American Go E-Journal

Go teacher shares his lessons, from Chicago to San Diego

Monday May 9, 2022

“Every year, I meet some high school students who know how to play go,” says Xinming Simon Guo. When he asks them how they learned the game, the answers is often “You visited my elementary school several years ago”. In fact, Guo, the founder of Go and Math Academy in Chicago, has taught go to more than 40,000 students in the Chicago area, visiting more than 80 schools.

“How to play and teach go” workshop at the Chinese Cultural Center of San Diego State University.
(l-r): Jackson Hranek, Ted Terpstra from San Diego and Xinming Guo from Chicago

During the school year of 2021-2022 alone, Guo visited more than 20 schools and taught about 4,000 students. Since the pandemic, Guo, with the support of the local go community, has begun to provide online teaching for students both within and outside of Illinois, in places like Michigan, Massachusetts, and New Jersey.

Last month, Guo visited San Diego to share the results of the Academy’s second pilot program of the Go and Math project, teaching about 120 3rd graders at Barrington School District 220, IL. The project was conducted in partnership with Professor Xiuwen WU from  National Louis University during the 2019-2020 school year. A research paper titled “The Game of Go in Elementary Classrooms: Teachers’ and Students’ Perceptions of Go’s Benefits for Mathematics” was accepted by the American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting (AERA) held in San Diego this year.

During his short stay in San Diego, Mr. Guo also arranged a workshop for local go players to share their experience teaching go in school classrooms. In this particular workshop, he shared major aspects of his experience promoting go in schools. Demonstrating how to teach go in a classroom, Guo shared the classroom box for 32 students, small boards (6×6 and 7×7) and a special rule reinvented for beginners, which is compatible with other go game rules. He also discussed how to work with Chinese language teachers and teach go in Chinese language classrooms, and how to work with math teachers and teach go in early elementary classrooms.

“We plan to offer similar workshops online this year, to help more go players to promote go in their local schools,” said Guo.