Disney II Magnet High School, in Chicago, IL, held their first go tournament on Feb 7th, to celebrate the Spring Festival, or Lunar New Year of 2017. More than 30 students from 7th to 12th grade registered for the 4-week single-elimination tournament. The final four winners were Calvin Huang, Edgar Venegas, Isaac Smith and Alejandro Hernandez, from 9th and 11th grade.
“We bring different cultural activities into our world language classrooms,” reports Ming Laoshi, Chinese teacher and tournament organizer at the school. “I chose this game from Go and Math Academy in 2015, and then my students fell in love with it. Nowadays, I even use go as the classroom activity when I need a substitute teacher.”
“Go can be used to support goals in the Chinese curriculum,” adds Xinming Simon Guo, of Go and Math Academy, “particularly to enhance understanding of Chinese culture and to reinforce learning language skills (numbers, colors, shapes, positions and locations, timing, etc). Research shows that nonlinguistic representation can have a powerful effect on students’ vocabulary development. Go has numerous vocabularies that can be visually represented on the board and playing go can be aligned with the five major language learning standards — Communication, Culture, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities.”
“Organizing a tournament in the school setting turned out to be really easy,” reports Laoshi, “it started with a small budget. After setting up, all I needed to do was email students a pairing notice every week and enter the results in a Google spreadsheet.” The school plans to organize another tournament next year, when every student can have an opportunity to play in every round. -Paul Barchilon EJ Youth Editor. Photo by Xinming Guo:Disney II tournament winners and Chinese language teacher Ming.