What seems easy for us can be much more difficult for kids. So if you are able to break the learning process down into small blocks they will able to grasp it quickly and effectively.
Recently I joined another school as a chess coach. Our topic today was to teach them the basic two rooks checkmate or staircase mate.
My teaching method is a series of questions and answers because it increases participation and breaks the process down:
So I start with the question; which leg you move first while walking, the front one or the back one?
The majority answered that it is the front one, but afterwards they realised that the back one is the right answer.
Immediately after this I show them the position below and explain that rook on a1 is your back leg and the one on b2 is your front leg. I then ask them which they would move first and remind them they need to walk rather than jump!
In this way I have succeeded in teaching them what the staircase mate is, but there are two parts still remaining:
– What to do when you are attacked by the king (it is not wise to include this in the first step as the chances for getting confused are greater)?
– Rotating the position so that it occurse along the files instead of the ranks.
In the first step I deliberately kept my king away from the rooks. With the following position I ask them if it is not now possible to move the rook to a3 as otherwise the king can capture your rook on b2. So in this position it is important to remember to move to the right side if you are on left and vice versa.
Once again the students understood everything.
Third Step: Mate Along the Files
If you associate certain concepts with triggers there are better chances to remember it for a long time. So using a recent movie example (Dhoom 3 in India, where the hero played by Amir Khan walks on the wall of the high-rise buildings) I asked them howto move your rooks like Amir Khan walks.
(Little jokes/fun can do big jobs)
I felt that was the best lesson I have ever given because I got close to a 100% participation and managef to create a huge amount of interest.