It is currently Fri May 26, 2017 2:10 am

All times are UTC - 8 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 41 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next
Author Message
Offline
 Post subject: How not to promote a go club in the middle of nowhere
Post #1 Posted: Wed Feb 04, 2015 9:10 pm 
Beginner
User avatar

Posts: 15
Liked others: 8
Was liked: 14
Rank: 10k
Universal go server handle: Bahkana
Hello everyone!

It has been over a year since I started a Go Club in a small school district in the unpopulated northern tundra of the US and my one remaining member will be graduating soon. The school is small enough where all grade levels are present in one building and the club is open to all grade levels but I mainly work with high school students being the tech guy. The most members I've had was six at one time which was fun because we could do leagues and tournaments. However, most of the young kids left because their friends weren't playing and all but one of my older players graduated that year. This resulted in the club being completely devoid of members for most of the first half of this school year; one of the previous members came on occasion with a couple new students who gave it a try and stopped.

I read an article recently where a guy talked about the future of promoting Go with today's youth he preached on the importance of focusing on how it is alive here and now, and not just 4000 years ago. His main point was to promote go you should be "a little less Tang Dynasty, a little more NASCAR". So with this in mind I revamped the posters to make it seem more exciting. I am really hoping this generates more interest but I have my doubts.
Here's the posters I've worked up with a friend. Some of the background came from random places on Google but the rest is all me. http://puu.sh/ftzep/907c8d4596.jpg
I tried those silly posters you get from the AGF and a couple previous ones of my making but they all focused on the age and beauty of the game, not the challenge and competition. A lot of kids these days love competitive games but always flock to games like League of Legends or shooters. I'm just hoping to nab a fraction of those gamers - go can be really exciting in the right environment but you need to have more than one kid in a club to make it last.

What do you guys think about this new method and do you have any suggestions for promoting beyond posters, interest meetings during school, and introductions during open house? If this doesn't work I'll do a spiel at the open house / first day of school but if there is no interest I will likely end up just closing shop and go back to pushing go on an individual basis.


This post by bahkana was liked by 3 people: Bonobo, quietimes, sybob
Top
 Profile  
 
Offline
 Post subject: Re: How not to promote a go club in the middle of nowhere
Post #2 Posted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 6:51 pm 
Lives with ko
User avatar

Posts: 222
Location: 中国
Liked others: 176
Was liked: 66
Rank: infant
I grew up with videogames and didn't get into Go until later in life, so perhaps I share a bit of the perspective of your students. My thoughts and opinions are:

* Go (or Chess, for that matter) will never be cool to middle school or high schoolers. Trying to position it as such is fruitless and perhaps even counterproductive.

* A game invented in China and dominated by CHN-JPN-KOR in the modern area probably seems very alien to your local people. I would emphasize and introduce some Western-born, non-Asian successful players like Michael Redmond to create a closer connection to their own situation.

* I would explain the importance of Go within the Floating World of Japan. That period is typically very interesting to teenage Westerners because of the sexual and moral liberties. The idea that samurai would stay up all night drinking and playing go with prostitutes hanging on their arms might not thrill your school administrators, but would definitely give the game some appeal to youth that chess could never claim!

* I would create a quarterly 9x9 tournament with a nominal prize (~$50 gift card to the mall?) that is open to everyone. Prior to the tournament start I would distribute introductions and rules to Go and offer some basic lessons. The idea here being to repeatedly expose as many people as possible to the game in a "can't lose" format. Go is very intimidating to the uninitiated. You've got to get them laying stones.

That's all I can think of right now. No hard feelings if you reject all points! :tmbup:


This post by Drew was liked by: bahkana
Top
 Profile  
 
Offline
 Post subject: Re: How not to promote a go club in the middle of nowhere
Post #3 Posted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 1:24 am 
Oza

Posts: 2285
Location: Ireland
Liked others: 650
Was liked: 411
Universal go server handle: Boidhre
My general experience: if they ask you where you guys play go online they'll probably stick around for a good bit. If they ask to borrow beginner books it's the same. If they just turn up to the club each week and never show an interest in playing/studying go outside of it, they'll be gone in a few months usually talking about not making progress or not having time to improve. Go is similar to chess in this respect.

The other thing I've seen is someone get into it and then realise just how much there is to learn and then they decide they don't want to invest that much time into the game (to achieve whatever goal they had in mind, e.g. placing high in a local tournament or similar).

Top
 Profile  
 
Offline
 Post subject: Re: How not to promote a go club in the middle of nowhere
Post #4 Posted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 7:00 am 
Lives in sente

Posts: 1174
Liked others: 224
Was liked: 313
Rank: 5d
GD Posts: 1000
If you want to exploit a connection with Japanese culture, for those early teen-agers talking about samurai and ninjas might be more effective. Those subjects make things more like video games and might build on a desire to compete: fighting in go is like samurai in war, invasions are like ninja attacks. In tournaments, only having one prize winner, the winner, give more prizes to make it easier to win a prize. Maybe even give simple but meaningful prizes for participation. For example, give a prize for finishing all their games.

Top
 Profile  
 
Offline
 Post subject: Re: How not to promote a go club in the middle of nowhere
Post #5 Posted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 10:05 am 
Beginner
User avatar

Posts: 15
Liked others: 8
Was liked: 14
Rank: 10k
Universal go server handle: Bahkana
I really like some of the ideas, especially a tournament with participation prizes. The biggest problem I am finding is that the kids do not read. Despite all of the different posters, the full set of Hikaru no Go in the library, and my manual interaction with students on occasion a large number of kids don't even know that Go is a board game. All of the posters I have used have a picture of a goban and some with a full game on it, sometimes including text that plainly states it as a strategy game. Yet when I talk to kids I notice playing chess during their study hall they are completely clueless to the fact that Go is a strategy board game. With my single student it is very hard to get the word out beyond the use of posters which they obviously treat worse than youtube commercials.

But despite
Drew wrote:
Go (or Chess, for that matter) will never be cool to middle school or high schoolers. Trying to position it as such is fruitless and perhaps even counterproductive.
some students get super excited about go once they try it so I do not think that having a club that includes middle/high school is counterproductive and making people aware that its not just a boring grind is very important, especially for young players. Simply drawing existing players is not enough for a go club in the middle of nowhere as there are none. What I need is a way to get people of all different types to understand what go is and how fun or serious it can be. The task keeps seeming more and more impossible but I know deep down that there must be a way. I've heard (and its the best feeling) hardcore Minecrafters say "oh my god, this is more fun than video games" once I actually get them to sit down and play, but then they can't get their friends to give it a try so they go back to the computer. I sincerely believe that one of the main issues with promoting go is this constant attitude of "these kids like video games so they wont find go exciting enough". I am going to revisit the poster idea and see what I can manage to pull together for a more exciting feel that isn't too foreboding.

I know some people have always said that it might take a few generations for it to really take hold, but I think that is defeatist and outdated. I am a bit disheartened by my current struggles but I wouldn't be trying this hard if I didn't think it was possible to get the ball rolling with the right push. I am going to use some of Drew's and Gowan's suggestions to adjust my methods.

I have already offered classroom introductions to the teachers back when they were really scrambling for things for their kids to do during indoor recess but got absolutely no takers so I will need break any misconceptions the teachers have about the game as well. So many obstacles but hopefully we can break through them and show the world that go is a game for the whole world to know.

Top
 Profile  
 
Offline
 Post subject: Re: How not to promote a go club in the middle of nowhere
Post #6 Posted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 10:14 am 
Oza

Posts: 2458
Location: DC
Liked others: 145
Was liked: 435
Universal go server handle: skydyr
Online playing schedule: When my wife is out.
bahkana wrote:
I have already offered classroom introductions to the teachers back when they were really scrambling for things for their kids to do during indoor recess but got absolutely no takers so I will need break any misconceptions the teachers have about the game as well. So many obstacles but hopefully we can break through them and show the world that go is a game for the whole world to know.


When I was in elementary school, in 6th grade, a good chunk of the curriculum in our math classes was actually chess. Playing chess against each other, and learning about it to some degree. There were tons of sets sitting around, so it was also easy to play during recess or other free time. It would probably take some convincing, but if you can get a teacher on board, you could probably promote it as a way to teach logical thinking, strategic planning, and evaluation skills, along with perhaps some knowledge of foreign cultures.

Top
 Profile  
 
Offline
 Post subject: Re: How not to promote a go club in the middle of nowhere
Post #7 Posted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 10:17 am 
Beginner
User avatar

Posts: 15
Liked others: 8
Was liked: 14
Rank: 10k
Universal go server handle: Bahkana
I might be able to do a short pitch during a teacher inservice, otherwise I'll have to do it on an individual basis but I think the idea is solid.

Top
 Profile  
 
Offline
 Post subject: Re: How not to promote a go club in the middle of nowhere
Post #8 Posted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 10:25 am 
Oza

Posts: 2247
Liked others: 1163
Was liked: 535
bahkana wrote:
I know some people have always said that it might take a few generations for it to really take hold, but I think that is defeatist and outdated.

I don't think so at all.
I think its trying to put a positive spin on what otherwise appears on the surface, to be dismal results.
You never know when and how the seeds you've planted, will take root and grow. And the fruits may not materialize until sometime later.
I believe it was intended to encourage you not to give up.

Top
 Profile  
 
Offline
 Post subject: Re: How not to promote a go club in the middle of nowhere
Post #9 Posted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 12:21 pm 
Lives with ko

Posts: 222
Liked others: 23
Was liked: 140
Rank: DGS 2 kyu
Universal go server handle: Polama
One of the things that kept me participating in extra-curricular activities was the interaction with slightly older students. In 6th grade, 8th graders seemed so cool. To hang out with them, to have them say 'hey' to you in the hallways, was a big deal. So I'd suggest trying to incorporate down time for them to just socialize. A pizza party works for that, and is also a draw. Or just show up with the boards late? Try to keep the kids from segregating too much by grade.

Having an event to prepare for also seems to help with attendance. Band and theater put on productions. The basketball team competes at other schools. Another club probably doesn't exist in the area, but if it did having even just one match a year against them would give the club more purpose. Maybe just arranging matches against far off schools over kgs? Then it's not just "go to go club to get better for myself", but "go to go club so our school can win the match".

Finally, one advantage Go does have is that you can play it in public. If your school has a club fair or something, just set up boards and have the club play itself/anyone with an interest. If the teachers eat in the same place as the students, play a game over lunch. Any chance to get a game playing in public is a chance for somebody to come over and ask what's going on. I find that works better than having to actively evangelize the game.

Top
 Profile  
 
Offline
 Post subject: Re: How not to promote a go club in the middle of nowhere
Post #10 Posted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 5:55 pm 
Lives with ko

Posts: 294
Location: Washington State
Liked others: 223
Was liked: 56
Rank: KGS13kyu
KGS: gotony
OGS: nghtstalker
Well it seems you have definitely applied yourself quite a bit and still have apparently disappointing results. I wish there was some magic formula or idea. Posters intros, Japanese culture, Nascar competition all great but what if they do not come?

I wonder if you should try to get some other adults to play? At the local library, pizza or coffee place? I presume no other teachers are interested? I suppose I believe in the shotgun approach, a wide buckshot and see what you hit. It can be frustrating to try so hard for little response. So I would try to find one or two other people to play with on a regular basis, call it a club eventually. Meet at the same time and same place. Who knows who might get interested?

Also the Portland GO club has had success combining Chess and GO with dual tourneys and learning both. The AGA has had some recent articles on them.

I wish you the best keep it up and remember if you teach even one person who grows to enjoy the game and play it you have been a success. I went to my local in CA and now I have taught a number of people and introduced it too far more.

Best wishes and keep us informed of what works and what does not.

_________________
Walla Walla GO Club -(on FB)

We play because we enjoy the beauty of the game, the snap and feel of real stones, and meeting interesting people. Hope to see ya there! お願いします!

Anthony

Top
 Profile  
 
Offline
 Post subject: Re: How not to promote a go club in the middle of nowhere
Post #11 Posted: Sat Feb 07, 2015 10:07 am 
Lives in sente

Posts: 1174
Liked others: 224
Was liked: 313
Rank: 5d
GD Posts: 1000
I think Chess is actually more difficult than Go for beginners to learn. Just saying for consideration. I have been involved in the past with go clubs that made efforts to recruit novices. The actual rate at which complete beginners become committed players was quite small. There is that initial barrier implied by the lose-50-games proverb. Most beginners quit before the 50 games are completed. More appealing to youngsters than posters, books, etc., is seeing people like them playing and having fun. Yes, there is a "catch-22" aspect of this. If no one will play, how can anyone see people having fun playing? If you can get two students to play in a public setting and actually have fun, it would be a big attraction for other players. Discussion by the players would also help: "I thought I would kill that group but ..." "You got away with that invasion", etc. Start with capture go, on only small boards 9x9, and transition into regular go, still on 9x9, and only move up in size of board when the players are totally familiar and comfortable with 9x9. 19x19 go is frustrating for beginners, I think. Anything that takes an hour to finish is difficult for young people in our short attention span age.


This post by gowan was liked by: Bonobo
Top
 Profile  
 
Offline
 Post subject: Re: How not to promote a go club in the middle of nowhere
Post #12 Posted: Sat Feb 07, 2015 10:57 am 
Judan

Posts: 6079
Liked others: 1430
Was liked: 2328
gowan wrote:
I think Chess is actually more difficult than Go for beginners to learn. Just saying for consideration. I have been involved in the past with go clubs that made efforts to recruit novices. The actual rate at which complete beginners become committed players was quite small. There is that initial barrier implied by the lose-50-games proverb. Most beginners quit before the 50 games are completed.


Go is actually better than chess in that regard, because chess players no longer give handicaps. Instead of advising beginners to lose 50 or 100 games quickly, we should give them handicaps, so that they win a goodly proportion of their games. That is one reason for starting on even as small a board as the 3x3. Black can win the game pretty easily. Give beginners some rewards. Don't just tell them to tough it out.

_________________
"Drooling Banjos"


This post by Bill Spight was liked by 2 people: Bonobo, oca
Top
 Profile  
 
Offline
 Post subject: Re: How not to promote a go club in the middle of nowhere
Post #13 Posted: Sat Feb 07, 2015 11:04 am 
Oza

Posts: 2285
Location: Ireland
Liked others: 650
Was liked: 411
Universal go server handle: Boidhre
Bill Spight wrote:
gowan wrote:
I think Chess is actually more difficult than Go for beginners to learn. Just saying for consideration. I have been involved in the past with go clubs that made efforts to recruit novices. The actual rate at which complete beginners become committed players was quite small. There is that initial barrier implied by the lose-50-games proverb. Most beginners quit before the 50 games are completed.


Go is actually better than chess in that regard, because chess players no longer give handicaps. Instead of advising beginners to lose 50 or 100 games quickly, we should give them handicaps, so that they win a goodly proportion of their games. That is one reason for starting on even as small a board as the 3x3. Black can win the game pretty easily. Give beginners some rewards. Don't just tell them to tough it out.


I did this with the kids, they started with absurd handicaps on 9x9 and over time the handicaps reduced slowly giving them plenty of wins. I'd give them a target, get three straight wins and we'll go down a handicap stone or similar.

Way too labour intensive though for a club setting unless you've a cadre of more established players willing to do this for you (be careful to make sure they get games their own level in too, I've seen people past absolute beginner stage quit because they couldn't get games within 5 stones either side and they didn't have access to the internet to compensate for this).


This post by Boidhre was liked by: Bonobo
Top
 Profile  
 
Offline
 Post subject: Re: How not to promote a go club in the middle of nowhere
Post #14 Posted: Sat Feb 07, 2015 4:30 pm 
Dies in gote

Posts: 52
Location: Seattle, WA
Liked others: 3
Was liked: 5
GD Posts: 800
I agree that 19 x 19 is far too intimidating for raw beginners.

Polama also has a very good point that many adults have forgotten. In middle school especially, any age difference is intimidating for the younger kids, to the extent that they won't even consider participating. Do not discount this angle. It seems nonsensical to grownups, but it is very real when you're 12 years old. You're going to have to bridge that gap somehow. Now, since you have a small school, I'm sure there are many aspects of their regular education that are at least partly multi-age already, so maybe it isn't as serious a problem as it would be in a big school. But don't ignore this entirely. To have a sustainable club, you're going to have to snare the young ones... that'll give you a solid base of players that aren't going to leave in the next year.

I wish you best of luck. Don't give up hope. There really isn't much in the way of multimedia that you can use to introduce people, but keep in mind that you're dealing with the YouTube/Tumblr generation here (if your kids are anything like mine). See if you can locate a Reddit or Tumblr that is about Go (and is appropriate for a school setting). Find a 6th-grader who is receptive to helping you a little (even if they aren't really into Go), and deputize them as a Research Associate to help you find that Tumblr/Reddit/InstaGram to hook the rest. Think like a young teenager here.... if you can find a cohort anywhere else that makes your topic *cool*, they will suddenly flock to your club. Hikaru No Go might not be that thing, especially if there aren't many manga/anime fans at your school.

Top
 Profile  
 
Offline
 Post subject: Re: How not to promote a go club in the middle of nowhere
Post #15 Posted: Sat Feb 07, 2015 4:53 pm 
Dies in gote

Posts: 52
Location: Seattle, WA
Liked others: 3
Was liked: 5
GD Posts: 800
Here's a few things to get you started... I don't have much time today to do research.

http://www.reddit.com/r/baduk/

Tumblr posts tagged "go game"

https://www.pinterest.com/louisjerste/go/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/baduk/clusters/

Instagram posts tagged "weiqi"

Not sure if any of these would inspire your kids, but this is how interests get validated: "Oh, they're doing it? it must be OK, then."

Top
 Profile  
 
Offline
 Post subject: Re: How not to promote a go club in the middle of nowhere
Post #16 Posted: Sat Feb 07, 2015 5:02 pm 
Oza

Posts: 2247
Liked others: 1163
Was liked: 535
Gohst wrote:
I agree that 19 x 19 is far too intimidating for raw beginners.

on the other hand... kids are becoming professional players by age 11 or so. That means they are very, very good even at age 6 or 7. 19x19 does not have to be intimidating.

Top
 Profile  
 
Offline
 Post subject: Re: How not to promote a go club in the middle of nowhere
Post #17 Posted: Sat Feb 07, 2015 5:10 pm 
Lives with ko

Posts: 296
Liked others: 146
Was liked: 85
KGS: captslow
Online playing schedule: irregular and by appointment
Hello Bahkana,
I really like your posters. A totally different approach. I like the Nascar idea. I expect it to appeal to youngsters.
Even if it does not pay off, or pay off on short term, I still appreciate your effort and this post.
Any attempt and effort to try to attract younger people to the game is positive.
I hope you find the spirit to keep it up, even if tangible or short term results seem to be minimal.
I also think you can direct them to the internet (KGS) and apps. The internet and apps are cool.
Good luck!

Top
 Profile  
 
Offline
 Post subject: Re: How not to promote a go club in the middle of nowhere
Post #18 Posted: Sat Feb 07, 2015 7:47 pm 
Dies in gote

Posts: 52
Location: Seattle, WA
Liked others: 3
Was liked: 5
GD Posts: 800
xed_over wrote:
Gohst wrote:
I agree that 19 x 19 is far too intimidating for raw beginners.

on the other hand... kids are becoming professional players by age 11 or so. That means they are very, very good even at age 6 or 7. 19x19 does not have to be intimidating.


First, we are talking about a tiny minority here, not really applicable to a situation where you're having trouble even getting anyone interested in the game. I think that even those kids probably started on 9 x 9, but I have no proof, of course. I was talking about raw beginners... a small game represents a smaller time commitment, as well. The idea is to avoid early frustration if at all possible. The same reasoning tells us that beginners shouldn't have to worry about clocks, or time of any sort. The more enjoyable (and approachable) you can make the experience, the better.

Top
 Profile  
 
Offline
 Post subject: Re: How not to promote a go club in the middle of nowhere
Post #19 Posted: Sun Feb 08, 2015 12:15 pm 
Beginner
User avatar

Posts: 15
Liked others: 8
Was liked: 14
Rank: 10k
Universal go server handle: Bahkana
Thank you everyone for your comments and suggestions. I am feeling better after getting so many ideas and will keep going. The method I have found to work the best, especially with younger players is to start them on a 9x9 or smaller and get them playing first capture within minutes of sitting down. The kids usually love getting to play right away, and I just explain things as their games progress. When they are ready for the full set of rules I've just been doing a 4 stone handi on the 9x9 if there's no other kids for them to learn with (as if often the case).

I am still working on graphical approaches to enticing new kids to learn as I feel there must be one that will work. Beyond this I will continue approaching the elementary teachers to see if I can win one of them over to the educational benefits of go and dispel the enigma that it's too difficult for youths to pick up. I'm also going to look into organizing events that may draw out the hesitant ones. There is an inservice coming up soon so hopefully I'll be able to bend a few ears that day. I'd love to pull in the chess club and work with them but...they don't exist, there are absolutely no board game clubs in the school besides Go club.

When it comes to using apps and such, each classroom has a small set of iPads they use as a station - the next time I get these iPads in for updates I will push the TinyGo app onto all of them. Even with no explanation there are likely to be a couple inquisitive ones who will open the app just to see what it is.

I do not work in the same town I live in so teaching people outside of the school club isn't going to help it unless I get local students interested enough to start their own school go club so we can have competitions. I do get over to the library and teach during the summer - on nice days I play in the Library's pocket park just off the main street. I only got a kid here and there but it was something. This next year will be my second year doing that so I will work with the library to hype it up and get the word out, I'll also be doing a single day "seminar" on a Saturday. The seminar idea was the Library coordinator's as we had a lot of people calling in asking what the go club was and hesitation due to their not knowing how to play. So even though the club ads said "absolute beginners welcome" people were disinterested because of a perceived gap in "regulars" and themselves. So to remedy this and the "I might try it next week..." we decided to schedule an event where I do introductions to the game and that's the entire purpose of the day. At the very least I should be able to give introductions to a decent number of people this way because events pull in many of their regulars and we'll do it in the youth area where they hang out and game on a regular basis.

Top
 Profile  
 
Offline
 Post subject: Re: How not to promote a go club in the middle of nowhere
Post #20 Posted: Sun Feb 08, 2015 1:16 pm 
Oza

Posts: 2247
Liked others: 1163
Was liked: 535
I remember reading somewhere, someone wrote a paper on the educational benefits of the game of go. Maybe someone else will remember where it is and provide a link.

Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 41 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next

All times are UTC - 8 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group