SMART is a learning method recommended for games which has been developed by ChessPlus based upon decades of experience gained by the leading chess trainers across Europe. The approach has been endorsed by the academic advisory panel to the Education Commission of the European Chess Union. It is within the range of didactic techniques known as Active Learning in which the emphasis is on children discovering game insights for themselves in a supervised option-rich environment.
In a nutshell, there are five elements to the SMART® approach:
S Self learning
A Adjustment of level
R Range of activities
To learn you have to try options for yourself. It does not matter how much a teacher talks and shows examples, if the pupil does not get the chance to play, try and solve tasks on their own, then the learning experience will be limited.
Why play and develop your chess? This is the fundamental question that must be answered by the chess instructor in respect of each one of their pupils. The most important thing for a chess teacher is to motivate the children to learn and play chess.
Adjustment of level
If you want to develop the natural interest and enthusiasm of children you must adjust the tasks and exercises to stretch them to their limit. They should play others of a similar level in order to gain satisfaction from play.
Range of activities
To maintain their motivation for learning, and to avoid the possibility of boredom, there must be variety in all possible ways – how the lesson is presented, the activities undertaken and the types of interaction between the children.
New online learning tools have made it possible to customise learning to a personal level. On the other hand, it is important to focus on chess played with real pieces since the psychological impact is greater.
The ECU School Chess Teacher Training course reveals the SMART® Method through a structured series of exercises.