On the 8th June, Institute 361 was invited to demonstrate the game of Wei Ch’i (Go) to students from year 9 at the prestigious Wesley College in South Perth.
The guest-visit was organised by Bon Zhao, a teacher in Chinese class, who saw a potential for the students to experience a new way of learning, and to engage with Chinese culture.
Schoolboy students, aged 14-16 years old, were interested in the history and the development of the game, and were quick to learn the basic rules before applying them in a real game. The dedicated time of 65 minutes quickly passed by and the students were reluctant to leave, not having finished the game. The lesson was designed in an engaging way and appealed naturally to the young people’s interest to playing various games (physical as well as in the virtual space) and curiosity to explore new ways of learning.
The lesson was structured in three parts. The beginning used conversational approach to find out about the interests of each students and to ask questions on what types of games they were interested and why. This was then followed by the introduction of Go as the oldest form of game, and the ultimate strategic game. The lesson was interweaved with Chinese cultural elements, which are deeply embedded in the strategic game of wei chi’i.
The second part of the lesson gave an insight into the three main rules of Go: capturing of liberties, the two-eyes rules and the rule of ko. Each student was able to place a stone on the board, to ask questions about the rules and to play out different scenarios.
The third part of the lesson allowed for the students to form two groups and to play a real 19×19 game. This approach worked well and appealed to the competitive nature of the young people, while also teaching them how to work together in a group by exploring different strategic tactics.
This was the first time that Institute 361 was able to teach Go in a class-environment and to learn from the feedback of students. The facilitator has experience in working with young people and with youth at risk through the project Ride AHEAD, which aimed to inspire young people to pursue higher education by employing mentoring, bike repairing, campus visits and career counselling.
Go did not fail to provide once again, as many centuries ago, o present a useful tool to engage young minds with learning, develop holistic learning skills as well as social skills.