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 Post subject: Running a real life study group
Post #1 Posted: Fri Jun 08, 2018 2:51 pm 
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I'm lucky enough to live in a city (Manchester, UK) with a decent number of fairly keen go players, and I'm currently in the process of trying to turn that fairly-keen-ness into a regular study group meet up.

I wondered if anyone had any experience of starting an in-person study group, or even otherwise, if people could offer any advice?

For example:
  • What content works best in a study group setting
  • I'm currently trying to encourage people at a wide range of grades to attend
    • Do you think this is practical?
    • How can we manage the different abilities
    • Will I loose people if the group is too challenging
  • Should we set themes/topics each week.
  • What are the best ways to promote a study group to the club regulars
  • Are we likely to attract players who wouldn't turn up to a regular club night? where would we find them!?
  • How can we achieve continuity if people need to miss certain weeks
  • Is there a good solution in the event of a tournament where a number of players will be unable to attend the study group
  • Can you recommend any good sources of content to discus and/or work through

If anyone is interested to know more, we're curently trying to meet on Sundays at 11am in 'Chapter one books' in Manchester, however we're likely to start to meet more seriously in July as there are tournaments in the UK on most weekends of June.


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 Post subject: Re: Running a real life study group
Post #2 Posted: Fri Jun 08, 2018 3:44 pm 
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Our local club had a weekly study group for about half a year and it worked okay. There were a few minor problems, some of which were related to the fact that we piggybacked it on top of a regular group meeting.

Activities included:
  • Mini-lectures, where someone presented something they had learned (like a joseki) and we all investigated it. I think this worked best when it was a small chunk of knowledge (could be presented 10 minutes or less) that the presenter could really totally internalize beforehand. At worst it became someone rattling off memorized variations that they didn't totally understand for 30 minutes.
  • Playing in pairs for a short amount of time, after which we'd all gather together and review the beginnings of the games together.
  • The Guess The Move game. This was pretty popular and I personally enjoyed it a lot.
  • Going through problems from books. I thought that Making Good Shape was a particularly good source as it wasn't just about reading.

Issues we ran into:
  • Because it occurred as an activity within the regular go club meeting, people tended to drift into it, since it seemed like "the thing to do" that evening, but then they wouldn't be that motivated to work seriously, which diluted the intensity of the group. Over time it sort of turned into the "thing kyu players do on Thursday evenings" activity, rather than a serious study group.
  • Even among the people who specifically opted into it, attention and motivation varied.
  • We had a wide variety of strengths (say 3k-12k), which meant that not everything was equally applicable to everyone.

To address a few of your questions:
  • I really like Guess The Move, and I think it also works very well for a group with lots of different abilities.
  • Different abilities is definitely a challenge. If you have enough people you may be able to split into multiple groups. You may also find that you naturally end up with a core at a certain level as other people find the material too easy or too challenging.
  • I do think it's pretty important to set an agenda or things just devolve into "hang out and play" (this sometimes happened to us).
  • I'm ambivalent about promotion, since I think part of our problem is that people were taking part who didn't take it that seriously. So I sort of wanted some anti-promotion! I think that it's important that everyone who joins actually be excited about it, rather than getting roped in.

In the end we kind of dissolved due to lack of sustained interest, and most people who were serious about continuing to study (including me) switched to studying with strong teachers (AYD in my case) and using club time mostly to play games and have fun.

Good luck!

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Post #3 Posted: Sat Jun 09, 2018 10:40 am 
Judan
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Hi Mike, please see PM.

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 Post subject: Re: Running a real life study group
Post #4 Posted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 10:04 am 
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Thanks both.
That's really useful insight. Seems like I need to try to keep it a bit more formal and structured than we have been so far.

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