The CBAI Teaching Programme

For many players, teaching bridge is a very worthwhile and satisfying experience.  In the interests of the students, it is essential that bridge teachers are themselves well trained.  The CBAI Teaching Programme, for players who wish to become accredited bridge teachers, consists of two parts – a preliminary test of basic competence, and then a weekend seminar for skills development and at which the candidate’s teaching abilities are assessed.

Before a candidate is accepted on to the programme they must first pass a test on bidding and card play (the pass mark for both is 70%).  These tests can be organised for you at a venue and date in your local area (within limits!).  You must familiarise yourself completely with the three CBAI Teaching Manuals, (Manual 1 – Basic Bidding, Manual 2 – Basic Card Play, and Manual 3 – More Advanced Bidding) and know your basic Acol thoroughly (4-card majors and Weak (12-14) NT is the standard that is being taught).  These manuals are available to buy from the CBAI (cost €30 each plus postage).  You can phone us with your debit/credit card number and we can send them out.  The purpose of these tests is to establish that candidates are competent in the basics of bridge before they can become teachers; you do not, however, need to be an expert player to teach bridge, certainly to beginners or in schools.

Once you pass both of these tests you will be invited to take part in the second element of the course which is a full weekend seminar.   This programme for the weekend consists of a series of sample classes given by professional teachers, a MiniBridge demonstration class, and sessions devoted to topics such as presentation skills and the use of Powerpoint, the resources available to bridge teachers, planning and preparing a class, etc.  There is a charge of €120 for the weekend, to include light refreshments.

Candidates are also required to prepare two lessons, on bridge topics of their choice, from which one will be chosen by the assessor for the candidate to demonstrate their teaching skills before a peer group.  Your preparation should include a lesson plan and objectives, handouts for the students, and sample hands for the students to play that illustrate the key points you want to get across.  Whilst the CBAI manuals may be used to assist with your preparation, the assessors will be looking for some evidence of independent thought – i.e. what is submitted should not simply be a regurgitation of the material from the manuals.  These lessons and the associated plans must be submitted no later than one week in advance of the relevant seminar.

Marks for the lesson assessment will be allocated under the following headings:

1. Preparation: evidence of having rehearsed, lesson notes, prepared deals, etc.

2. Content: one main topic, fundamentally correct in theory, organised and developed effectively

3. Presentation: introduction, recap of previous lesson, repetition, reinforcement, handling questions, recap, summing up etc.

4. Personal Skills: posture, body language, voice projection, eye-contact, dealing with questions, moving among tables etc.

5. Use of Visual Aids: cards, curtain cards, hand diagrams, flipchart, white or blackboard, projector, Powerpoint, etc.

It is assumed that the candidate will have their visual aids and practice hands prepared in advance.

We have also put together a list of recommended reading for teachers Recommended Reading List

Once qualified, teachers running classes are expected either to refer pupils to suitable local clubs for them to join, or run a novice club for their pupils themselves.  We request that all qualified teachers provide us with details of their classes for inclusion on the CBAI website and in our annual newsletter.  In addition, a good teacher will encourage those students who wish to develop their bridge skills beyond the beginner level to take further improver classes and to play in local, regional, and national competitions at the appropriate grade.

Prospective teachers could ask their clubs to sponsor their participation in the teacher training course.  Ultimately it is the clubs which benefit from the teacher’s work, with the inflow of new members which is critical to the health of many clubs.  For a minimal investment clubs can reap major long-lasting dividends.  A number of clubs throughout the country have already  done just that and their initiative is to be commended.

In addition, the CBAI provides continuous learning to accredited teachers, via a periodic programme of professional development seminars, designed to enable them to keep both the bridge skills and their teaching skills up to the highest standards.

If you would like to discuss becoming a bridge teacher, please call us on (01) 4929666 or at info@cbai.ie.

Bridge in Schools

There is strong evidence that learning bridge is a valuable source of development in young people.  It has positive impacts on a whole range of areas, including logic and problem-solving, mathematical reasoning, teamwork and communication, memory, and social skills.  In addition, playing the game can be a source of great enjoyment for children, and, as with most activities, the younger you learn, the more likely you are to become extremely proficient at it.  And from the school’s perspective, offering bridge, either in class (for example to transition year students) or as an after-school activity, offers an additional item on the menu of options provided to its students.  The top junior players have the opportunity to play annually in international competitions, which can be a source of prestige for them and for their school.

Many schools now include bridge in their pre-Junior Cert and/or transition year programmes, and we expect this to increase.  In countries like China and Poland, bridge is part of the national school curriculum.  If you are a school interested in offering bridge please to your students, please contact us on (01) 4929666 or at info@cbai.ie.

Teaching bridge in schools requires some additional skills to those required to teaching it to an adult audience.  The CBAI can assist prospective teachers in deciding whether they would be suitable for schools teaching.  If you are a bridge teacher interested in teaching in schools please contact us on (01) 4929666 or at info@cbai.ie.  Please note that teaching in schools is an activity that requires Garda vetting – this is organised via the school concerned.

Next Teacher Training Seminar

If you would like to become a CBAI-accredited bridge teacher, the next Teacher Training Seminar is planned for 18/19 May, at a venue to be confirmed, but which will be outside Dublin.

If you would like to register your interest for this or a future teacher training session, please contact Dermot at the CBAI (01-4929666), or email  info@cbai.ie for further details.

News for Teachers

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