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Teachers Manual and Lesson Plans - updated from New England Youth Bridge, Inc.

I am pleased to announce availability of an updated Teachers Manual and Lesson Plans of New England Youth Bridge, Inc.

The Teachers Manual and Lesson Plans are intended for use solely by teachers of bridge to youth.  They are available from links found on this page of ACBL website (under “Additional School Teaching Materials” and “New England Youth Bridge …”) and this page of New England Youth Bridge website (on first line under Lesson Plans).

Because the Manual and Plans are designed for the teaching of bridge to youth, each lesson plan is short (about 10-15 minutes), leaving much time for the youth to do what they want most: to play.

Here are some excerpts from introductory material to the Manual and Plans:

“The materials that follow in this document represent the integration of two distinct sets of documents:

1.  A series of flowcharts that are to be shared with students and used by teachers and students as: (a) learning tools for the duration of the instruction time; and (b) guidelines to be used by students to help them for the duration of the playing time.  Many of the flowcharts are layered:  As a new lesson is taught, the flowchart that was used during the previous lessons is updated, so that the flowchart retains the information that was learned during the previous lessons and supplements that information with new information that is learned in the current lesson.  

2.  A series of lesson plans – accompanied by illustrations of card combinations, card layouts, or charts, intended for the teacher to help the teacher “flesh out” some Teaching Steps that can be derived from sharing the new information on each flowchart.

The individual lesson plans that follow are intended to take only the first 10 to 15 minutes of each class.  Even that limited time is intended to be spent in interactive instruction.  Each lesson plan adopts a particular construct.  Each lesson plan first states the overall Objectives of the lesson plan and then suggests individual Teaching Steps* to achieve the Objectives.  (The Teaching Steps are intended to help the teacher identify key instructional elements of the material; they are not intended to “script” the way such elements are raised to the class.  What works best with one class can differ from what works best with another set of students.)  If the teacher wishes, the Objectives of the lesson can be converted into bullet points highlighted on an easel or blackboard.  Of course, each teacher can assess how adequately their students are achieving the Objectives and adjust how much of an Objective should be deferred until the next lesson or advanced from the next lesson.

The general sequencing of lessons is for students to learn as follows:

-  the concepts of winning tricks and following the inviolable rules of Bridge such as playing in clockwise order, following suit, counting tricks by the partnership, etc.

-  the concept of having a contract for a specified number of tricks and the roles of declarer, dummy, and the defenders

-  the fundamentals of mini-Bridge, including the counting of HCP to identify the declarer and the level of the contract, the scoring for making or defeating a contract, and the achieving of potential bonuses by contracting for games or slams

-  the importance of declarer formulating a plan for the play of a contract

-  techniques for declarer to develop more winners

-  the concept of suit contracts, using trumps, including techniques for declarer to eliminate losers

-  defensive play to counter declarer’s plan for the play of a contract

-  and, finally, bidding (we teach 2/1, but with few conventions other than Stayman and takeout doubles)

The general purpose of the lessons on play and defense is to “think like a bridge player”, to formulate a goal for the hand and to consider various techniques to plan to achieve the goal.  Accordingly, when presenting the lesson plans on play and defense, the teacher should attend to distinguishing the very few rules of bridge (such as following suit) from the very plentiful guidelines (such as “second hand low”), so that the students understand the difference and recognize that each hand has to be analyzed on its merits.

As the student chooses to further pursue bridge – by practice, by study, by being mentored – we anticipate that the student will retain the processes learned during the lessons on play and defense and build upon them. 

* Many of the teaching steps in card play are derived from Fred Gitelman’s “Learn to Play Bridge” software program that is available as a free download from the Bridge Base Online website.  Many of the pre-sorted hands are derived from bridge author Eddie Kantar and are used with his permission.  Many of the teaching steps in bidding are derived from Audrey Grant’s ACBL Bridge Series “Bidding in the 21st Century”.”

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