District 8 is committed to furthering our game through education and recruiting programs directed to players of all ages. Education Coordinator for District 8 is Christopher Shaw Jr. of Carlinville. Chris works with bridge teachers and schools throughout the District to set up lesson programs, qualify for grants and publicize our successes.
Chris is also involved in bridge-education research. In 2006, he completed a study that found that children who play bridge perform significantly better on standardized tests than their non-bridge-playing counterparts. The bridge-playing students showed an increase in scores across all five core subject areas, with an astounding 39.11% increase in science. According to Chris, learning bridge has such a dramatic effect on test scores because the game develops inferential reasoning skills, which are otherwise difficult to teach to elementary students. A summary of his report is here.
Some of the current teaching programs in District 8 communities include:
Effingham schools received a $20,000 grant from the Gates-Buffet Foundation for bridge education.
The Springfield IL Bridge Club has had great success with EasyBridge programs for several years. The club has also offered the intermediate EasyBridge series.
Andrew Carver is teaching bridge to middle-school students in Edwardsville IL. He has also taught through the Continuing Education office at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.
Carlinville IL Middle School has a Monday-afternoon bridge club with 12 students who are completing the School Bridge Lesson Series.
Bernie Riley of Pekin is working to introduce the Bidittle "bridge to bridge" box game to grade schools in Central Illinois and form Bidittle clubs.
Chris visited Mt. Pleasant IA, where "Zip" Mittenberg launched a middle-school bridge program. Zip took the students to the Omaha Regional where they had lunch with Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. Chris and Zip are working on a committee that is planning a proposal to the Iowa State School Board to incorporate bridge into the curriculum. This effort could be the prototype for the same type of approach in Illinois and other states.
Chris is available to answer questions, provide lesson materials and assist teachers with all other aspects of organizing lessons and workshops. Contact him at email@example.com. Below are links to web sites that offer teaching materials, tips and for bridge teachers.