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Best Practices Workshop

Best Practices is the relatively new program that ACBL and Grace Major developed to teach prospective teachers how to teach. If I have this right, it is not so much how to teach bridge as just how to teach. OK. I'm cool with that. I do have problems though with the obvious. 

So the student goes through the course and learns standard methods for becoming a relatively effective instructor. Then what? From what I've seen, then what, is almost nothing.

1. Because of political correctness, no teaching material is allowed to be recommended. What actually happens is that everything under the sun is thrown out rather haphazardly on an eight foot long table for these newly minted teachers to peruse and decide for themselves which material best speaks to them. Like they have a clue. They've never taught before! I've seen "5 weeks to Winning Bridge" on the table. Now that's the book I learned on. Today that title would have to be something like "5 years to winning bridge" because of how much is packed into every page. You all know that today's students come to our beginner classes with almost no knowledge of cards. Fifty years ago we didn't need to start out with an ace beats a deuce or a discusion of what trumping is. Everyone played cards. No one does today unless it's Magic. Beginner books from twenty or thirty or fifty years ago today are really more advanced beginner books and should be sold as such. Find good beginner material and recommend the hell out of it.

2. Certification. Why not have a two tier certification? The lower level when you finish the course and the upper level after you complete a rigorous training period at your local bridge center. There are teaching clubs all over the country. Maybe not as many as you might think. But each one of those clubs would love to have additional help with teaching. Maybe to give free makeup lessons, assist in supervised plays,  or act as teacher helpers in large classes. It is a win/win. It works because it benefits both the new teacher and the club. The new teacher gets hands on experience and coaching. The club gets an extra set of hands. When the club manager, the club teacher, or the club sanction holder feels their charge is ready to go out on their own, they recommend that they be given that next level of certification. They may even offer them their first paying job.

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