
· At a more cognitive level the study sign-posted elements of learning that suggested that chess does assist the learning of how to learn and creates a desire to learn, alongside increased motivation and the 'will to use knowledge'.
· The chess-playing family became an educational resource. Children gained access to a chess set, PC and chess software, books and library membership.
· The development of intergenerational chess play between parent and child and grandparent and child generated a new period of quality time at home for adult-child relations.
· Chess playing families encouraged support for 'out of school hours' participation, in the form of chess club attendance, tournament involvement and travel.
· Children who played chess developed self-regulated learning through voluntary study and chess play practice with regard to problem solving.
· The chess coaching relationship encouraged families to gain access to new networking opportunities through community involvement.
It was the chess coaching input - a social relationship forged with teachers, parents and pupils - that acted as a catalyst for educational development. This new form of social capital became the source of improved attainment. Chess-play and the teaching of chess became inseparable in this social relationship that negated low expectations and difficult behaviour.
Chess, like all educational initiatives, cannot be a substitute for social policy measures that tackle the material poverty of low income and a long working day for many parents - it can however contribute to children's personal growth and resilience in circumstances of poverty. If a primary source of social capital is the 'keeping of privilege' by the rich and powerful by means of extended family resources and the purchase of educational opportunity - then chess-play, as a form of cultural capital, can redress some of these imbalances of educational opportunity.
The introduction of chess coaching to the primary school curriculum will have major implications for the teaching profession, continuous professional development initiatives, pupil support, parental involvement and the role of the classroom assistant. Substantial funding for chess development in Scotland's primary schools could improve literacy, numeracy and the confidence of pupils who require learning support. At one and the same time this initiative will develop a facility for life long learning - 'a gift for life' - as one father described his son's learning of the game of chess. We advocate an innovative and creative contribution to Scotland's Curriculum for Excellence - a new specialist - the visiting chess coach.
Chess Development in Aberdeen's Primary Schools A Case Study
This research study was funded by the Scottish Executive Education Department's Sponsored Research Programme and supported by Aberdeen City Council. It is a study of the micro processes of children's learning and the development of a community of interest that now involves hundreds of primary school pupils and their families and dozens of teachers in ten primary schools in the North area of the city of Aberdeen. It is the story of the teaching of the game of chess in one P4 classroom and the growth of a new network of social relationships that has been inspired by an interest in the game.
The case study methodology involved a multiple method approach to the gathering of data. One commentator (Yin, 1989) summarises the case study in these terms:
The case study is an empirical enquiry that: investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real life context; when - the boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clearly evident; and in which - multiple sources of evidence are used (p23).
The focus of the study was the introduction of the learning of the game of chess to one P4 class in one primary school in one neighbourhood of Aberdeen North. A longitudinal element to the study was included in that we documented the process of teaching and learning of chess by a class of 18 pupils during the whole school year 2003-2004. We aimed to discover whether the growth of interest and involvement in chess play at all levels would increase social capital in the family, school and community.
The following section of this report traces the growth of chess play in Aberdeen's primary schools from 2001 to date. This is a brief history of the New Opportunities Fund Chess Development Programme. This section provides the backcloth to the research study which focussed on the 2003-2004 school year of the three year NOF programme. This is followed by a review of the literature that influenced the design of the case study. The findings of the study are documented in sections two through to five. A final section concludes the report with a discussion and analysis of the key findings.
The relationship between chess play, literacy and social capital was identified as a particular focus for the study. It was hypothesised that social capital is generated by a process both of learning the rudiments of the game of chess and playing the game in a multiplicity of settings. The study was thus set within a framework of social capital theorising. A further section of the report traces the main lines of argument adopted by three prominent contributors to social capital theory building: Bourdieu (1984, 1986, 1993; 1997/1986); Coleman (1988a, 1988b, 1990); and Putnam (1993, 1995, 2000). Literature that influenced perspectives on researching children contributed a further piece of the backcloth to the research design and case study methodology.
The case study became a means of tracing a process of individual learning and community development amongst the families of 18 children in one of the poorest areas of Aberdeen. The choice of a case study methodology brought to the fore the core of issues that surround all research initiatives. How can we understand the meanings that people, especially children, give to events? Can the researcher ever provide a true interpretation? What is the relationship between the measurement of pre-defined variables and the discovery of new variables?
Chess Development in Aberdeen's Primary Schools: the background
Very few primary schools in Aberdeen currently promote chess, and historically it is Aberdeen's fee-paying schools and the more middle class neighbourhoods in central Aberdeen that have benefited from the interest and initiative of particular teachers and parents. There is one exception to this trend and this is found in the Aberdeen North area of the city. The predominantly working class, post - war peripheral housing estates of Northfield, Mschool, Cummings Park, Smithfield and Mastrick have benefited from a programme of chess development unique to Scotland. The funding for this initiative was the New Opportunities Fund (NOF), now the Big Lottery,  Out of School Hours Learning Activities Programme. It came in the form of an award of a three - year grant to the Community Learning and Development section of the Learning and Leisure department to develop chess after school clubs in Aberdeen North primary schools, in particular those schools in the Northfield Associated Schools Group
In August 1st 2001, Aberdeen City Council's first Chess Development Officer was appointed. He was based at Mastrick Community Centre, a free standing neighbourhood community centre located in one of Aberdeen's post-war peripheral housing estates. The following were the initial aims of the Chess Development Project :
· establish after school chess clubs;
· develop teaching materials to encourage parents to become chess coaches;
· organise family chess evenings;
· organise tournaments and one to one coaching sessions;
· involve parents in the classroom, developing one to one chess for children with learning difficulties and behavioural problems;
· develop a mentoring scheme.
The NOF Chess Development Project worked with Head Teachers through a network of Associated Schools Groups. The NOF project evolved from two former children's chess clubs based at Mastrick Community Centre and Quarryhill Primary School. These one session a week clubs operated for more than a decade and relied almost totally on volunteer and part-time worker support.
In the first year of the programme, 2001-2002, chess development work was initiated in 7 primary schools in the Northfield ASG: Muirfield, Westerton, Quarryhill, Holy Family, Bramble Brae, Mschool and Smithfield. In each of these schools the Chess Development Worker introduced in-class chess teaching once a week to a P4 class for 1 term. This introductory phase of teaching became the basis for the development of an after school chess club in each of the schools. Such was the scale of development during year 1 that supplementary funding was secured during years 2 and 3 to appoint 6 Chess Development Assistants. In the second and third years of the project the additional resources allowed the development of work in three further schools i.e. Kittybrewster, Donbank and Sunnybank.
The Northfield Associated Schools Group: poverty and low attainment
The neighbourhoods of Mastrick, Northfield, Cummings Park, Heatheryfold, Mschool and Smithfield form the catchment for Northfield Academy. There are a higher number of children in households receiving income support in these neighbourhoods than the city average. The percentage of children with special needs is also considerably higher than the city average, as is the uptake of clothing grants and free school meals. Northfield Academy has the highest percentage of clothing grant entitlement of any secondary school in the city. In the year 2002-03 this stood at 248 pupils out of a roll of 1,035 i.e. 24%. Within the neighbourhood of Mschool, the focus for the study, there was a 37% entitlement to clothing grant.
A snap shot of school life for secondary pupils is provided by the high incidence of non-attendance at school. The number of days of temporary exclusion per 1,000 pupils for Northfield Academy in year 2002-03 being 504.3 - the highest total of all schools in the city and double the city average of 251.1. There is a low level of participation in further and higher education and high levels of unemployment amongst school leavers.
In the school year 2002-03 the levels of attainment in the 5 to 14 curriculum in reading, writing and maths in Northfield Academy were significantly below the city average.  In reading just 26% of S2 pupils reached or exceeded the appropriate level for their stage compared to 59% of pupils in the city as a whole. For writing, the figure was just 18% compared to 47% in the city and for maths it was 30% compared to 50% city - wide.
Attainment in SQA examinations was also a lot lower than the city average. The percentage of S4 roll achieving 5 or more Standard grades at level 5 or better by the end of S6 at Northfield Academy 2003 was 15% compared to a city average of 45%. A starker comparison showed Cults Academy, the school in the wealthiest area of the city with a figure of 77% by the end of S6. Similar comparisons for 2003 show the percentage of S4 roll achieving 3 or more, Higher grades at A-C by the end of S6 at Northfield Academy as 8% compared to the city average of 32% and Cults Academy at 64%.
Thus in the context of secondary school attainment the primary school children who were to benefit from the introduction of chess into their classroom and after school clubs were living with anticipated low achievement in future years.
Chess: literacy and learning.
Both the NOF Chess Development Project and this research study have been influenced by literature associated with chess, literacy and how children think and learn. Wood's (2000) panoramic view of the history of child development theories was particularly influential. Nisbet's (1990) review of teaching methods designed to
encourage thinking skills was also informative. Nisbet focused on self-regulation, echoing the work of Vygotsky (1962) that 'self-regulation is discovered and perfected in the course of social and instructional interactions'. Brown and Ferrara's study (1985) which investigated children's self-regulation in problem solving seemed particularly useful. They identified some key strategies for children's self-regulated learning:
· Asking themselves questions
· Reminding oneself
· Looking for new evidence
· Trying to view the problem from a different angle
A recent review and up-date by Wilson (2000) of learning strategies that involve 'learning how to learn' provided a further analysis of how children can be taught to think more effectively.
In terms of chess play in the school setting, there is now a growing recognition that the introduction of chess into the primary school curriculum can have a substantial impact on children's reading and maths ability (Christiaen and Verhofstadt 1981; Margulies 1995a, 1995b, 1996). The Chess Development Project was modelled on a successful North American initiative - the city of New York's Chess-in-the-Schools programme. This initiative was funded in the mid -1980s, and in the present school year more than 36,000 children in 160 schools will be participating in the project.
In 1994 Chess-in-the-Schools commissioned research which investigated the impact of chess on reading ability, focusing on schools in one of the poorest areas of New York. This study was conducted with students in New York City Community School District 9, the South Bronx (Margulies, 1995a). Children in the Chess - in - the Schools programme showed an average year - to - year gain of 5.37 percentile points in reading against the national average. Non - chess - playing control groups showed no gain. Community School District 9 is one of New York's poorest areas, and historically scored the lowest in reading and maths of all the city's districts. The findings showed that there was a particular benefit to those children who started with 'low or average initial scores' ( http://www.chessintheschools.org/reserch.html). Margulies (op cit) explained the results in these terms:
The cognitive processes used in chess and reading are very similar. Both chess and reading involve processes of decoding, thinking, comprehending and analysing - all higher order skills. Chess and reading are decision-making activities and some transfer of training from one to the other may be expected. (wwwchessintheschools.org)
One more recent study investigated the effects of 120 hours of chess instruction on the mathematics achievement of students in southern, rural black secondary school in America. Analysis of covariance results showed the experimental group of chess players (11 females and 9 males) scored significantly higher than the control group (10 females and 10 males) in mathematics achievement. (Smith et al, 2000). These findings may have particular significance for the Aberdeen and Scottish social policy setting when key findings within the literature (Fraser, 1997), and in particular the research conducted by Croxford (1999), show that:
pupils whose own home backgrounds were relatively poor started Primary 1 with lower attainment, and did not make as much progress in reading as their peers (p 2).
A further study which has emanated from the New York Chess in the Schools setting (Speeth. and Margulies, 1999) investigated the impact of chess playing on personal behaviour generally and attitude formation in particular. The authors suggest that this empirical study confirms the anecdotal evidence present in many Chess in the Schools programmes, that chess develops emotional intelligence through confidence building, generating the will to succeed, building self esteem and respect for others and ensuring sustained efforts to solve difficult problems. They concluded:
Chess students must learn how to keep calm under pressure. The best strategy is to keep on trying even if the position looks bad. Chess players feel they can win if they work at it. They build confidence about their ability to tackle obstacles and succeed. (Speeth and Margulies, 1999: 1).
One speculative insight into the personal development of children's learning within the cognitive process is the seminal work of Nisbet and Shucksmith (1986) and Nisbet (1990) on metacognition and learning strategies. These authors mapped a detailed exploration of how children can 'learn how to learn' in general. Nisbet and Shucksmith summed up the key issue for them in the following terms:
The traditional curriculum concentrates on 'useful knowledge' and 'basic skills' of reading and writing, mathematics, practical subjects, science, environmental studies, creative arts and specialist studies. Unfortunately more general strategies for learning such as solving problems, using memory effectively and selecting appropriate methods of working, are often neglected (p vii).
These are the issues that go to the heart of the teaching and learning debate. In a contemporary review of the literature, Wilson (2000) addresses the issue of whether thinking skills can be taught. She identifies a substantial list of innovative programmes that teachers use that have been designed to teach thinking skills.  She also makes the important point that thinking skills are embedded in the existing curriculum. However it is the rejection of the notion of 'one measurable form of intelligence' that underpins her critique.
A Framework for the Study: theories of social capital
The notion of social capital is now a mainstream idea, familiar to most practitioners and policy makers. It is a concept that has evolved from the theorising of many forms of capital that operate in the human and cultural spheres of the capitalist economy.
Human capital, the investment in skills and knowledge in formal education, has long been recognised as a pre-requisite for the productive use of physical capital and financial investment.
It is generally recognised that social capital has become a key concept underpinning much government policy in Scotland, especially in the field of Community Learning and Development. The emergence of the concept of social capital as a central idea underpinning social policy has had a long gestation period. The contemporary burgeoning of theoretical critique and empirical evidence gathering has spawned a vast literature.
Portes (1998) points out that '…the first contemporary analysis of social capital was produced by Bourdieu, who defined the concept as:
The aggregate of the actual or potential resources which are linked to possession of a durable network of more or less institutionalised relationships of mutual acquaintance or recognition (Bourdieu, 1985:248, cited in Portes op cit).
The work of Bourdieu (1984, 1986, 1993; 1997/1986); Coleman (1988a, 1988b, 1990); and Putnam (1993, 1995, 2000) contains the main lines of theorising that have begun to define the concept. Arguably, social capital is an 'essentially contested concept' - a concept that is ambiguous, dialectical, polarised and paradoxical as defined by Gallie (1955/56). The meaning of social capital is thus subject to a continual struggle for ascendancy. On the one hand, Coleman's model of social consensus and control and on the other, Bourdieu's class-based power conflicts. The location of social capital, and thus the theorising with regard to both the loss and gain of social capital in contemporary society is central to any analysis of the relationship between family, school and community (Edwards et al, 2003).
The notions of networking (Hall and Wellman, 1984) and cultural capital (Bourdieu, 1977) are both central to the concept of social capital and thus to this investigation. As Portes (ibid) explains:
'… the most common function attributed to social capital is as a source of network-mediated benefits beyond the immediate family. This definition comes closest to that of Bourdieu, for whom parental support of children's development is a source of cultural capital, while social capital refers to assets gained through membership in networks (p12).
Bourdieu (1997:48) defines cultural capital as:
Ways of thinking and being as well as cultural goods that are transmitted domestically: the scholastic yield from educational action depends on the cultural capital previously invested by the family. (cited, Edwards et al, 2003:6)
Turning in more detail to the works of James Coleman, we find that he is an exponent of rational choice theory. The focus of his work has been on studies of adolescence and schooling. His empirical work on social capital was based on a series of longitudinal studies of students in State and Catholic school settings. He found markedly higher levels of attainment in most subjects amongst pupils at the Catholic schools - but there were higher expectations from the teachers. This was particularly beneficial to those least advantaged pupils. Coleman's theorising of social capital provided a 'post hoc' explanation for these findings.
Social capital, Coleman argued, constituted useful capital resources for actors through processes such as establishing obligations, expectations and trustworthiness, creating channels for information and setting norms backed by efficient sanctions. Seaman and Sweeting (2004) point out that 'among the circumstances that Coleman believes best facilitate the accumulation of social capital, key is his notion of 'intergenerational closure'. They go on to suggest that this corresponds to Bott's (1957) identification of the importance of connectedness and the recognition that densely or highly connected networks,  are in a better position to develop standards and exercise control over individuals.' (p 176).
The opportunity for families to meet together and discuss their children's activities also reinforces this process of closure, whereby strict norms and patterns of behaviour are agreed and sanctions for unruly behaviour are accepted. Seaman and Sweeting confirm that a significant proportion of research into social capital and young people's outcomes takes an educational focus. They conclude that ' household structure and parental work patterns are associated with many other aspects of family life, and by themselves may be crude indicators of social capital. (p177)
The following are the key elements identified by Coleman:
· The general level of trustworthiness that leads obligation to be repaid
· The actual needs that persons have for help
· The existence of other sources of aid
· The degree of affluence
· Cultural differences in the tendency to lend aid and ask for aid
· The degree of closure of social networks
· The logistics of social contracts
(In Coleman, 1994: 306 cited in Schuller p7).
Coleman saw the creation of social capital as a largely unintentional process, which he defined mainly in functional terms in that it arises as a consequence of 'activities intended for other purposes' where there is 'often little or no direct investment in social capital' (1994: 312 cited p7).
This functionalist perspective categorises primordial forms of social organisation like the family and constructed forms of social organisation, for example, the school. The decline of social capital thus could be focussed on family or school - he chose to focus on the family. As previously noted this is in contrast to Bourdieu who used the idea of social capital to illuminate the 'keeping of privilege'. Thus Coleman extended the scope of the concept to encompass the social relationships of non-elite groups.
Thus two dominant concerns underpin the theorising of social capital. Coleman is concerned to identify the degeneration and loss of social capital in contemporary society whereas Bourdieu focuses on the continual transmission and accumulation of social capital by the rich and powerful that perpetuates this structural inequality within capitalist society. These perspectives are essentially contested. Look through the Coleman lens and you will find an inspection of family life, especially parenting and the loss of social capital placed at the door of the dysfunctional family. Look through the lens of Bourdieu and you will find the affluent family buying their sons' and daughters' education thus providing useful social contacts and perpetuating privilege. For Bourdieu, all forms of capital are expressions of power and this social power in the form of social capital has its roots in economic capital. As Edwards et al (2003), point out in a summarising of the Bourdieu position:
While social capital may be ubiquitous, it manifests itself in class-specific forms and, along with other capitals, works to reproduce class relations. (p6).
One of the most prominent of publications, Putnam's Bowling Alone (2000) identified an American social activity, bowling, which was once very sociable and has since declined. In an analysis of community association he defined everything from neighbourliness (invitations for coffee) to active political participation as measures of levels of social capital. He claimed to observe a decline in levels of social capital within North American society, identifying increased TV viewing as the main source of a decline in sociability and networks.
His definition of social capital highlighted features of social life, such as networks, norms and trust. It is his thesis that it is the combination of these factors that enable participants to act together more effectively to pursue shared objectives (1996:5). Putnam categorised two forms of social capital, 'bridging' and 'bonding'.
Bridging social capital he defined as 'the building of connections between heterogeneous groups'. He highlights self-sustaining voluntary associations as creating and sustaining the 'bridging' social capital that enables people to 'get ahead'. It is these reciprocal connections between people from different walks of life that form the substance of increased social capital. (cited Edwards, 2003:7)This form of social capital he argued was more fragile but inclusive. On the other hand, bonding social capital generated links between like-minded people, creating the reinforcement of homogeneity. This form of social capital is generated by 'people like us' enabling people to 'get by'. This is defined as 'private regarding' in contrast to the 'public regarding' of bridging capital.
Bonding social capital has some drawbacks, however, in that strong ties can lead to elitism and exclusion. Putnam also identifies networks as a form of social capital and his latest studies shift the emphasis from 'trust' to 'reciprocity'. He argues that trustworthiness and networking in particular, facilitate social life. He theorises that it is this process that promotes social interactions that reinforce norms of generalised reciprocity. To summarise these three contributors to the theorising of the growth and decline of social capital, it is clear that Coleman and Bourdieu both place family life as central to the concept of social capital whereas the theorising of Putnam de-centres the family. As Edwards et al (ibid) explain, Putnam '… is concerned with social capital as a structural feature of large aggregates - communities, regions and nations - rather than individuals and families' (p7). However Putnam shares the Coleman concern of a decline in social capital and there is a congruence of definition in that he views networks, norms and trust that facilitate action and co-operation for mutual benefit.
This study focuses on chess play and it's impact on children's attainment, behaviour in the classroom and at home alongside the growth of association. We draw on the ideas of both bridging, bonding and cultural forms of social capital. The growth of children's chess clubs may identify new indicators of cultural capital and developing chess networks may have elements of bridging and bonding social capital that enable children from the poorest areas of Aberdeen to prosper in social terms. This study investigates the lives of children, a neglected area of social capital theorising. Morrow (1999:744) points out that:
…the ways that children socialise on friendship networks and participate in local schemes and activities, generate their own connections and indeed make links for their parents. (cited, Edwards, 2003:12)
Social Justice Research
Previous Sponsored Research studies have been reported on by the current author, in alliance with members of the University of Aberdeen's Rowan Group, based in the Sociology Department.  On each occasion Mastrick Community Centre has acted as the fieldwork location. The first study comprised an evaluation of the effectiveness of Aberdeen's youth work service (Forrest, Wood and Glendinning, 2000); the second provided a study of citizenship in Aberdeen's schools and communities (Forrest, Glendinning and Wood, 2003). The present study thus builds on previous experience of multiple method evaluation techniques and case study research. Values of social justice have been central to these studies of educational practice.
Weiner (1990) suggests that social justice research can be developed if the following applies:
· The programme being evaluated is grounded in values of equality and equity.
· The evaluation is informed by assumptions that recognise inequalities and injustices in the wider society in terms of race, gender, income, sexuality.
· The methods adopted to gather data address the issues of power and empowerment in the context of the programme.
· The evaluator has a commitment to the programme and to its improvement.
Much existing research around the lives of young people generally has paid scant attention to the views of children and as Mayall (1994) points out:
Children on their own do not speak for themselves. They are spoken for by adults. And it is adults who have constructed the understandings about what children are which serve as the basis for the lives children lead. (p2)
Seeking the authentic views of primary school children is thus a problematic and delicate exercise. Thus there were important issues around informed consent and ethics generally to be addressed in the operation of the study. One influential source of awareness of some of these consent issues and ethical concerns was gleaned from Christensen and James (2000) who suggest that children are competent actors whose perspective can inform research.
These authors offered useful methodological insights into researching childhood diversity and commonality. They advocate the use of methodological tools first adopted in rapid appraisal and action research projects in the Third World, where literacy is a central issue with regard to impaired communication. The authors advocate using tools that are culturally specific and familiar to the lives of those who become subject to the study. They describe these tools as acting as mediators in the communication between researchers and children.
An influence on the choice of such tools as data gathering methods was introduced by McPake et al's (1999) study of teachers' and pupils' days in the primary classroom. Although reliant on structured observation schedules to a large extent they also provided insights into the use of digital camera in the classroom setting as a device for focussing discussion on particular episodes and events.
Gathering data from children can be problematic. The imbalance of power between the adult interviewer and the young interviewee often copies the usual social relationships between adults and young people. Farquhar (1990) argues the following:
Children will already have direct experience of unequal power relationships with a variety of adults. They will have learnt, through experience, both the explicit and implicit rules which govern adult-child relationships in schools, particularly teacher-child relationships, and will bring this knowledge and experience to bear on their relationships with unfamiliar adults who enter this context (p23).
Backett & Alexander (1991) pursue this theme when they focus on the difference between 'public' and 'private' accounts. Research techniques can encourage young people to reproduce the messages that they have absorbed from teachers, from television and other media sources, but do not reveal the 'private' logic and reasoning which guides young people's beliefs, values and actions. These were all issues and problems that influenced the choice of data gathering methods and the design of the study.
The Research Questions
Three overarching questions informed the aims of this study:
· Does playing chess enhance the learning strategies of children in general and improve children's literacy in a school environment in particular where 'learning how to learn' through chess playing is central to chess tuition?
· Does the provision of chess tuition assist in the development of social networks within and between schools, thus building community capacity in the form of social capital amongst primary school children and their parents?
· What are the factors that both develop and inhibit parental involvement in chess-related school activities and chess - playing at home?
Aims of the Study
· To assess the relationship between children's learning in general and chess tuition in particular.
· To assess the relationship between children's reading, other aspects of language and thinking skills and chess tuition.
· To identify the key characteristics of chess teaching in one P4 classroom setting
· To identify the processes of networking at local, national and international levels in a sample of Aberdeen's primary schools, alongside the introduction of chess tuition.
· To examine the relationship between children's chess tuition in school and parental support for study at home.
Study Design and Methodology
The impact of a particular educational programme on the lives of children cannot be understood in isolation. The ethos of the school; the history of the neighbourhood; the families of the children; the beliefs and values of all involved in the project; the wider society - these are social relationships that are always in a process of change. Although snap shots and pre/post studies can shed some light, like all research investigations - they are limited. One commentator on the 'before and after' experimental model for evaluation has suggested that it is rather like a critic who reviews a theatre production on the basis of the script and applause meter readings, having missed the performance (Watts, 1990 p23).
It was for this reason that a case study research design was chosen. This ensured that both objective measurement of change and subjective interpretation of meaning could be combined in a rigorous experiment and in-depth ethnographic study. In this design the 'critic as researcher' could 'review the theatre production of chess teaching and learning in one p4 class setting' on the basis of the 'script and applause meter readings' but witness the performance as well.
A number of factors influenced the choice of Mschool primary school as the location from which both an ethnographic and experimental study would be conducted. The latter design required at least 2 P4 classes in the same school, thus controlling for major influences on attainment such as school ethos and neighbourhood environment. In Mschool both P4 teachers were female and of a comparable age. Class sizes were almost identical, as were gender ratios. The experimental class had a 14:4 male-female ratio and the control class, 14:5 male-female ratio. The head teacher was an enthusiastic supporter of chess development in the school. The school also had a thriving chess after school club supported by teacher volunteers.
The informed consent of children to participate in the research project was negotiated with the head teacher in the first instance. It was agreed that the head teacher would communicate with parents in the form of a short explanatory note. The issue of photography had already been the subject of a parental consultation exercise, undertaken by the head teacher. This did not prove to be contentious issue as no parents had opted to refuse permission for photographs to be taken in the school setting. The seeking of consent did not involve children in any decision-making, arguably a weakness in this phase of the project. There was however a preliminary explanation made by the principal research worker with regard to the observation role, photography and the tests that would be administered (Appendix 1:Case Story 3).
This case study was an attempt to include the unfolding drama in the form of a series of narratives. The initial script was available in the form of the Out of School Hours Chess Development Learning Activities three - year plan constructed in 2001. An in - depth qualitative account of this project over the period 2003-2004 from the perspective of children, parents and staff formed the basis of an illumination of the 'performance' of all these key contributors in this one year of the overall three years of NOF funding for the project. The additional experimental design was embedded in the case study, generating a quantitative case story within a qualitative study, as illustrated in the diagram below:
Table 1: Case Study Design
18 P4 pupils
18 P4 pupils
18 P4 pupils
No chess/computer games
Chess club promotion
No chess club promotion
No chess club promotion
A pre-test/post-test quasi-experimental design sought to measure the relationship between the introduction of chess tuition and word identification, reading, comprehension, spelling, arithmetic and behavioural adjustment in one P4 classroom. This experimental class was compared with two other non-chess control P4 classes. One of these control classes also doubled as an experimental class for a different innovation to chess but still game oriented and PC based. It was hypothesised that chess makes a difference by improving the word recognition, reading, comprehension, spelling, maths and behaviour of all pupils in the class.
Thus three P4 classes in 2 primary schools formed the basis for the pre-test/post-test design. One Mschool class had 18 pupils coached to play chess for 3 terms during 2003 - 2004. A second Mschool class had 18 pupils and received no chess coaching but was given additional computer assisted games with approximately the same regularity as the chess coaching in the same period. The third P4 class at Donbank, also a school in an area of poverty and low expectations, had 18 pupils who received no extra coaching with regard to chess or extra computer assisted learning in the same period of time.
The case study was thus multi - layered. The data was triangulated from multiple sources as detailed below:
· A field diary kept by the principal researcher during the 2003 autumn term;
· A written and photographic account of eight observations of chess coaching sessions in one p4 class; one after school club session; one inter-school tournament and one city-wide tournament during the 2003 autumn term;
· An in-depth interview with the Chess Development Worker in the 2004 spring term;
· A focus group discussion with 6 Chess Development Assistants in the 2004 spring term;
· A questionnaire 'Twenty Questions About Chess' completed by 18 children in 2004 spring term;
· In-depth joint interviews  with the 18 children in receipt of chess coaching throughout the school year 2003-04, conducted during the 2004 summer term;
· An in-depth interview with the Behaviour Support Teacher during 2004 summer term;
· A questionnaire completed by 10 parents of children in chess coaching class during 2004 summer term
· An in-depth interview of one parent during 2004 summer term;
· Chess Development Worker progress reports;
· Test measures for reading accuracy and comprehension, spelling, arithmetic and social adjustment
The Analytic Method: a grounded theory approach
A grounded theory (Glaser and Strauss, 1967) framework for qualitative data analysis was adopted for the study. This constant comparative method meant data were named and categorised through a process of open coding. This method of coding facilitated the creation of concepts constructed in the language of the children. These 'in vivo' categories were then analysed in terms of their properties and dimensions.
The use of case stories and photographic imagery throughout this case study is modelled on the practice developed by Labonte and Feather (1996) in their use of stories in health promotion practice. The following perspective outlines this method:
Case stories are also sometimes called narratives. We try to understand our world better by writing it, or by drawing it, or simply by speaking it. Once it is external to us we can look at it "as a whole" for important insights that might guide us in making decisions. When we analyse insights from different experiences or case stories around the same issue, we are better able to make connections between the experiences and to develop guidelines for the future. In other words we synthesise lessons to develop practice generalisations. (p 53)
Thus in this case study the insights drawn from a series of case stories are given conceptual labels and these concepts are then classified into categories. A process of open coding using Nvivo software was the means whereby the case stories were broken down, examined and compared. In this constant comparative method the analysis of data shifted between inductive and deductive thinking. Inductive thinking assisted the generation of concepts and categories from the data and deductive thinking hypothesised relationships between concepts and categories within the empirical data and framework of social capital theory.
Thus this case study is best described as working towards a second level synthesis based on the analysis of a series of case stories.  This is a preliminary analysis. The case stories included in this study are still open to further categorisation and more in - depth analysis and interpretation.
POINTS OF DEPARTURE
The introduction of chess to the classroom situation.
It was evident from day one that my researcher role was complex. I was part participant and part observer; part colleague and part evaluator. These conflicts generated their own unique tensions. A reactivity surrounded my relationship with Mr Leslie  and the Mschool primary school teaching staff.
My entry to the school is governed by a new relationship with pupils, teachers and Mr Leslie. I make a mental note to jot down the conversation he is having with a teacher in the corridor. I glean that this teacher is now a volunteer coach in the after school chess club. I have a tape recorder in my bag and a digital camera in my pocket. In the staff room setting the casual comments assume some significance. I feel like a spy when on our way to meet the class of children who will form the study group I overhear Mr Leslie being given 'a word of warning' by one of the teachers about two members of the class he is to teach chess to this year. This is the class of children that will be the subject of the study. The two boys will become well known to me as the year progresses. Despite grave warning of disruptive behaviour at this point, they will both excel at chess and become winners at tournament level.
(Case Story 1)
I felt like a spy and in many respects the role of participant observer was akin to this role. It required an adherence to strict ethical guidelines with regard to observation and a flexible attitude to the future relevance of data at one and the same time.
The above starting point for the study was also reflected in other baselines. In quantitative terms the assessment of scores in reading, spelling, comprehension, arithmetic, vocabulary and social adjustment were generated in the experimental and control classes.  The first qualitative baseline to emerge was a history of low expectations. This was particularly the case with regard to the initial introduction of chess to the school environment. The Chess Development Worker described the initial response to the approach to schools in the Northfield ASG:
When we actually approached these schools they invited us in and were prepared to give it a go. But I have since learned that there was a great deal of scepticism there, as to how pupils were to come to terms with something like chess - with the perception of it being a hugely complicated game and something they had to sit still for half an hour of playing. They were not at all confident that it would take off. (DL/04)
Similarly one teacher described how in the very early stages of the introduction of the game to the Mschool setting in 2001 the children themselves underestimated their abilities to play the game:
One of the things that I came across, just talking to the children was…that it was a very non - Mschool thing, you know. It was something from somewhere else that clever people with glasses did; and it was all those funny folk - it was all this kind of thing, being clever. And I think they were quite amazed, some of them, that they could do it. There was that sort of thing, of being successful at it. Something that was really difficult… (BM/04)
For most pupils chess play was a new experience. Chess came with its own identifiable baggage - being clever. The combination of low expectations and a high incidence of difficult behaviour in the schools where chess was introduced were a significant feature of the early stages of the project.
For example, it was difficult in the first sessions of classroom observation to understand why three adults would be present. The teacher and classroom assistant were easily identified but the third person remained a mystery to me. It soon became evident that a small group of children would be subject to the attention of the class teacher, the classroom assistant and the third adult - a specialist support for learning teacher - the latter periodically supported by other specialist staff from the 'Base'. 
At a later date the class teacher clarified these three complementary roles:
The classroom assistant supports children and the teacher by helping to keep children on task with everyday school work. She is expected to sit with children and reinforce the task by repeating the instructions given by the teacher. She often helps with craft work or with the preparation of booklets for children. The Behaviour Support teacher withdraws small groups of children from 11am to 12 noon four days a week. She usually works with the poorest readers, about 6 in total, but sometimes we vary the groups so that a child with problems may stay with me. She sometimes may work with a particular group for number or language. The Support for Learning teacher consults with myself on the progress of individual children. She identifies children to be enrolled for the ICT Success Maker programme. She also withdraws small groups of children to work on fun activities in her room as a reward for good work or good behaviour. (JG/04)
The class teacher  began teaching this class in 2003 when they entered P3 from Marchburn, the feeder infant school. This is how she described her working relationship with the pupils:
I have worked at Mschool school for a reasonable time but until now I had never experienced children who said 'no' to an instruction and required many 'tellings' before they did as they were told or before intervention by a member of the Senior Management team was required to enable the continuation of a normal working day. A great deal of focus was given to behaviour management, and at times I felt that teaching was not the main focus. I found it very hard work to keep trying to teach sometimes. (JG/04)
More than a third of this class of 18 pupils were identified as having a lot of contact with the Support For Learning teacher.
The first phase of the introduction of chess playing into the school setting was for pupils to learn the rudiments of the game. This was taught in the P4 class over a 10 -12 week period. One period each week was devoted to this instruction. Teaching was whole class and had a 15 - 20 minute session followed by general chess play based on the theme that day.
An initial assessment, as detailed below, was made by the Chess Development Worker of the range of problems and potential for development within a particular classroom:
In some schools we teach the class as a whole - at other schools where there are perhaps too many to teach, without achieving any success, we ask the teaching staff to select between a dozen and 16 pupils who are interested in joining the after school club - because the project is based on out of school hours activities. So from that point, if we can get kids who are interested in learning chess, and joining the after school club, that is how we handle larger classes. Where there is support from a teacher and perhaps there is a classroom assistant in the class - we will go ahead with the whole class. (DL/04)
Thus another starting point was the selection of particular children in certain class situations, the ones who are interested in learning chess.
Every child is given a copy of the project's Novice Training Schedule after the first session. This short introduction to the game of chess is the first indication given to the children and teachers of the complexity and depth of the game and the need to study. For most children it is the first piece of chess literature to enter the family home. It was referred to by the children throughout the year as David's Blue Chess Book. This was a well - thumbed publication. It became bed - time reading for many members of this class. It also befell the fate of other books - torn by a sister or brother or simply lost. These tales of mishaps, sibling rivalry and study are told in great detail by the children, in the next section of the report.
The following brief outline sketches the fundamental elements of chess knowledge that were imparted in this initial phase of teaching. Ground rules featured as the starting point for the first session. It was emphasised that chess players must be aware of their own personal conduct. The following excerpt is taken from the introduction to the Novice Training Schedule:
In chess, certain rules have been agreed over a long period of time, about how chess players should conduct themselves during tournaments and in the chess club. Opponents should shake hands at the start of the game and do so again at the end of the game. It is forbidden to distract or annoy the opponent in any manner whatsoever. Disruptive behaviour has no place in a chess club. Enjoy your game without upsetting others and focus on improving your standard of play. (p1)
These introductory coaching sessions focused on the rudimentary elements of the rules of the game. Getting the board the correct way round to start the game; discovering that every square has a name; locating rank, file and diagonal; naming the pieces; finding their starter squares; identifying queen - side and king - side of the board. The children get a booklet about chess to take home,  their first introduction to the need to study the game. The following excerpts from case stories capture some of this coaching process in action:
There is complete silence for the Chess Development Worker's preliminary remarks. (CS2)
He begins by explaining that he is not a teacher, thus he asserts, 'You can call me David or Mr Leslie', similarly Elaine or Miss Rutherford . (CS2)
The Chess Development Worker's preamble emphasises a number of points, 'Chess is fun, it is a friendly game; children have large brains; only adults find chess difficult.' The children obviously enjoy this poking fun at the adults. (CS2)
The lesson is introduced by a series of questions, "Does anyone know any moves?" This provokes a number of responses: "Pawns take diagonally," asserts one boy. "Knights move in an L shape", claims another pupil. (CS2)
One boy is a regular contributor. The Chess Development Worker reveals to me after the session that he knows the boy's sister, she is a year older and was taught by him last year. A family history of chess playing exists. (CS2)
All responses are praised but David holds out for the key difference. (CS2)
There was rarely complete silence in the general classroom setting, especially during the chess general play that followed the coaching session. However during some teaching sessions there was intense concentration by most of the class. Periodically this concentration would be broken by the behaviour of some children. The early differentiation by the Chess Development Worker and his Assistant of a more informal persona, an adult in the school setting who was willing to be called by their first name was perhaps significant. This sign-posted a different and more informal coaching relationship.
The coaching sessions utilised questioning and problem solving techniques and all responses were praised. It became evident that there were chess playing families; older brothers and sisters had been taught the game, sometimes by a family member and occasionally by a sibling taught by Mr Leslie in the period 2001-2003 phase of the project. The 'chess playing family' emerged as a focus, much later in the study, of a detailed comparison of each child in the class. The interviews with children in the final term explored in what conditions the chess playing family emerged. Which children were in a chess playing family? When did chess get played at home? Did chess play occur amongst extended members of the family? What was the form of chess play? Was chess played with siblings or parents or all members of the family? Was there a PC and chess software in the household? How often did children play chess each week? Why did they play chess? Did some children never play chess at home? These question formed the early identification of queries that became the focus of further investigation by means of interview and questionnaire.
One issue that was to recur throughout the whole school year was the behaviour of certain children.
The class is noticeably quiet; all are concentrating on news and up-dates from the week previous. However there is one boy who fidgets continually. The Chess Development Worker addresses him jokingly - querying whether he is also a 'good dancer' as well as a continual fidget. The boy is embarrassed. He is then asked directly to solve the next problem presented to the class. (CS3)
The boy is astounded at his success and so is the whole class. "All in less than 2 minutes!" emphasises Mr Leslie. The coaching session continues. Other pupils in the class are chosen individually to identify a range of squares. The Chess Development Worker relays to all the children that they have just learned a new language -a 'chess language' and that it will help them with their maths. (CS3)
In this narrative the use of humour as a form of control worked for this boy in these circumstances. Equally the opportunity to take responsibility for solving a problem and gain a new - found status changed the expectations of the individual and the class. 'The boy is astounded at his success and so is the whole class'. Chess play and problem solving was no longer just the preserve of 'funny folk' but was part of their common experience now. They had learned a new language and it was easy.
The introductory session started with the rules associated with the pawn. It introduced the notion of legality and illegality of a move. The first experience of general play was with pawns only. Next came the teaching of the rook move, followed by pawns in combination with rooks. Then the bishops were then introduced. It was at this point that the notion of protection and the different value attached to pieces was covered. These sessions introduced the notion of differential power and the variable strength of the pieces.
The following excerpts from one case story illustrate teaching methods adopted by the Chess Development Assistant:
"OK excellent, the bishop. I think it is actually, probably my favourite piece. I'm not sure why. But these ones move on diagonals." She goes to the magnetic board and traces the line of a diagonal and places a black and white bishop on the board. "This one is a dark bishop and this one is a light bishop. They can never meet. They can spend their whole lives and they never meet each other. (CS4)
Coaching techniques used a range of methods to communicate quite abstract concepts. The bishops, literally 'come to life' - they are given human qualities. The bishops lead a lonely but influential existence, always apart they never meet but they can act together in powerful combination. The notions of value and power are introduced with the key idea of protection woven through the fabric of the coaching session. Once again praise and problem solving in response to a dialogue of questioning forms the coaching method.
Both the Chess Development Worker and the Assistant employ a modelling method of coaching.(Nisbet, 1990) In this situation the coach talks aloud while working through problems with the aid of the magnetic board. Nisbet (ibid) also describes 'learning how to learn' as children taking over from the teacher the control and management of their own learning and thinking (p2) something that is quickly evident once the rudimentary elements of the game of chess are understood. It is however in the affective and social elements of a child's life, the formation of attitudes and motivation that there arises what Nisbet (ibid) describes as the 'will to use knowledge'. Does chess play increase the will to use knowledge? It certainly does for some children. We will return to this question when the study investigates what chess play means to children in school, at home and in a community setting in a later section
It was evident that an informal and questioning style of coaching was common to both Mr Leslie's and Ms Rutherford's approach to teaching the rudiments of the game. This is described in some detail below:
Tony is struggling to get the first move of the pawn correct. Elaine has also noticed this and Tony is approached by Elaine, who is now seated beside Tony and Jack. Elaine intervenes each time a mistake is made to show the correct move. This is something Tony's opponent does as well. Learning is co-operative and it is rapid. David, Elaine and the class teacher circulate from table to table. There are different styles of intervention. David queries one of the girls. "What are you trying to do? If you do this (showing) you win. If you do that (moving piece) you lose. Elaine questions Jack, "What happens if you take this pawn? How does this affect that pawn? That's a clever move." Meanwhile Tony has made a winning move. "I like chess!" There is then a clapping of hands and a shout of "I'm a good chess player!" Even in this very initial phase of coaching, some children are taught to think two moves ahead rather than one. It is noticeable that some children learn and then forget moves quite quickly, making a mistake and then re - learn. (CS5)
The knight requires a session to grasp the uniqueness of the legal move it can make, as it is the only piece that can jump over other pieces. The idea of space, location and gaining power and strength is also central to this presentation. The queen is easily identified as the strongest piece and once again tactical location is a core idea. Finally the king, shown to be the central piece of the game is identified as the piece that cannot be captured but ends its life by failing to move out of check. It has to be in a state of check - mate for the game to be won and lost. One - off moves such as castling and special circumstance moves such as en passant and stalemate are left to the final stages of chess instruction. At this point the coaching sessions focus on examples of play that show strong options and weak moves and children learn how to record their moves using algebraic notation.
The introduction of chess play to this environment was never likely to become a 'magic wand' - the behaviour and conduct of some of the children remained stubborn, hostile and unruly. The following case story highlights one incident that interrupted the flow of a coaching session, but also a boy who became very involved with the game at all levels as the year progressed.
Suddenly, there are lots of interruptions and interventions by the class teacher. There is a disturbance at the back of the room. One of the boys is under a table and will not move. The class teacher is scolding a second boy. David has also been forced to intervene, "Turn you chair round," he exhorts one of the boys, "So that I can see you and spot if you want to answer a question." David continues the coaching session, "The difference between check and check mate is that with check the king is being attacked, but when it is check mate the king can't escape from attack. When it is check it means that there is an escape route."
At this point a table is kicked over and the class teacher has now lost all patience, she exhorts the boy in no uncertain terms, '"Would you like to leave my classroom now please, your behaviour is not suitable! I'm sorry boys and girls, just try and concentrate on what we are doing." The class teacher is forced to address the boy for a second time, "I would like you to leave." There is a sullen silence until moments later the head teacher enters the room to announce to the boy under the table, "You are coming with me, now!" The boy immediately rises from under the table and leaves with the head teacher. David returns to his task, it is 10 minutes into the coaching session. (CS6)
There was something about the chess environment that began to appeal to this boy and others boys in the class who had a history of difficult behaviour in class. It was clear from very early on that these children had an aptitude for the game. One example of this is provided by the short exercise that indicates how well the children have grasped the knight's movement around the board. Every child at the end of this teaching session is given an A4 sheet displaying a board devoid of pieces. The 'knights tour' of the board is a popular exercise with all chess players - novices included.
It is clear from the outset that anyone can place the knight somewhere on the board and find a second and third square for the knight to inhabit. However once the knight has covered around a third of the 64 squares available for this tour of the board it becomes a difficult exercise - one that requires serious thought, calculation, concentration and forward planning. The unruly boys rose to this challenge, some of the highest scores came from this section of the class. This provided an early indication of aptitude and a conundrum. Why would the most difficult of exercises, requiring maximum concentration, appeal to these boys?The chess coaching style: a form of pupil support.
This section of the report traces a network of new social relationships that emerged through chess play. The coaching relationship is studied in more depth. Chess play lends itself readily to a one - to - one coaching relationship. It is also a game that involves a multiplicity of choices. The game teaches choice. It presents a situation of 'emotional intelligence' building (Speeth and Margulies, 1999). Confidence building is identified as the first stage in this process.
The following fragments of observation and interview data illuminate aspects of this process. In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with the Chess Development Worker and Behaviour Support Worker during the latter stages of the study. These interviews became reflexive accounts given by two key informants of the chess coaching and pupil support relationship.
Now they all know how to move the pieces and have got the idea of check - mate. They know most of the rules, but they don't always apply the rules. They don't always move the pieces to the best advantage for their game. For instance, some of the less confident kids will move all their pawns - they won't move any of their stronger pieces, and I think that just comes from a lack of confidence. (CS7:DL/04) You need to sit and watch them play a whole game. That's when you can pick up on these things and you can take them aside and give them the extra tuition to pin-point exactly what they are doing wrong and improve. You can widen their thought process, to take in all the information that is available on the board and process it in a logical fashion. So that is what we are hoping to do - increase confidence. (CS7:DL/04)
The growth of confidence in children who began to thrive in the chess environment emerged as a key finding. Some of these children had learning difficulties in terms of behaviour and learning. Kenny was one of the pupils at the outset the Chess Development Worker thought would present major challenges. He came with a history and a reputation for unruly behaviour. He had some behavioural problems. However early on in the sessions the Chess Development Worker noticed that when this boy was sitting with Elaine Rutherford, he was quite happy, getting on with the learning of the game. He asked Elaine Rutherford to continue this role in the classroom setting each week. This role was akin to the specialist support offered by the Support for Learning worker who was also present during some of these early coaching sessions.
It was also observed by the Chess Development Worker that when Kenny was in a group situation he was easily distracted. He would tend to get involved in boisterous antics with other pupils. The Chess Development Worker felt by the end of the term however he had noticed a gradual improvement. There were a number of turning points in his relationship with the boy and members of his family, which he described thus:
At one stage, just 2 or 3 weeks before Xmas he had a tantrum in the class and he was suspended from chess club (for one week) and one tournament at Northfield, but since then he has really improved. And 2 weeks ago when I was trying to identify the pupils who would be invited to the Perth tournament, I sat in the second half of a Thursday morning session and I watched 2 pupils in particular creating mayhem in the class. They were running around, trying to get others involved, but Kenny just sat. He continued with his work. He didn't get involved and I think that was a great plus. And I think he is one of the pupils who will benefit greatly, I think there's big possibilities for Kenny. (CS7:DL/04)
A positive relationship between children with behaviour problems and the activities of the chess project began to emerge. These examples of behaviour change are reflected in the work of the Behaviour Support Centre. The most difficult and challenging children in Aberdeen North are located in this setting with a view to re-integration back into the main stream of schooling. The following observations were made by one of the teachers:
I would just like to say I taught at Mschool, and came back from working in London. When I came back they told me there was a chess club and I thought 'Good God!' I must admit I thought…(no way) and people said…'You have got to see it' and I must admit I have just been quite amazed by what I have seen and by the effects that it has had. Maybe some people looking in would not be able to see it, but I know. It hasn't turned them suddenly into 'Goody Two Shoes' - but we wouldn't want that.
But what it has done - it has for some children extended their ways of thinking, it has changed some sort of behaviour - especially playing that game It has given some children, who had no concept of how to socialise and play together, it has given them some etiquette and rules, very strict rules. For some children it has also given a sense of achievement. It is seen as something so difficult - this great game of chess and not only have they been able to play it, but go to competitions, they have also been able to teach other people…adults… and these are quite major things. Some of the teachers in the school who don't play, some of the kids have taught them moves and they have enjoyed...
It's had that kind of self - esteem building. Without a shadow of a doubt we've certainly found that in the Centre. So much so, that I have spoken to my Co-ordinator about seeing if we could extend the use of chess within the Behaviour Centres in the
city. I am totally convinced that there's something there, I really am. One of the most wonderful things is how it has just become part of the place. Yes. It has become quite a thing 'You dinna' mess with chess!' - I never thought I would say that! (CS9: BM/04)
The next section of this report looks at chess play through the stories told by children. It seeks to address the hunch as described above by the Behaviour Support teacher, that 'there is something there.'
CHILDREN WHO PLAY CHESS
This section of the report presents an analysis of the data accumulated from paired interviews with 16 children conducted in the final weeks of the third term, and an in-class exercise conducted towards the end of the second term, described as, 'Twenty Questions about Chess'. All 18 pupils were present for the latter exercise. The paired interview involved children choosing a friend to discuss their chess playing with me in a room at the school. These interviews were tape recorded and a final section of the structured discussion involved a game of chess and then a drawing exercise which described all of their out of school hours activities during the previous week.
Time for Play
By the middle of the second term, all members of the class reported playing chess at home, as one boy recounted:
I play good players, like my dad, my cousins and all that (RG/04)
However in discussion with the children it became evident that chess play at home could vary enormously. At one extreme a child described a rather short-lived experience of chess play at home.
"I had a chess set at home, at Xmas, you know, last Xmas - from my dad and my step-mum. They are little pieces…C, S and J lost my pieces. C is a girl, she is my step - sister; S she is a little girl, she is my real sister and J, he is my little cousin. They were losing my pieces. Then me and J argued and he lost my pieces." (T/04)
Following this incident this boy was able to transfer his chess set to his grand dad's home. He went on to describe how the Chess Development Worker had uncovered the tale of the lost pieces and donated another chess set to the family, a much bigger set of pieces. I queried whether he now played more chess at home, to which he replied,
"Not really, because nobody wants to play with me. I take them up to my grand dad's sometimes, and sometimes I play. He knew how to play the game before." (T/04)
Some quite limited chess play had taken place with his father, as he described:
Hey Dod, my dad doesn't ken (know) how to castle! I played my dad once. He beat me. Because he used to be a champion at chess - he didn't get a medal or nothing. I thought I was going to beat him. (T/04)
Conversely there began to emerge a predominant and different pattern as the year progressed. The growth of 'chess playing families' became more visible. This was a family environment that included literature, PC software, novelty chess sets e.g. Harry Potter and Star Wars; children who became members of the after school club and families who began to participate in tournaments and travel. This chess milieu grew to encompass the activities of more than a third of the families in the coaching class. The following observations from this category of family are made by two boys. Stan described family chess play thus:
Play chess with my dad and my brother and I am in the middle of trying to learn my mum. My cousin J is a chess player and D, his brother. (Sc/04)
Stan's friend also played a lot of chess at home:
I play with my mum and dad. Sometimes my mum beats me and sometimes my dad. But now I have won a trophy. I beat them now. (St/04)
This boy described playing 'quite a lot' of chess at home. Both boys had access to a PC with chess software. One of the pair preferred playing against people on the internet rather than against the computer. Playing against the computer received a mixed response from most children. Stan described the experience in these terms:
I just go on to Learn Chess, to see if it learns you better. I win some games. You can pick easy, medium or hard. I went on hard once - it was hard, very hard. (Sc/04)
The response of the children to using computers for chess play will be reported on later in this section. This received a mixed response but interestingly in a neighbourhood where income was low and poverty widespread two thirds of the families in this cohort of 18 had a PC at home. A number of these families had installed chess software.
Sometimes an older brother or sister had taught the children the game of chess but more often than not they were now in a position to teach their parents and siblings a few moves. In the main, slightly less than two thirds of children played chess with brothers and sisters rather than their parents. Boys were more inclined to play against their father and girls their mother. A small minority played both parents. About one third of families had a member who had played chess before the introduction of chess coaching. Most described this knowledge as superficial, often dating back to a school experience or another member of their family who had introduced them to the game. Two thirds of the children had been taught chess by the Chess Development Worker while the remainder had received instruction from their father or a sibling. Thus a fair estimate of previous chess play narrows to a group of three boys taught by their fathers and a further three boys who had an older brother or sister, more than likely taught by the Chess Development Worker in the previous two years.
Chess play at home was restricted for some children by family circumstances. Parents who just didn't have time because of work commitments or space in the home environment for a computer as one boy described:
Well my one is a friend's computer…well, it is like mine, because I gave it to him…because there is no room in my mum's bedroom. There is room but she is getting a dining thing, and, so I put it over to my friend's…And I just get to go on it when I want. And it has got chess on it and that. (SS/04)
One girl went on to describe her circumstances in a situation where her parents and brothers didn't have much time to play chess:
Never have… (played chess at home) They never have got time because they are always working and my brothers are at their work. My brother Alex helps out this boy at football and my brother Gordon is always out (KS/04)
Numerous claims were made by children to have taught their parents or fellow siblings the main moves in the game of chess. Once again these stories varied enormously in detail. One boy recounted what might at first impressions seem to be an exaggerated claim to teaching:
"My sister, I learned her how to do it." I probed further by querying if this was a younger or older sister. "Younger" the boy replied. I persisted with "How old?" A one word response, "Five."
It became evident that some children had been introduced to the game at a very early age by a member of their family. This report from another paired interview also emphasised the point of early introductions:
I was playing my family, because I got interested in it when I was 7, down in England; when my uncle Mac and my dad started playing. I was getting interested in the moves and that and I was asking my dad. And I was playing my dad. (CS/04)
A very informative view of the process of peer teaching and the fun of the game was given by two boys during one of the paired interview chess matches. The two boys who had chosen to be interviewed had been identified as both troublesome in class and in need of learning support. The following excerpt from the exchange of initial opening moves reveals a level of co-operative play and generosity between sibling rivals that suggests the game of chess offers a mutual exchange and reciprocity that is not always immediately evident. Prior to the start of the match I had asked them both how it felt to win and lose.
Both responded. "It's just a game, it's just a bit of fun", said Charles. This was reinforced by Stuart, his friend, "It's just a bit of fun. Like if you don't get a medal and the other person did - it doesn't mean you have to go into a mood."
"That's a bad move to start off with," Charles informs his opponent. I question Charles as to why this might be a bad move. Charles proceeds to offer an analysis: "Because you have to protect your king and people coming in might score your queen. Say someone comes in, they could just go, bang! (illustrating the weak defence) and take the queen. Because, if there's not a pawn there, they could just break through and hit that." Charles then offers another piece of advice to his opponent. "You can still move 2, with any pawn at the start you can move 2." (CS10)
Perhaps the most interesting report in respect of teaching the moves of the game to others offered more of an insight into the fantasy world of children's play than peer education. One of the girls described, tongue in cheek, her efforts to teach her dog a few moves from the Chess Development Worker's Novice Training Schedule:
I am teaching my dog how to play chess and he's beating me! I gave him a wee chess book, a doggy book. Every Tuesday I tell him how to play. I give him his book and I tell him to lie down and I say 'Read this for a wee while'. And when I get back he actually does it. He flicks the page over and knocks it down. (S/04)
This 'tall tale' had a grain of truth however. Pets are an influential part of children's lives, and two copies of the Chess Development Workers's Novice Training Schedule were part of this household, as the girl's brother, who had also been taught by Mr Leslie, had also received a copy.
Voluntary Study: books and software
Books about chess were sought out by a number of children for their personal study and a small selection of chess literature was always on sale at tournaments.
One of the boys described his interest in reading about chess:
"I read my book at the start, that David gave us. Interesting. I learned some check mates in it." I pursued this line of questioning further with both boys, "Have you come across any other books since then about chess?" The first boy continued "Two weeks ago I was at Northfield library and I bought one." His friend interjected to explain that he also had a book on chess, "I got a book with my Star Wars set and it tells you where they sit and how to capture and all that." The first boy responded, "It does it with the Harry Potter one too."
He continued to describe the book he had bought second hand from the library, giving a useful evaluation:
See what we read in our book (Novice Training Schedule), it told you what was in that. I already knew what it was, so it wasn't really that interesting. (SN/04)
The subject of books and study was developed in each interview and for a substantial number of children reading about chess had become an addition to their home environment. The Novice Training Schedule for example got some positive feedback from one boy who had become a regular tournament player over the period of the school year:
It's quite good. It shows you, like how to castle and check mate and that. (SS/04)
This boy continued to describe his finding of useful literature at the book display table at the tournaments.
Well when I was in Perth with Mr Leslie there was a book that I bought and it says, 'How to Learn Check Mates.' There was another one and it showed lots of brilliant moves and that. It was on sale for about £1 and that. I bought that book and I was playing all the moves. I do it on my chess board, so that whenever I play people who are hard, I just look at it. (SS/04)
Another boy who had become a tournament player during the course of the year described access to chess literature at home. I queried what was his favourite book and why.
I have got about 6 or 7 books. (I like) the third one I got. Because I get to see more chess moves and it tells you all about the pieces, and like if you are smothered and ways to escape. (RF/04)
Earlier in the same interview Richard had described this smothered move situation as something he had learned himself, before the teaching given by Mr Leslie.
It's like, say there is a king there (drawing the board on an empty table where he is seated) and a pawn and a knight there. And then you have got like your knight there. The rook will attack the king and it can't move - because, it will be smothered by all the pieces. Like check mate when all the pieces are scrambled and it is check mate (a problem solving 2 moves puzzle). Like you have to find it. (RG/04)
A number of children mentioned the chess book they had acquired with the chess set at the point of purchase. These were termed 'the books they got with the box' and were perhaps their first introduction to chess literature.
Continuing the theme of study, especially with the children who had greater involvement at tournament level, led to some evaluations of the strengths and weaknesses of playing against the computer and the usefulness of some chess software for the purpose of study. One boy recounted his experience of his chess software package, one that he obviously enjoyed:
With our disc one you get a quiz about chess and you get to do training and you learn to do check mates and a game. See on our one. If you win they give you a cheer. Well, sometimes when you win good pieces it gives you a cheer as well. It goes. Hurrah! (LS/04)
However for many children, playing a game against the computer got a mixed response. The four girls in the class all had access to a PC at home and one girl had access to her grandmother's lap top as well. The lap top at her grandmother's house was where she played most of her chess. She described the use of the computer soft ware in these terms:
It has got 200 things of chess on it. Games and tournament levels, even learning chess and all that. Like you get medals. (CK/04)
The other girl in the paired interview was not impressed with computer chess however, declaring:
Well, all the moves are like hard - you need to think a lot. It just went check mate, check mate, check mate. It bugs me! (CK/04)
The mixed response from those children with access to a PC and chess software at home was summed up by one boy:
Well you are just playing against the computer, you are white and it is black and you are just moving. You use your mouse and you see like a yellow square round it. You pull it. It's hard, a wee bit hard. It teaches me some good moves. I play on my computer like a few times a day. (KT/04)
About one third of this class of children began to get so interested in the game that joining the after school club became a part of weekly out of school hours activities and travelling to tournaments in Aberdeen and elsewhere across Scotland became a regular weekend event. Some children even enjoyed the opportunity of travelling abroad to join other children in Clairmont Ferrand; one of Aberdeen's 'twin towns' which also has a Chess in the Schools project. Direct links have now been established between this school and Mschool. We will return to this link-up when the report addresses the theme of networking in a later section.
A growth in a level of study would appear to be evident in the activities of those children who began to participate in chess after school clubs and tournaments. This also led to new forms of attainment and achievement. Two children in this class acquired listed Scottish grading status during the course of the school year. Perhaps the most important evidence of personal achievement however was the display of chess play that ended each paired interview. All children in this class had acquired a level of chess competence that facilitated an independent game of chess.
Feelings: winning and losing
The game of chess is competitive. The children play to win. This experience of winning and losing became the subject of discussion. No matter how strong or weak the chess player, the process of grading and assessment ensures that the strongest don't always win and the weakest don't always lose. There is thus a common experience of winning and losing. This experience has been described as generating emotional intelligence in children who play chess
When questioned about how it feels to win and lose the game of chess the girls responded in these terms:
'Scary' was how one girl described the experience of losing, another thought it was just quite 'embarrassing'. A third girl didn't like losing at all. "Well sometimes in class, I get defeated. I feel so…I don't feel like…I feel like I am useless…when I lose."(SE/04)
Becoming the winner brought a mixed response. One girl was 'excited, happy and embarrassed' by winning. The others simply like to win. There was even more of a mixed response from the boys. It was from amongst the boys that the tournament participants had emerged. Some of the boys had become very successful, winning medals and trophies throughout the year. The issue of winning and losing provoked a real dialogue in one of the paired interview discussions.
One boy who was taught to play by his elder sister claimed, albeit with a wry smile, to 'batter her' when she beat him at chess. "If she wins a game of chess, I batter her, because I like winning," he revealed. His friend however assumed quite a different attitude to losing - he asserted, "Doesn't really matter whether you win or lose." This assertion provoked a sharp response from the boy. "But in tournaments, you are supposed to win - to try and get medals and cups and all that." This didn't cut any ice with his friend however, who stuck resolutely to his position, concluding, "But if you don't win, you don't win - it's not your fault." Both felt happy at being the winner. The boy who hated losing felt sad but his friend remained philosophical about losing, declaring, "I'm not bothered, a bit of fun. Like football, it's a bit of fun."
The emotional responses that characterised winning and losing amongst the boys seemed to tap into the most complex and varied responses of all the feelings that playing chess provoked. These boys all had different and quite distinct feelings about winning or losing. One boy, subject to a lot of learning support and often exhibiting difficult behaviour in class felt 'horrible' when he won a game and happy when he lost. I had to double check I had not misheard the response, but his friend reinforced this by saying, "Because he always feels horrible." The boy also concluded, "I ken I always feel horrible."
Two other boys had different and distinctive feelings about losing the game. For one boy it was a useful exercise:
Well in losing, you pick up a few things. Like moves and all that. You learn from past mistakes. (KT/04)
And finally there was complete denial and envy on one boy's part:
"I just go, he cheated! I wish I was like Charles's brother. Aye I wish I was him, to get a trophy and a medal, like Charles's brother. I wish I was him." (KT/04)
Children's responses about playing the game varied enormously. In some respects it may be the case that chess brings to the surface some key personality traits and characteristics that are shaping behaviour. This feature is a common factor that will benefit all chess playing children, parents and teachers. It is also evident that some families take the opportunity of chess tuition in the school setting to develop and encourage chess play at home and out of school hours. It is this combination of new friendships amongst children, changing social relationships within the family, different links between families and teachers in the school setting and a new involvement in school and community association that point to a growth in social capital. The key characteristics of the chess playing family are outlined in the final section of this report.
AFTER SCHOOL CLUBS, TOURNAMENTS AND NETWORKS
This account of children who play chess now moves from the family environment back to the school and the after school club in particular. These clubs were supported and organised by teacher volunteers and Chess Development Assistants. In the after school club setting pupils required a knowledge of the rudiments of the game. The sessions tended to run for an hour on average and a maximum of an hour and a half. The after school club sessions were not about intensive coaching. This was time to relax, gain experience of competitive play and have fun.
The data for this section of the report draws mainly on reports from the paired interview discussions. It is supplemented by material gathered from observation of the Middlefied after school club and short tape - recorded interviews with participants during one session.
Chess After School Clubs: structure, organisation and ethos
Prior to a description of the findings from these data however the following summary gives an insight into the structure, organisation and values that underpin the ethos of the chess after school club. The material is gleaned from set of guidelines titled Running a Successful Chess Club compiled by the Chess Development Worker for presentation to a conference during the first year of the project. The key building blocks of a successful club are identified as stability, opportunity, continuity, challenge, enjoyment and reliability. Some of the key points from this document are listed below.
Good organisation is described as the basis for club stability. Organisers are urged not to cater for absolute beginners but to arrange a separate class for this group. The generation of a helping climate should be fostered. It is the little things that children can do themselves that matter. They can set up all the pieces. They can tidy all the pieces into boxes at the end of the session. The children should be encouraged to form their own committee with responsibilities for these minor matters of organisation. In the formation of ground rules discussions should be held about the advisability of snacks or not; how to handle disruptive behaviour, guidelines for discipline should be agreed by all; toilet breaks; noise.
One clear statement of values is outlined in detail:
Pupils who attend because it is convenient for their parents, but have no interest in chess will tend to be eternally disruptive. They should soon be identified and excluded. Pupils who have behavioural problems but are genuinely interested in chess should be handled more sensitively. Given firm, but transparently fair treatment such pupils have been known to show dramatic improvement in social and academic skills. (CC/04)
A word of warning is also given to all assistants that they beware the parent who is only interested in the progress of one child - their own.
The opportunity for all standards of play to be present in the club was encouraged. Organisers were advised to generate in - school club tournaments; challenge local schools to matches; run a section just for players who have never won a trophy; recruit local chess players who would become chess mentors; vary the times of the club to include evenings as well as directly after school. The timing of the after school club was given extra emphasis. Organisers were urged to avoid the many clashes of interest that surround the lives of children. They were urged to research local provision of football training, homework clubs, community centre after school clubs and other interests and hobbies. Girls in particular were encouraged to attend and female coaches of outstanding chess reputation recruited as Assistants.
Incentives were viewed as a key ingredient for a successful club. Participants should be offered challenges that gain recognition of achievement. Thus the most improved player; player of the day; hardest worker would be granted certificates and medals. Celebration of achievement and the offer of rewards became the core values on display alongside the recognition that the game of chess was about enjoyment, fun and belonging to something that was worthwhile. Thus there was a strict code of practice based on what children expected of a good service. It was emphasised that children needed their club to be organised in a reliable fashion at the same place, time and with the same helpers each week. One final word of caution reminded potential organisers that children could be unforgiving in the face of unreliable experience.
The growth in after school clubs follows the teaching of the rudiments of the game to one P4 class. The development of ten after school clubs over a three - year period in the Northfield and St Machar ASGs is one indication of the interest that has been generated by the teaching of the game. It is also an indication of substantial teacher support for this activity, particularly in some schools. The numbers involved during the school year 2003-04 give a further indication of a level of involvement and interest. Attendance records show in excess of 190 participants throughout the year across the ten schools with a dedicated group of 120 regulars. These figures match the involvement in Saturday chess tournaments, in particular the Grand Prix , which runs the full year and attracted 130 participants during 2003-04. We will return to the growth of networking, parent and teacher involvement and pupil participation in tournament play in a later section of this report.
Chess After School Clubs: the participant perspective
Almost one third of the Mschool class joined the after school club at some point during the year. This required a letter of consent from the parents and arrangements to collect the child at the end of the session. This was not always achievable and children explained why it was not always possible for them to attend the after school club. In the following account both children had been regular participants but dropped out of the club. The first boy explained:
My mum didn't have enough time but maybe I'm going to start going again. (LS/04)
His friend reinforced this point:
Same here. Every Monday my nana has to come with me. Nana has to come because my mum is working now - so she (his nana) was finding it hard to come back and fore all the time. She stays in Dyce. (LS/04)
Thus transport was an important issue. One other participant had not been consistent enough in attending the club for his father to become a regular escort:
I went and stopped. I don't know why, but I missed…I got used to it…then I stopped it for a couple of days then I wanted to go back again and my dad says, 'There is no point in going if you are not going to go the next day'.
Some members of the class had joined the after school club and been regular participants for some time at tournaments, but had subsequently lost interest. I was interested to discover why there was this sudden loss of interest in something that had grabbed their attention so successfully for some time. One girl gave a description of this process of losing interest. She explained:
I learned nearly half at home and then nearly half at school, but then I kept on practising it on the way, but then in the last few months I've just lost interest in the chess, a bit.
On probing further as to why she had lost interest so quickly she offered this explanation:
I don't know, my mum says it's just that I played too much. Yea, just like songs, you listen to it too much - then you throw the CD away. Then a new song comes along. (KC/04)
The following excerpts from a report of one Chess Development Assistant captured the flavour of some of the problems, dilemmas and successes of the clubs:
This chess club continues to present a very challenging environment. The move to the art room has proven beneficial in the long run with no room to run around, as happened in the dining hall. With the club being held in an art room the potential for serious disorder was always there, bubbling under the surface. Things boiled over two weeks ago when, in a frantic afternoon, four suspensions were handed out. Two were newcomers who demonstrated little interest in the game, but the other two were established members, who frankly, let themselves down. An indication of how badly things went during that afternoon would be that throughout the whole afternoon session not one single game of chess was played to a conclusion - the first time this has happened in any of the clubs. Several children ended up covered in paint. The deputy headmaster became involved. (WCC/04)
The example quoted above was identified as a setting at one extreme of the organisation of chess after school clubs. In this school there was no volunteer teacher support, little contact with the Assistants and school administrative staff and a very poor, distracting environment for the children.
Overall, the experience of chess after school club activity was very positive. Numbers of children attending were in excess of twenty in a number of locations and volunteer teachers played a key role in handling disruptive behaviour. The following example, taken from an Assistant report would give an indication of the norm:
This club has been successful over the last five months. While overall the numbers can vary there is a hard core of eight decent chess players who are fairly evenly matched and clearly enjoy playing the game. Recent events have included mini - leagues and a Swiss tournament, both of which have proven popular. The immediate future will see the re - launch of the chess ladder and a new intake from the primary 4s. While the club is normally calm and constructive there has been occasional disruption from one boy in particular. While no suspension has been handed out, the intervention of the headmistress has left him in no doubt that a repeat of his behaviour will result in such a punishment. The club benefits from the keen interest of Mrs B and her absence normally coincides with some bad behaviour. Closer links have been established with both office and teaching staff - so I will be better prepared in the future. The club is well represented in Saturday tournaments. Of the regular attendees there is only one girl, however she is showing a keen interest in the game and her play has improved dramatically. (IC/04)
The girl in the scenario described above is perhaps still the norm in many chess settings across the country. There was evidence to suggest that this trend can be reversed when opportunity and encouragement are offered girls in their own right, in circumstances of their choosing.
The proportion and participation of girls in the after school clubs was described thus by the Chess Development Worker:
Of course it varies greatly. At two schools there is only 1 girl in each after school club but at another in the same vicinity there is probably slightly more girls to boys. In one school the lunchtime club is all girls. But on the whole there is probably about 3 boys to 1 girl, which is way, way above the national average. Nationally there is a 15:1, boy: girl average. Certainly we have got far, far more girls involved and as a result we have established better standards. In fact we have at least 3 girls who are in the top twenty in Scotland for age under - 21 girls. When you consider some of the girls are only about aged 10 - we have got some fantastic potential in girls. In fact one of the girls came second in the national competition down at Perth at the weekend. (DL/04)
The clubs offer a range of experiences that enhance sociability as well as learning. This comment from one teacher helper sums up these elements of after school club participation:
Those who come to the weekly after school club attend regularly and are keen to win ladder competitions, take part in tournaments, help the beginners and pick up tips from the experts or each other. They have even volunteered to do chess puzzles as homework challenges at times! The new points system this session has been very popular. They love getting enough points to get a medal or a trophy and enjoy having their achievements recognised within school - excellent for their self esteem. They and the school are very proud of their achievements (LB/04)
After school clubs present the first formal opportunity for chess involvement at a level beyond play at home and in the classroom. In the next section of this chapter we look in more depth at the range of networking opportunities that chess provided the children who became more involved in chess at tournament level, both locally, regionally and abroad.
New networks: the growth of achievement
In this section we track stories of individual achievement and gain some sense of the level of chess play and family involvement beyond the school and the family settings. Although tournaments in Aberdeen are held in a secondary school, this is not always the case and significant new experiences are offered to children who may not have travelled far beyond the boundaries of Aberdeen. Chess in the family is now a feature of this study and a key theme. Interestingly, the biggest family in the study also contained one of the greatest achievers:
My name is Gloria, I've got 7 brothers and 3 sisters. My oldest sister does not stay with me, she is 18 years old. My little sister and brother are at nursery. I go to primary 6 (at the same school). I go to breakfast club in the morning at 7.15am. My two brothers go too. G is 11 years old and S is 8 years old. I am taller than my brother G but he is older than me. My sister F is 6 years old and she goes to breakfast club too.
All my family can play chess. I always play it with my dad. He sometimes can beat me. I am the 18th best in Scotland, ages out of 21 years old. My two brothers can play chess as well. They really enjoy chess. I have got 5 trophies and 6 medals and 3 certificates. I started playing chess when I was in primary 4. David Leslie showed me how to play chess. I am very good. I have been playing chess for 2 years now. I think chess is very interesting, it is very enjoyable. I would like to be a Chess Master when I am older. My dad said that I would be a very good chess player. I would like chess to keep going on at the schools. So other people could play chess too. My grade is 509, or less than that. (Case Story 15)
The last tournament  of the school year 2003 - 2004 was held at Northfield Academy - the secondary school that many of the chess playing children will attend in 3 or 4 years time. As noted earlier in this report, this is a school with one of the lowest rate of SQA achievement in the city. The tournament setting is the source of a host of activities.
Further evidence of the multiplicity of experiences that were offered to children during this year was documented in an interim report for NOF. This report reviewed the progress of chess development in Aberdeen's primary schools during 2003 -2004. The growth of a network of schools in the city; links with schools abroad and periodic gatherings of pupils from across Scotland featured for a significant number of children. The scale of tournament play was described in the following terms:
· One hundred and thirty players took part;
· ten events took place this season;
· each event averaged fifty two players;
· this is a 25% increase on 2002/2003;
· eight pupils played in all ten events;
· fifty seven pupils won silver medals;
· thirty six pupils won gold medals;
· five pupils have won a cup.
In the course of the year it was discovered that one of Aberdeen's twin towns in France, Clermont - Ferrand also had a Chess in the Schools programme and Chess Development Officer. With assistance from Aberdeen's 'Twin Town Fund' eight pupils, one from each of the eight schools participating in the programme were selected, plus two parent helpers to travel on an exchange trip. The Chess Development Worker summed up the experience in these terms:
It is difficult to quantify the long - term benefits for the children involved, most of who had never travelled by rail or air before. Some had never been in a restaurant. Despite this they were a great credit to the city of Aberdeen. A full programme of events was in place for the party:
· Visits to two local schools;
· school lunches with local children;
· chess meetings;
· a mountain bike tour;
· visits to places of historic interest;
· joining an evening meal with 20 local children;
· an outing to a nearby volcanic mountain range.
The twinning project now links the Mschool after school chess club to one of the Clermont - Ferrand after school chess clubs. (DL/04)
The next section reports the experimental pilot study designed to measure the learning benefits to children who have had chess coaching. It is a quantitative analysis of the impact of chess learning on the improvement of children's word recognition, reading comprehension, spelling, arithmetic and social adjustment in the Mschool chess coaching class during the period of the three terms in the school year 2003 -2004. The case study posed the question: Does Chess Make a Difference? This is a different kind of story, one told by a statistician and an educational psychologist.
THE QUANTITATIVE ELEMENT OF THE STUDY: MEASUREMENTS OF CHANGE
The case study was intended to identify possible relationships between children's experience of learning to play chess and both their performance in basic academic skills and their behaviour in school. The authors therefore decided to measure academic achievement and classroom behaviour by means of established tests and checklists, in order to provide reliable comparisons between levels in both these aspects of school performance at the beginning and at the end of the P4 school year.
The criteria for selecting measures of basic academic skills were :
· they should be short, in order not to tire or bore children;
· they should be unfamiliar to the children, in order to avoid practice effect;
· they should be norm-referenced, in order to provide outside judgements of
· they should have a base level of difficulty attainable by virtually all P4 pupils and continue to a level of at least S1;
· they should cover not only areas measured in previous empirical studies (Margulies, 1996) but also other academic areas.
The Test Measures
The measures eventually selected to accord with the criteria given above were as follows:
· Reading Accuracy: Burt Rearranged Word Reading Test
This test measures a child's ability to "bark at print", that is, to recognise or work out disconnected single words in a list of increasing difficulty, without the aid of contextual semantic clues. Success on the test depends on :
· familiarity with and ability to recall words already known
· familiarity with sounds of letters and combinations of letters
· ability to relate and blend letters to form words
Performance is expressed as a Reading Accuracy Score.
· Neale Analysis of Reading Ability : Accuracy
The Neale Test measures, in part, a child's ability to read a series of short narratives, of increasing difficulty, of connected text, accompanied by a picture. Success depends, as in the Burt Test, on knowledge and recall of words, letters and blends, but also on the ability to use contextual clues in the text and the accompanying picture to guess at words not immediately apparent. Performance is expressed as a Reading Accuracy Score.
· Neale Analysis of Reading Ability : Comprehension
The Neale Test also measures a child's ability to understand the content and meaning of the written text just read, but with both text and accompanying picture removed. Eight questions(four in the first story) of the "What happened?" variety are asked about characters and events and the child's response is scored for accuracy of information. Performance is expressed as a Reading Comprehension Score.
· Spelling : Schonell Graded Word Spelling Test, Form A
The Schonell test measures a child's ability to write down words spoken by the tester from a list of words of increasing difficulty. The latter says the word on its own, e.g. "fun", repeats it in a brief sentence, eg "Parties are fun" and then repeats it on its own. Performance is expressed as a Spelling Score.
· Arithmetic: Arithmetic Subtest (Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children)
The WISC Arithmetic subtest measures a child's ability to count and compute and to apply knowledge of number bonds through the processes of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division over a series of questions of increasing difficulty. Questions are given orally and must be answered orally, without benefit of pencil and paper. Performance is expressed as an Arithmetic Score.
The criteria for selecting measures of behaviour were:
- they should be reasonably short, in order not to burden the class teacher
- they should be norm-referenced or at least quantifiable according to some established procedure
- they should provide both a global and a detailed profile of a child, and in both cases refer to a range of typical behaviour characteristics relevant to school
- they should be administered by the person most familiar with the child in school, i.e. the class teacher
Two measures were eventually selected to accord with the criteria given above, taken from the several scales comprising the compendium, The Social Adjustment of Children, by D.H.Stott. These scales are observational checklists, to be completed by people living or working in a variety of settings with the children to be assessed, that is, teachers, parents and child care workers in schools, family homes and residences. The two measures are as follows.
· Adjustment Pointers : Teacher's Checklist
This scale comprises six questions of a general nature regarding a child's behaviour in the classroom, eg, "Is he/she a nuisance or untrustworthy?" and "Is he/she exceptionally quiet, lethargic, depressed or very variable in energy?" One or more "negative" scores indicates that the child should be assessed more deeply, possibly with the help of a school psychologist. The result is expressed as an Adjustment Score.
· Bristol Social Adjustment Guide : The Child In School
This scale is divided into seven subscales, e.g. Interactions with Teacher, Attitudes to other Children. Each of these subscales is subdivided into four or more areas of behaviour, eg "asking teacher's help," "paying attention in class", "ways with other children." For each of these areas of behaviour the teacher is asked to identify a phrase, out of a choice of six, that most represents the child's behaviour in that area, eg, "gets confused or tongue-tied", "always or nearly always truthful", "seems afraid to begin". An interpretative schema is applied to the identified characteristics, and significant, i.e. negative, behaviours and tendencies are clustered into ten psychological categories. 
Measurements of Change
The quantitative element of the study was undertaken in order to compare the experimental with the control groups. This was done by applying the above standard test instruments to three groups of P4 pupils in the first half of the school year in 2003-4 (mean age 8.2 years) and the same pupils at the end of the school year, six months later (mean age 8.8 years). During the whole school year, one of the three classes received 'chess coaching' (group I). Another class in P4 from the same primary school, Mschool, did not receive 'chess coaching,' but instead, was provided with 'problem-solving PC games' provision additionally to PC time within the curriculum (group II). However, in practice, this additional PC provision was not as extensive as the 'chess coaching' programme. A further P4 class from a different, but similar primary school, Dschool, had neither 'chess coaching' nor 'PC games' provision (group III). On both occasions, earlier and later in the school year, in order to measure change, students in the three groups were tested on comprehension, reading, spelling, vocabulary and arithmetic skills, and students were also rated by their teachers on the 'Bristol Social Adjustment Scale.'
The approach to the quantitative analysis
Figures 1 and 2 provide a picture in graphical form of the study findings for the two classes in Mschool Primary School, where the 'chess coaching' was undertaken. The approach in the analysis in table 1 is to analyse differences in 'improvement' on scores separately on the various tests, and also, to interpret any significant changes relative to baseline differences among the three groups of students who participated in the quantitative element of the study. In the initial analysis in table 1, the results are not based on 'mean test scores' for each group of students but instead on 'mean ranks,' where rank is calculated by looking at the 'ordering' of scores among the all students in the study, separately on each of the tests. Next, the univariate analysis in table 1 is re-checked in table 2(i) and 2(ii), using multivariate techniques, this time by comparing group differences in mean scores on the various tests, but considered together, as representing profiles of change for each of the three groups. In addition, the multivariate analysis is also re-done in tables 3(i) and 3(ii) for the two 'input' groups from Mschool school alone. Figures 1 and 2 again provide an aid to interpretation of the results of the statistical analysis using multivariate techniques.
The results for the groups at Mschool
Figures 1 and 2 illustrate in graphical form the findings for the two groups of P4 pupils from Mschool Primary School. One group took part in 'chess coaching' and the other group was provided with 'PC-based problem-solving games.'
Figure 1(i): The chess study -- change in scores for comprehension, reading, spelling and word tests among the two groups from Mschool Primary School
Figure 1(ii): The chess study -- initial scores at baseline for comprehension, reading, spelling and word tests among the two groups from Mschool Primary School
Figure 2(i): The chess study -- change in score for arithmetic and 'social adjustment' tests among the two groups from Mschool Primary School
Figure 2(ii): The chess study -- initial scores at baseline for arithmetic and 'social adjustment' tests among the two groups from Mschool Primary School
Due to technical difficulties figures 1 (i) to 2 (ii) are not able to be displayed on the html page. Please see the accompanying pdf file.
Differences between test scores for all groups: an initial analysis
The results from the initial analysis in table 1 can be summarised as follows:
(a) Comprehension: There was evidence of 'marginal improvement' in group (I) over group (III), at a = 0.10.
(b) Reading: Differences were not statistically significant, but the patterning of group 'improvement' in the study was similar to (a) and (c).
(c) Spelling: Differences were not statistically significant, but the patterning of group 'improvement' in the study was similar to (a) and (b).
(d) Word test: There was 'significant improvement' in group (II) only, at a = 0.05, where there had been no statistically significant differences among the three groups at baseline, at the beginning of the study.
(e) Arithmetic: There was 'marginal improvement' both in groups (I) and (II) over group (III), at a = 0.10, and that was from initial lower levels in both groups at the start of the study, when compared to group (III).
(f) Social Adjustment: There was 'significant improvement' in group (I) over group (II), at a = 0.05, particularly given similar levels at baseline.
Table 1a: Univariate Kurskal-Wallis tests (as an initial analysis of group differences)
Improvement* (mean rank)
Baseline^ (mean rank)
No specific input
No specific input
a) Compreh- ension
d) Word Test
N = 18
N = 18
N = 18
N = 18
*Difference between the post- and pre-tests
Provisional conclusions from the initial analysis
The following provisional conclusions can be drawn from the univariate analysis. Finding (a) is suggestive of improvement in 'comprehension' in the 'chess coaching' group (I), over group (II) and/or group (III). Finding (e) is suggestive of improvement in 'arthimetic' in both 'intervention' groups (I) and (II), implying 'chess coaching' and 'PC-based problem-solving games' each made a difference over the year, particularly given that the 'non-intervention' group (III) started out with significantly higher levels of arithmetic skills. Finding (d) is suggestive of improvement in 'vocabulary' in group (II) alone, and not only over group (III) but also over group (I). Taken together, the findings (a) - (e) imply the interventions may have had an impact on specific domains (or even, perhaps at the expense of other domains). For example, 'chess' on comprehension skills, 'PC games' on vocabulary skills and both on arithmetic skills. In addition, finding (f) points to improvement on the 'social adjustment' test scores in group (I), specifically when compared to group (II).
Summary of results from the multivariate analysis
The multivariate analysis was conducted in order to examine patterns of 'improvement' jointly on the various tests, whilst allowing for baseline differences among the three groups of P4 pupils at the beginning of the study - see tables 2(i) and 2(ii) at Appendix 1. The analysis identifies an overall pattern of differences among groups as statistically significant (P < 0.01) although specific group differences on each test are 'weaker' (a = 0.10) than those identified in the initial univariate analysis in table 1. Further multivariate analysis compares the two groups in Mschool school alone - see tables 3(i) and 3(ii). Where differences exist between the two 'intervention' groups on each of the various tests these are also 'marginal' (a = 0.10) but again the overall estimate on the tests considered jointly is statistically significant (P < 0.05). What is clear from the analysis in table 3(i) and 3(ii) is the 'chess coaching' group show significant improvement on 'social adjustment' scores over the 'PC-based problem-solving' group (P < 0.05) . However, it should be borne in mind that the 'social adjustment' scores were derived from ratings made by the pupils' class teacher in each case; and, further analysis of teacher's ratings for the two sub-scales of the 'social adjustment' scale - seen to represent 'unforthcomingness' and 'outgoingness' of pupils - identifies no more detailed statistically significant differences among the three study groups.
Despite the small numbers of the pupils involved in the pilot study,  the patterning among the three groups of scores on the various tests, made at the beginning and end of the study period, point to positive changes with regard to 'comprehension' and 'arithmetic' skills in the 'chess coaching' group. However it is also the case that 'vocabulary' and 'arithmetic' skills improved in the 'PC problem-solving games' group.
It is particularly the group of pupils who participated in 'chess coaching' who stood out on improvements in 'social adjustment.' However, since 'social adjustment' was rated by teachers, this represents changed perceptions of pupils by teachers over the year, and perhaps, reflects changed quality of pupil-teacher relationships, as much as actual 'changes in pupils.' Indeed, the processes involved in these apparently positive changes due to 'chess coaching' are addressed by the in-depth, qualitative element to the pilot study. What follows is a discussion and analysis of all the findings reported in this study.
SECTION SIX DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS
This discussion focuses on the various themes that emerged from the descriptive analysis of chess coaching in one P4 classroom and the resultant impact of this curriculum innovation on the lives of working class children in one of the poorest areas of Aberdeen. This discussion re-locates the qualitative and quantitative findings within the framework of social capital theorising. We look through the lenses of bridging social capital, 'the building of connections between heterogeneous groups': bonding social capital, 'generating links between like-minded people, creating the reinforcement of homogeneity - and cultural capital, 'the parental support of children's development' to illuminate the lives of children who learned how to play chess.
A number of key themes emerged from the data and formed the structure of the case study. In the first instance it is instructive to view both the classroom and family as bonding environments. It is in these settings that norms, values and sanctions influence social relationships, behaviour and ethos. It is now perhaps a truism to note that factors associated with social class will substantially influence bonding relations in classroom and family settings. These bonding situations may not always be congruent and in fact in many instances, for certain pupils, may always be in conflict. Each will, however, influence the other. It is evident that the introduction of chess to the school environment did influence family life and that children were instrumental in making this link.
It was clear almost from the outset of the study that some children were members of chess-playing families and that in-school chess coaching generated chess-playing families. We now know the incidence and some of the characteristics of such families as exhibited in one P4 class. A more intensive mapping exercise may well prove useful for future social capital research initiatives.
It was clear that chess coaching of the eighteen children generated involvement in chess play at numerous levels. All of the children introduced chess - play to their households, more than one third of the children to a substantial extent, thus involving parents and grand parents in activities of a cultural, bonding and bridging nature. This category of family life - the chess playing family - became the core theme and a unit of analysis that is central to this discussion.
The second key theme that emerged from the data gave a focus on classroom life and behaviour in particular. It was clear that the teacher pupil relationship was influenced by a history of poor pupil behaviour and thus low expectations of certain children, prior to the introduction of chess coaching. At the end of the school year the quantitative analysis showed that the most statistically significant difference that chess made to classroom life was in terms of the perceived social adjustment. This particular finding was summed up in the following terms.
It is particularly the group of pupils who participated in 'chess coaching' who stood out on improvements in 'social adjustment.' However, since 'social adjustment' was rated by the teacher, this represents a changed perception of pupils by the teacher over the year, and perhaps, reflects changed quality of pupil-teacher relationships, as much as changes in pupils (Section Four: p58)
There is evidence to indicate that certain boys became involved in chess play at many levels (Appendix 1: Case Story 12) and that a different relationship than that of pupil - teacher was established between these boys and the chess coaches (Appendix 1: Case Stories 2-4). The formation of a new and more positive relationship in the classroom setting with these boys was perhaps the result of altered teacher perception and expectations on the one hand and altered behaviour on the part of pupils on the other. This may provide one explanation for the finding that pupil behaviour in the chess coaching classroom setting had improved.
With regard to the above, the 'informal coaching relationship' is one possible element that merits closer scrutiny. This is a relationship that bridged classroom and family life. Parent - teacher - pupil relations are generally more formal than informal, bound by procedure and in many instances, legality. The chess coaches established more informal relations in the classroom setting. Pupils could refer to the coaches by their first name - David and Elaine, rather than Mr Leslie and Ms Rutherford. Sanctions were imposed at certain times by the Chess Development Worker. In the main however, discipline was imposed by the class teacher. Sanctions that were imposed by the Chess Development Worker were particular to the chess setting.
Thus changing teacher expectations of certain pupils and perhaps changing pupil self-expectations and an informal coaching relationship, one more akin to an informal mentoring role, became a feature of the classroom life, family circumstances and community development. The growth of a new community association and chess network became another linked theme - in the form of new relations between pupils, parents and teachers in after school clubs and tournaments. This bridging form of social capital also became a new bonding environment for the chess-playing child, especially the tournament boy or girl who was able to form new friendships and acquaintances.
The qualitative study uncovered aspects of family life that involved substantial periods of voluntary study associated with chess play, in the form of extended reading and chess practice. It was also the case that chess-play in the family setting, perhaps like all board games, required a period of undivided attention - quality time for some children and time for fun. This was time for sons to play with fathers and daughters to play with mothers, also significantly - it was time for siblings to play together.
In the classroom and school settings this opportunity for 'self-regulated learning' at home made a difference to attainment in reading comprehension and arithmetic in particular. The in-put of chess coaching in the classroom situation enabled the growth in confidence for children with low self esteem, generating a source of emotional intelligence that generated an adherence to an altered code of behavioural conduct.
Thus the key characteristics of the chess-playing family in a primary school setting include:
· The provision of educational resources: chess set, PC and chess software, books, library membership;
· The willingness to commit time: intergenerational chess play;
· Increased support for after school participation: chess club attendance, tournament involvement and travel;
· The development of self - regulated learning: voluntary study, practice re. problem solving;
· A growth in networking: Community involvement, linkage to chess coaching.
The above characteristics of the chess playing family will vary in terms of frequency, duration and quantity. A more in - depth study of these characteristics will illuminate new indicators of social capital.
At an emotional level the playing of chess, particularly in terms of helping build confidence and assisting children to cope with both winning and losing indicated that children are acutely aware of their feelings. The opportunity to express these feelings in a co-operative and structured environment where a clear code of conduct was so central to the proceedings perhaps benefited those children who were either experiencing learning difficulties or mood swings, or both. This was particularly the case when the chess coach had used chess as a form of diagnostic tool - enabling an assessment of confidence and self esteem to be gleaned from the pattern of chess play. This finding will have major policy implications for a new form of pupil support. It is clear that chess-play can link emotional assessment, pupil support and personal development.
At a more cognitive level the study suggested that chess does assist the learning of how to learn and can be instrumental in creating increased motivation and the 'will to use knowledge' - in a nutshell- chess develops literacy and numeracy through a process of play. Examples of voluntary study involving reading, computer-assisted practice of chess-play, planning ahead, problem solving, reflection, memorising and learning from mistakes all figured in case stories and children's accounts of chess- play. The development of the 'mind's eye' for some children seemed to offer a particular advantage and was perhaps the source of improvement in comprehension, reading, spelling and arithmetic as identified in the quantitative study. Micro studies of particular episodes of chess play could illuminate this further.
It is clear that the chess coaching input helped forge relationships between teachers, parents and pupils at all levels. These new networks of social relations acted as an important source of social capital and contributed to improved attainment. Chess play and teaching confronted and altered low expectations and difficult behaviour. This new resource may have been the crucial ingredient of cultural capital that facilitated parental involvement in literacy and numeracy, through chess-play at home, in this P4 class of eighteen pupils. If so, there are major resource implications for every group of primary schools in the country - were this experiment to be replicated. The emergence of hundreds of accomplished chess players and dozens of graded Scottish players is testament to the natural enthusiasm and intellectual ability of children from one of the poorest areas of Aberdeen.
In conclusion, chess, like all educational initiatives, cannot be a substitute for measures that tackle the material poverty of low income and a long working day for many parents - it can however contribute to personal growth and resilience in circumstances of poverty. If a primary source of social capital is the keeping of privilege by the rich and powerful by means of extended family resources and the purchase of educational opportunity - then chess-play, as a form of cultural capital can redress some of these imbalances of educational opportunity. The introduction of chess coaching to the primary school curriculum will have major implications for the teaching profession, continuous professional development initiatives, pupil support, parent involvement and the role of the classroom assistant. Substantial funding for chess development in Scotland's primary schools could improve literacy, numeracy and the confidence of pupils who require learning support. At one and the same time this initiative will develop a facility for life long learning - 'a gift for life' - as one parent described his son's learning of the game of chess. We advocate an innovative and creative contribution to Scotland's Curriculum for Excellence - a new specialist - the visiting chess coach.
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Details of the multivariate analysis of differences among all three study groups
Table 2(i): Means differences on test components among the three study groups
Improvement* (mean score)
Baseline^ (mean score)
No specific input
No specific input
d) Word Test
N = 18
N = 18
N = 18
N = 18
*Difference between the post- and pre-tests
Table 2(ii): Multivariate analysis of improvement among the three study group allowing for baseline differences
d) Word Test
*Difference between the post- and pre-tests
Hotelling's multiple T, P < 0.01
Details of the multivariate analysis of differences between 'intervention' groups
Table 3(i): Means differences on test components between the two study groups at Mschool school.
Improvement* (mean score)
Baseline^ (mean score)
Problem-solving PC games
Problem-solving PC games
d) Word Test
N = 18
N = 18
N = 18
N = 18
*Difference between the post- and pre-tests
Table 3(ii): Multivariate analysis of group improvement allowing for baseline differences (restricted to the two groups at Mschool school).
d) Word Test
*Difference between the post- and pre-tests
Hotelling's multiple T, P = 0.03
CASE STORY 1
'Looking for the chess man?'
I drive to the school and fumble for my Aberdeen City Council identity badge. It is the North area of Aberdeen, the primary school is down a steep hill into surroundings which immediately evoke childhood memories - the very same school I attended during my own primary years. The frontage is granite and imposing, a big wooden door and door - entry system confronts all visitors. I buzz for the office, someone lets me in and I find the main office. The smell is the same as it was all those years ago; plastisine and paint fill the air. Memories of basket weaving, playground games and 'the headie's office' return. I ask the secretary in the main office of the whereabouts of my colleague. "The chess man?" the lady queries. She enquires of another person which room my colleague is in, and I am led along the corridor to a ground-floor class room. Mr Leslie is at the front of the room and I am introduced to the class teacher. I am offered a small chair in the corner. As I sit down a child's voice pipes up, 'Mr Leslie, have you had a haircut?' Mr Leslie smiles and does a little twirl.
Some months later my entry to the school is governed by a new relationship with pupils, teachers and Mr Leslie. I make a mental note to jot down the conversation he is having with a teacher in the corridor. I glean that this teacher is now a volunteer coach in the after school chess club. I have a tape recorder in my bag and a digital camera in my pocket. In the staff room setting the casual comments assume some significance. I feel like a spy when on our way to meet the class of children who will form the study group I overhear Mr Leslie being given 'a word of warning' by one of the teachers about 2 members of the class he is to teach chess to this year. This is the class of children that will be the subject of my ethnographic study. The two boys will become well known to me as the year progresses. Despite grave warning of disruptive behaviour at this point, they will both excel at chess and become winners at tournament level.
CASE STORY 2
'White on the right'
There is complete silence for Mr Leslie's preliminary remarks. He stands at the front of the classroom and has already pinned a large chess display board to the black board. This is a magnetic board. Mr Leslie begins by explaining that he is not a teacher, thus he asserts, 'You can call me David or Mr Leslie', similarly Elaine or Miss Rutherford. Miss Rutherford is sat in the front table of the classroom, by the door, which is permanently open. The children are sat four at a table. There is one other adult in the room. At this point I am still a stranger sitting behind a pile of files. I have not been introduced and I feel ill at ease. I am sure all the children must be wondering: who is this other stranger in our midst?
Mr Leslie's preamble emphasises a number of points, 'Chess is fun, it is a friendly game; children have large brains; only adults find chess difficult.' The children obviously enjoy this poking fun at the adults. He goes on to explain to the children that they will soon get a booklet about chess to take home. The lesson is introduced by a series of questions, "Does anyone know any moves?" This provokes a number of responses: "Pawns take diagonally," asserts one boy. "Knights move in an L shape", claims another pupil. One boy is a regular contributor. Mr Leslie reveals to me after the session that he knows the boy's sister, she is a year older and was taught by him last year. A family history of chess playing exists.
The coaching session continues. "Can anyone see the difference between the magnetic board and the board I have in my hand?" There are a number of responses: "One board has a wooden frame", suggests one pupil; "One has bigger letters"; interjects another and a third contributor offers, "One has lines". All responses are praised but Mr Leslie holds out for the key difference. He gives a clue, "Look at the bottom row". One of the girls has noticed that the final square on the board that Mr Leslie is holding is black, while on the magnetic board it is white. The girl is an absolute beginner to the game of chess. "White on the right", proclaims Mr Leslie reinforcing the discovery. "Now you know how to set up the pieces", he concludes.
CASE STORY 3
'The scene is set for a magic show.'
This is the second week. I take the first opportunity available to introduce myself as one of Mr Leslie's chess helpers. I explain that I will be taking notes and photos. I also inform the children that I will want to talk to them about their learning of the game of chess throughout the year. This feels a lot better. The children seem to accept my role without any complaint or comment.
The class is noticeably quiet; all are concentrating on news and up-dates from the week previous. However there is one boy who fidgets continually. Mr Leslie addresses him jokingly - querying whether he is also a 'good dancer' as well as a continual fidget. The boy is embarrassed. He is then asked directly to solve the next problem presented to the class. It is suggested that this boy will learn the names of all 64 squares in less than 2 minutes. The whole class let out an audible gasp of incredulity. The boy protests that he cannot possibly undertake this task.
Despite these protests, he is invited to stand at the magnetic board, in front of the whole class. The scene is set for a magic show. Can the boy complete the trick? All eyes are focussed on the magnetic board. The board is empty of pieces but numbers and letters are in sequence round the edges. The rows on the magnetic board are numbered 1-8. This is shown. It is then pointed out that the files are lettered a-h.
Squares a1, then b2 are identified by Mr Leslie. The boy is asked to name the next square. The reply is c3, and then other squares are named as e5 and h8 until everyone in the class realises that this boy can name all the 64 squares on the board. The rabbit has indeed been pulled from the hat!
The boy is astounded at his success and so is the whole class. "All in less than 2 minutes!" emphasises Mr Leslie. The coaching session continues. Other pupils in the class are chosen individually to identify a range of squares. Mr Leslie relays to all the children that they have just learned a new language -a 'chess language' and that it will help them with their maths.
CASE STORY 4
'That is a really good move: and you call that, protecting.'
Mr Leslie has just finished a brief recap. Today they are going to learn about the bishop. "Now I am going to hand over to Elaine ", he announces. Miss Rutherford then proceeds. "OK excellent, the bishop. I think it is actually, probably my favourite piece. I'm not sure why. But these ones move on diagonals." She goes to the magnetic board and traces the line of a diagonal and places a black and white bishop on the board. "This one is a dark bishop and this one is a light bishop. They can never meet. They can spend their whole lives and they never meet each other. They can never land on the same square, as this one only goes on light squares, and this one only goes on dark squares. They can't jump over anything, not like a knight, which can jump over pieces. These ones can't move - if there's pawns in the way. They only move as far as they want and there's nothing blocking them. The bishops are very powerful as well. They can move a long way and they are really good pieces for taking things with."
She continues, "OK here is a little challenge. I'll show you a little game. Can anyone see a really good move for black now? I can see 1, 2, 3, 4 good moves for black. Let's see if we can spot them. Because if we don't do anything good then this bishop is going to take this pawn for nothing and we don't want that to happen. So we have to find ways to protect our pawn." Miss Rutherford is looking at one boy who seems to offer a hesitant answer, "What do you think?" encourages Miss Rutherford. The boy has decided; he proclaims "a8 to b8". Miss Rutherford responds, "Yea, a8 to b8! That is a really good move. Can you explain why that's a good move?' exhorts. The boy responds, "Because f1 can attack b5 and if that attacks that and that, then b8 can attack that." Miss Rutherford sounds impressed. "Yea, that's exactly right", she says. "Yea, a really good move. And that would be a good swap for black, wouldn't it? Because black has won a whole bishop and white has only won a pawn and we know a Bishop is worth three points and a pawn is worth only one. So that was really excellent, that was a really good move there. And you call that protecting. You have protected that pawn. You have saved it from danger."
CASE STORY 5
'Learning is co-operative and it is rapid.'
Elaine Rutherford is introduced to the class at this point. It is explained that she is now going to teach the pawn moves. She is reminded immediately by one boy that it is white pieces that start the game. "Although pawns can move 1 or 2 squares on opening they can only do this once", explains Miss Rutherford. "Pawns can only move forward, they cannot retreat or go to the side. Pawns can only capture diagonally." All these rules are illustrated on the magnetic board.
The children are asked to set up the pawns on the board. In the general hubbub of the setting up of the pieces a 'chess myth' circulates that if you knock over your king, you've lost the game. Mr Leslie detects some of these conversations and play is interrupted. "Accidents are allowed" it is explained. A buzz of chatter and excitement, something would describe to me at another time as 'chess noise' fills the classroom. I notice that at the table opposite me, Tony is struggling to get the first move of the pawn correct. Miss Rutherford has also noticed this and Tony is approached by Miss Rutherford, who is now seated beside Tony and Jack. She intervenes each time a mistake is made to show the correct move. This is something Tony's opponent does as well. Learning is co-operative and it is rapid. Both Mr Leslie, Miss Rutherford and the class teacher circulate from table to table. There are different styles of intervention. Mr Leslie queries one of the girls. "What are you trying to do? If you do this (showing) you win. If you do that (moving piece) you lose. Miss Rutherford questions Jack, "What happens if you take this pawn? How does this affect that pawn? That's a clever move." Meanwhile Tony has made a winning move. "I like chess!" There is then a clapping of hands and a shout of "I'm a good chess player!" Even in this very initial phase of coaching, some children are taught to think two moves ahead rather than one. It is noticeable that some children learn and then forget moves quite quickly, making a mistake and then re - learn.
CASE STORY 6
'There is a disturbance at the back of the room'
Coaching sessions don't always go according to plan. This morning, the computer suite is still not ready and there are still problems with networking the chess software. Thus at the start of today's session there are no chess sets, no computers and no magnetic board. Mr Leslie introduces this news to the class, ironically - "I'm very sorry, children, some bad news: the computer suite is not ready today, so we will just have to play chess in the classroom!" There erupts a great cheer of delight.
Mr Leslie begins the teaching of the role of the king by explaining, "Today we want to look at what the king can and cannot do. The idea of chess is to attack your opponent's king so that it cannot escape from the attack. And there are two words that you will come across quite a lot during the game." He continues, "Well one of them is called check, and the other, which you will only ever come across once which is?" A chorus of 'mate!' echoes through the room. Suddenly, there are lots of interruptions and interventions by the class teacher. There is a disturbance at the back of the room. One of the boys is under a table and will not move. The class teacher is scolding a second boy. Mr Leslie has also been forced to intervene, "Turn you chair round," he exhorts one of the boys, "So that I can see you and spot if you want to answer a question." Mr Leslie continues the coaching session, "The difference between check and check mate is that with check the king is being attacked, but when it is check mate the king can't escape from attack. When it is check it means that there is an escape route."
At this point a table is kicked over and the class teacher has now lost all patience, she exhorts the boy in no uncertain terms, '"Would you like to leave my classroom now please, your behaviour is not suitable! I'm sorry boys and girls, just try and concentrate on what we are doing." The class teacher is forced to address the boy for a second time, "I would like you to leave." There is a sullen silence until moments later the head teacher enters the room to announce to the boy under the table, "You are coming with me, now!" The boy immediately rises from under the table and leaves with the head teacher. Mr Leslie returns to his task, it is 10 minutes into the coaching session.
CASE STORY 7
'You need to sit and watch them play a whole game.'
It is the last week of the first term. Mr Leslie discusses the situation. Now they all know how to move the pieces and have got the idea of check - mate. They know most of the rules, but they don't always apply the rules. They don't always move the pieces to the best advantage for their game. For instance, some of the less confident kids will move all their pawns - they won't move any of their stronger pieces, and I think that just comes from a lack of confidence. In fact there was one girl, she wouldn't answer any questions I asked, if I specifically asked her a question, she wouldn't answer. I watched a game she played. She lost all her pieces. I sat with her for 10 minutes and went over a few things, pointed out a few things. We had a game and she did well. I got a child whom she hadn't beaten before, sat her down. I didn't make any comments. I just looked, and when she looked at me, I just looked back at her and expected her to follow the instructions I had just given her. She completely wiped out that player. She got check mate in about 10 moves. That is the kind of thing that can be done once we have identified the players who have a lack of confidence. I have been taking pairs to play a game under my eye, because a classroom setting when you are moving from table to table - dealing with problems and so on - you can't follow through a game and you can't watch and see why a person has lost all their pieces. There must be a reason. You need to sit and watch them play a whole game. That's when you can pick up on these things and you can take them aside and give them the extra tuition to pin-point exactly what they are doing wrong and improve. You can widen their thought process, to take in all the information that is available on the board and process it in a logical fashion So that is what we are hoping to do - increase confidence.
CASE STORY 8
'I think there's big possibilities for Kenneth.'
Mr Leslie reflects on the situation with regard to one boy in particular. At one stage, just 2 or 3 weeks before Xmas he had a tantrum in the class and he was suspended from (one week) chess club and one tournament at Northfield, but since then he has really improved. And 2 weeks ago when I was trying to identify the pupils who would be invited to the Perth tournament, I sat in the second half of a Thursday morning session and I watched 2 pupils in particular creating mayhem in the class. They were running around, trying to get others involved, but K just sat. He continued with his work. He didn't get involved and I think that was a great plus. And I think he is one of the pupils who will benefit greatly, I think there's big possibilities for K. He has got an older brother in P7, who also plays in the after-school club. I invited him to come along with the P4s to Perth, and both of them did really well. In fact the older brother, I was very impressed with his attitude. Both have got an interest in the game. They have developed a love of just taking part in the tournaments. Their dad came along to Perth and it was a branching out into the kind of contacts we want to make. To establish the family relationships, get parents involved and so on.
CASE STORY 9
'It hasn't turned them suddenly into Goody Two Shoes - we wouldn't want that.'
At one point in the interview the Behaviour Support Teacher explained his initial reservations with regard to the introduction of chess. 'I would just like to say I taught at Mschool, and came back from working in London. When I came back they told me there was a chess club and I thought 'Good God!' I must admit I thought…(no way) and people said…'You have got to see it' and I must admit I have just been quite amazed by what I have seen and by the effects that it has had. Maybe some people looking in would not be able to see it, but I know. It hasn't turned them suddenly into 'Goody Two Shoes' - but we wouldn't want that. The teacher went on to point out:
'But what it has done - it has for some children extended their ways of thinking, it has changed some sort of behaviour - especially playing that game It has given some children, who had no concept of how to socialise and play together, it has given them some etiquette and rules, very strict rules. For some children it has also given a sense of achievement. It is seen as something so difficult - this great game of chess and not only have they been able to play it, but go to competitions, they have also been able to teach other people…adults… and these are quite major things. Some of the teachers in the school who don't play, some of the kids have taught them moves and they have enjoyed (this). It's had that kind of self - esteem building without a shadow of a doubt we've certainly found that in the Centre. So much so, that I have spoken to my Co-ordinator about seeing if we could extend the use of chess within the Behaviour Centres in the city. I am totally convinced that there I something there, I really am. One of the most wonderful things is how it has just become part of the place. Yes. It has become quite a thing 'You dinna' mess with chess!' - I never thought I would say that!'
CASE STORY 10
'Don't think I am that daft!'
The boys sit opposite each other and shake hands prior to the first move being made. Charles quickly responds to Stuart's first hesitant moving of a piece, "You touched that piece. Touch move!" Stuart responds by acknowledging the rule and makes the first move. "That's a bad move to start off with," Charles informs his opponent. I question Charles as to why this might be a bad move. Charles proceeds to offer an analysis: "Because you have to protect your king and people coming in might score your queen. Say someone comes in, they could just go, bang! (illustrating the weak defence) and take the queen. Because, if there's not a pawn there, they could just break through and hit that." Charles then offers another piece of advice to his opponent. "You can still move 2, with any pawn at the start you can move 2."
Charles's opponent is slightly wary of this generosity of opening move advice, "I know what you are like, Charles" he replies rather warily. To which Charles replies with indignation, "No, I am not kidding, I am just saying." Both players proceed to make a number of moves until the silence is broken by Charles's claim, "No one knows my tricks. Just set up your army right, then we will start capturing." Stuart replies, slightly irritated, "I am setting them all up". Charles scans the new situation once the armies now face each other, pawns lined up nose to nose. "You can catch that one now" he explains to his friend. Stuart smells a rat, "Don't' think I am that daft!", he retorts "So you can then catch my Queen!"
Both boys show a good grasp of all the legal moves. Within a period of 6 or 7 minutes they enter the final phase of the end game, checking and counter checking. Charles is a much stronger player than Stuart but the game ends in a stale mate. Charles has missed many obvious check mate options. I intervene at the end by congratulating the boys on a good game and Stuart in particular for gaining a draw. I suggest they shake hands and put the pieces back in their boxes. "Warts!" claims Charles peering at his opponents outstretched hand. "There's not", exclaims Stuart, "Look at my hand." Both shake hands and silently tidy the pieces into the boxes.
CASE STORY 11
'All my family can play chess.'
My name is Gloria, I've got 7 brothers and 3 sisters. My oldest sister does not stay with me, she is 18 years old. My little sister and brother are at nursery. I go to primary 6 (at the same school). I go to breakfast club in the morning at 7.15am. My two brothers go too. G is 11 years old and S is 8 years old. I am taller than my brother G but he is older than me. My sister F is 6 years old and she goes to breakfast club too.
All my family can play chess. I always play it with my dad. He sometimes can beat me. I am the 18th best in Scotland, ages out of 21 years old. My two brothers can play chess as well. They really enjoy chess. I have got 5 trophies and 6 medals and 3 certificates. I started playing chess when I was in primary 4. Mr Leslie showed me how to play chess. I am very good. I have been playing chess for 2 years now. I think chess is very interesting, it is very enjoyable. I would like to be a Chess Master when I am older. My dad said that I would be a very good chess player. I would like chess to keep going on at the schools. So other people could play chess too. My grade is 509, or less than that.
CASE STORY 12
'There is a growing crowd of parents and children.'
It is a Saturday morning in mid June 2004. I am first to arrive in the car park of Northfield Academy. It is about 11am. As I get out of my car, Mr Leslie and his teenage son also arrive by car. "Just in time for some work," Mr Leslie shouts, as he goes to open the boot of his car and all 4 doors. The car is laden with boxes of chess sets, PC lap tops, bags of crisps, bottles of orange juice and boards displaying an assortment of laminated photographs of chess events over the past year.
The main hall of Northfield Academy is largely empty. Two women are busy in the kitchen area. As I approach them I discover that one of the women is the parent of a girl who has become very involved in chess play throughout the year. This woman is an active participant in the local Community Centre - a committee member who is also a part time worker as well as a volunteer. Both women are Community Centre workers as well as community activists. They are the tuck shop organisers today.
I recognise the first children to enter the empty hall. One boy arrives with his elder brother. A lone girl is present as well. She is the daughter of the tuck shop worker. All three children gravitate to the boxes of chess sets and proceed to help with the setting up of the boards on the twenty or so empty tables around the hall. A number of other assistants and helpers begin to arrive. Families start to trickle in around 11.30am. I recognise another family of chess players. The mother is an active parent in the school PTA and her children have been regular Community Centre participants in the environmental project - the John Muir Award scheme for children and parents.
Most parents head straight for the display boards that now take up a large area of wall space. There is a growing crowd of parents and children peering at the lists of names and scores. The display material identifies the Grand Prix points won by the 131 tournament participants throughout the year and the list of 38 children who have now entered the ranks of graded Scottish players. Many photographs are also on display depicting the events and activities of the children throughout the year.
Two Chess Development Assistants have now arrived. One is an Aberdeen University student, soon to travel to Vietnam and Thailand over the summer break. The other young man is a final year school student awaiting Higher results and hoping to begin an Engineering degree course at Aberdeen university in the autumn. One helps to set up the lap top PCs. This will allow parents and children to view and use some examples of chess software. Another table is quickly organised as a book stall where an assortment of chess literature is on display at second hand rates.
The tournament is now almost ready to begin. Tables are organised to facilitate games where novices can play each other, graded players at another set of tables, parent are also invited to have a few games. A man standing at my side offers the challenge of a game. I accept and we sit amongst a small group of parent chess players. He has driven across town to attend the tournament. His son is an active participant in one of the after school clubs. He tells me that he first learned to play the game at primary school in Inverness where a teacher had introduced the game to his class. "It a gift for life" is how he describes this experience of learning to play chess. It is his son's involvement in the chess club that has re-ignited his passion for the game.
I recognise some parents from Mschool at the chess playing tables. There are 3 boys from the class here today. The class teacher is also present. She mentions it is the first time she has attended a tournament. As the tournament is underway there are perhaps almost 100 people in the hall. Two women, one younger, one older, interrupt my game with the young man. They are mother and grandmother and want to learn the rudiments of the game. "Can you organise beginners classes for parents and grandparents at the Community Centre in the autumn?" one of the women enquires. I promise to investigate the possibility and take their names and addresses.
As the morning continues, my game is scrutinised periodically by each of the three Mschool P4 children, who come across to pass on the details of the results of their games. The morning ends with a prize giving ceremony. I note that one of the main awards is given to a boy who began the year as a complete beginner and member of the chess coaching class at Mschool. Mr Leslie later informs me he is one of the latest to enter the list of graded Scottish players. This is the final tournament of the NOF project. "End of an era," remarks Mr Leslie as the tables and chairs are tidied away.
 The Big Lottery was formed in the summer of 2004 by an amalgamation of the Community Fund and the New Opportunities Fund.
 First report of the NOF Out of School Hours Learning Initiatives Co - ordinator, August 2001.
 Source: New Communities/Changing Children's Services in Neighbourhood Services North.
 Wilson (2000) identifies a number of methods that teachers have tried: Feuerstein's Instrumental Enrichment (1980); Edward de Bono's (1991) 'thinking hats'; the Somerset Thinking Skills Course in Blagg et al (1988); Cognitive Acceleration Through Science Education and Philosophy for Children in Fisher (1990, 1995). The introduction of chess play to the curriculum is not identified.
 Where lots of the potential contacts know each other.
 The Rowan Group is a focus for policy - related research on young people's education and general wellbeing. It builds on a long tradition of work in this vein carried out under the banner of the Centre for Educational Research. url: http//www.abdn.ac.uk/rowangroup
 Joint interviewing (Arskey, 1996) involves a researcher talking to two people for the purposes of collecting information about how an event or set of circumstances is mutually perceived. This setting is designed to create a more secure environment for the child. Interviews were tape recorded.
 The case stories are supplied in full as Appendix 1
I identify Mr Leslie as the Chess Development Worker throughout the report. In certain case stories he is identified in other less formal terms by children, parents and staff.
 Baseline mean test scores for the experimental and control groups are illustrated in Section 5 (p60) of this report, where Fig1(i) and Fig1(ii) identifiy a comparison of baseline and improvement scores before and after the chess coaching intervention during the whole school year 2003-2004.
 The Base, as it was known at the time of these observations now has a different title. It is now the Behaviour Support Centre. The BSC takes up to 12 pupils referred via a Board, from the Aberdeen North ASGs. There are 3 teaching members of staff and 4 teaching assistants.
 The class teacher began teaching in 1974 and worked until 1979 before having a break to start a family. She returned to supply teaching in 1989 and started work at Mschool in 1993.
 The Novice Training Schedule is a 40 page publication written and designed by the Chess Development Worker, published by Aberdeen City Council with funding from the Aberdeen Adult Literacy and Numeracy Action Plan Partnership.
 The Chess Novice Schedule
 Elaine Rutherford joined the Chess development Project as a part -time assistant during 2002. She was a first year Aberdeen University medical student and one - time world amateur chess champion.
 A person is placed in a group according to their standard - for each game that the child wins they get one point and to reach 15 points they are awarded a silver medal - achieve 25 points and they are awarded a gold medal and 40 points is the top target for which they receive a silver cup.
 See Appendix One, Case Story Twelve for an account of this event.
 The total scores of behaviours in the categories yield the following ten scores. Under the general rubric of Under-reaction fall, Unforthcomingness, Withdrawal, Depression, and Non-syndromic Under-reaction, followed by Under-reaction, a cumulative score for these four scores. Under the general rubric of Over-reaction fall, Inconsequence, Hostility, Peer-maladaptiveness and Non-syndromic Over-reaction followed by Over-reaction, a cumulative score for these four scores.
 Social adjustment scores were not available at follow up for the non-intervention group of pupils at Dschool primary school (ie group III).
 Given the quantitative element to the research was designed as one part of a small-scale pilot study, using mixed methods of data collection, the level for statistical significance for group differences on test scores is set as 'marginal' at a = 0.10, although in the analysis, key results are statistically significant at the more stringent level of a = 0.05.