Mathematics is difficult and uninteresting" is a stereotype that every math teacher has to deal with before inviting students to go through the door of knowledge that opens up to them.
In the path of my personal professional development, I am persistently looking for interesting things that would bring students closer to mathematics and show them that it is worth the effort. Every new generation is a new challenge, but every generation is very different from the previous one. Already at the beginning of the fifth grade, a great difference was seen in relation to the previous generation, both in the ability to maintain attention on time as well as in interpersonal behavior. Such a situation meant that I also had to adapt and invent some new content that could help overcome the difficulties encountered. This generation had all the features of the so-called. A "click" generation that has barely so much patience to hear just something quick and brief. However, mathematics is a science that requires patience and does not know the term instant lessons! In addition to that impatience, there was also an increased level of aggression among them. All this has led to the fact that a project, which has long formed in my head, has seen the light of the day. The additional motive was certainly the award for the Best Educator of the Serbian Association "Živojin Mišić" which I received in 2015 and made my efforts so meaningful and acknowledged.
Therefore, in an attempt to overcome the arisen difficulties, in January 2016, within my mathematics section, I started training where children could learn to play the thought game go, whose beauties and benefits I discovered at a young age. I say training, because, in fact, mental sports are organized through the Go Federation of Serbia, within the Ministry of Sports. go, čije sam lepote i dobrobiti otkrila još u mladosti. Kažem treninge, jer je go, zapravo, misaoni sport organizovan kroz Go savez Srbije, u sklopu Ministarstva sporta.
Go Go (an international name that can’t be translated) is the oldest thought game in the world. It originated in China around 2250 BC. Legend has it that this game was created because the then Chinese emperor, dissatisfied with his son's progress, ordered his ministers to come up with a game that would contribute to his faster development of abilities, start his imagination and the development of logical thinking. For many people in Asia, go is still more than a game today. Understanding and planning, as well as a high level of commitment and concentration, are woven into the saying that in Japan or China, one who does not understand gocannot understand the richness of life well. The rules of the game are very simple: two players play alternately, placing black and white stones on a board measuring 19 × 19 fields. The stones are placed at the intersections of the lines and are static, ie. once placed the stone cannot be moved. Attaching one stone to another, the players slowly form a wall enclosing their territory. The goal of the game is to capture the opponent's stones and fence as much territory on the board as possible and thus gain points. However, after learning the rules, the possibilities for combining expand to complex proportions. Strategy and tactics are very important in this game. go-Intuition and feeling are expressed in go, and because of its beauty, subtlety and intellectual depth, it has occupied the human imagination for centuries. Unlike chess, go it has an almost unlimited number of combinations (scientists have shown that there are more of them than atoms in space). After each chess move, there are an average of 35 possibilities for further course of the game, while after each move in the gothere are on average 250 different ways to further combine.
While researching the topic of introducing goto school, I came to the realization that I was not really a pioneer of such an endeavor. Go was first introduced to schools in Japan. Japanese master goYasuda Yasutoshi, shocked by the story of the tragic death of a school student, which turned out to be a consequence of peer violence, decided to do something. asuda started teaching children from kindergarten the simplest versiongoachers soon began to notice that, as a result of playing go, socializing among children expanded and improved, as did their concentration. goChildren aged 4-6 years managed to maintain concentration for more than an hour.Due to the large number of combinations in the game, the same situation in different games is impossible, goo the children developed their concentration trying to predict the opponent's move. This type of activity was not previously present in the education of children of this age. Yasuda further transferred the program to primary schools, and later to special schools. Children who behaved violently or tended to isolate themselves discovered a new way of communicating with the environment. Yasuda's project began to build intergenerational channels of communication that erased the boundaries of economic development. Through encounters with the elderly in nursing homes, children learned to be considerate of others, becoming more independent and confident. Soon, more than 10,000 children and adults participated in the project! These experiences from Japan were later applied in France, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Poland… In the USA, Yasuda's book with gowas distributed to teachers who wanted to apply this program, they printed materials for students, believing that learning this game will contribute to their better development. Go has become a phenomenon in American schools. Scientists claim that it go improves children's intellectual development and executive functions, while teachers claim that it reduces violence and frustration. Program gothat is now being implemented in high schools in the United States shows that thanks to it, the results of enrollment in colleges have improved.
After reading this motivational story, I became sure that this activity is the right thing to do. Since the rules are not very complicated, and since children love games anyway, it didn't take me much persuasion to fill the classroom in the first practice. The kids were just thrilled! We even practiced over the holidays (although many were surprised that I was coming to school, even though I didn't have to)! That feeling that you are on the right path, the awakened curiosity in the children, the gratitude of the parents that the children were offered a nice activity over the holidays, simply pull you further. At their request, we would meet 3 times a week in my office and practice hard. I had selfless help from friends and excellent go masters from the Pro Go club, both with their knowledge and by equipping the cabinet with go sets. go, both with their knowledge and by equipping the cabinet with go.
After a month, my students had the opportunity to try out their first tournament. Go Go club Pro Go traditionally organizes the Sretenje tournament, which had to be extended to 2 days last year due to the large number of participants - my students. The thrill for the medals we provided for the best ones was completed by a nice gathering during these two days.
When a project comes to life, the beauty of its realization is reflected in the fact that you do not know exactly how far all the activities will take you. So we were thrilled that we had the opportunity to be participants in the European Junior Go Championship in gowhich was held for the first time in Serbia, in Palić.Additional fundraising and sponsor animation activities followed. Over 250 children from all over Europe participated in the championship, including 11 of my students, who formed the backbone of the Serbian national team. And again, nice socializing with peers from Europe, playing go-everywhere and in every place: on the bus, on the phone, in the hotel - every game is a new challenge that allows you to strengthen your self-confidence. All this strengthened their will, perseverance and desire to be even better. Through competitions, they learned how to come out of defeat stronger and turn defeat into victory. And I discovered that I could be in a new role of a sports leader and I have to admit that I liked that role very much, so I was motivated for further efforts.
One activity produced another, so the following happened: in April the team state championship, in May the school championship opened, in September the state junior championship, in October the state championship for all ages. Our training was also visited by the Japanese cultural attaché, Mr. Yuichiro Omori, who on that occasion expressed his enthusiasm for our activities and the large number of children involved in them. Since September, we at the Regional Center for Education of Employees in Education in Niš have continued to popularize go juniors, where the project was called the Club of Thought Games, and the realization and funds were provided by the Center for Science Promotion which recognized the positive idea of introducing go-in schools.
Now that I am listing all these activities that have been achieved in just one year, I myself realize how much enthusiasm has been invested, how much energy and commitment to make this idea come true. It is time to ask myself: has the expected effect been achieved? During all our activities, I carefully observed how much it contributed to the change in children's behavior. go The first thing that could be noticed was that the atmosphere during the training was always positive, there was a good mood and there were no conflicts or quarrels. As younger and older children joined us over time (the youngest student was only 5 years old, and the oldest 17), it could be noticed that the knowledge and experience transfer among children at different levels, so it was an opportunity for peer education. Older children did not hesitate to play with younger ones, older and more experienced with beginners, and everyone listened carefully to the goWe taught them to respect the opponent, to shake hands after the end of the game and to thank the opponent for the game, as required by the customs in Japan. Thus, we tried to nurture good behavior, which is sometimes lacking in modern generations. Also, playing had a calming effect on them, so even the most temperamental ones became more patient over time. They also learned to skillfully search for similar applications on the phone or computer. The friendship between them also improved, and that was especially noticeable when going to competitions. It was also important for me that I noticed that some children improved their achievements in mathematics during this game and developed a dose of persistence to get good grades with work and effort, as they did while mastering the skills of the go.
Personally, the whole project was a great challenge, but also the opportunity to professionally rise in a different way. I have never been a teacher who performs the same preparations from year to year, because this would be boring to me firstly and then to children as well. I'm always attracted by new ideas, and their realization gives me new energy that empowers me in my professional competencies. And energy is "addictive" because students learn by model, looking at their teachers. Additional engagement of teachers with students causes respect and allows us to become something more than a lecturer to become leaders!You can see our little go-story at https://youtu.be/46qH0SXAmvA.