American Go E-Journal

Chicago Teens Learn Chinese and Go

Sunday September 4, 2011

“This summer, fifty high school students from the Chicago area attended the Startalk Learn Chinese program, and filled their summer vacation with an intensive college-level Chinese language experience,” reports Xinming Simon Guo, “sure, they were immersed in activities typical of a language program: listening, speaking, reading and writing in Chinese. What the students did not know they were in for was the use of weiqi (go) to help them understand Chinese culture and thinking. What’s the relationship between Chinese language learning and weiqi? Research from Wellcome Trust showed that Mandarin Chinese speakers use both sides of their brains to understand language, whereas English speakers use just the left hemisphere. Meanwhile in another research study, functional magnetic resonance imaging was used to compare the brain activities of people playing chess as opposed to weiqi. The result indicated that the right hemisphere of the weiqi players worked more actively than that of the chess players during the game. By being exposed to weiqi, Chinese language learners are more likely to tap both sides of the brain and learn Chinese more quickly.”  Guo and other teachers were involved in the project, which was held at Depaul University.  A full report on the program, and more photos, is here.  -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photo:

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