Gold Coast Congress Teachers Party

The Gold Coast Congress is always a great opportunity for bridge teachers from around Australia, and sometimes even international teachers, to get together to share their tips and tricks at the Teachers Party. 

The 2018 Gold Coast Congress Teachers Party was rather special because we were lucky enough to have a number of top international teachers who shared some great advice with the Aussies.  

Joan Butts & Peter George

Teaching Tips

The following is an excerpt of the tips shared at the Teachers Party.


A memory trick to remember your cards - say the first two suits in your head and then take a mental photos of the next two suits. It sounds a bit silly, but it actually helps to remember.
 - John Carruthers, Canada

It's important to teach your students at the right level for them - if it's too hard you'll lose them, too easy and they'll get bored. It's very difficult to successfully cater for beginners and more advanced players in the one lesson. 
- Craig Gower, South Africa


It's is a big advantage to add hand analysis to your lessons. Do the lesson, and then get your students to practise what they have learnt, then add some hand analysis so they can actually "see" what they have learned. 
- David Beauchamp, Sydney

The key to keeping young people in the game is to immerse them in bridge. Give them books and magazines so they love and keep on loving the game. A bridge lesson can give them an hour or two, but a book can give a lot more hours of immersion in the game.
- Nick Jacob, New Zealand

Don’t tell them what to do, teach your students why they should do something. Explain it to them so they can learn and apply judgement to a hand rather than relying on tricks they learnt by rote.
- Justin Mill, Melbourne

Don’t just try to teach bridge, you need to maintain the enjoyment. While some people want to become competitive, the majority of people just want to learn enough so they can play a basic game. Those people will be the heart of your club so make sure you cater to them.
- Phil Gue - Adelaide

Talk slowly, give them rules to follow and let them make a judgement call. I always say they are allowed to use judgement - but make it good! 
- Hugh Grovesner, Hobart

I always tell people, if you have a bunch of options, raising partner is the best thing to do if you can.
- Ben Thompson - Zone 7 President

Theory tells us a young person has to do something three or four times before it sticks. The same applies to bridge students. Make people play - to do is to remember. Keep doing it. Keep repeating it. That’s the way.
- Malcolm Carter, Brisbane

Get beginners mingling between themselves. If they always sit in the same spot they may get stuck with the same players and the same partners. Make them move around and get to know more people. I always tell them they need to know everyone’s name for the exam. (There is no exam) If players get stuck with someone as a partner, they may not stick with bridge. You can never tell who is going to like whom. Get them to mingle and they’ll find their own friends.
- Will Jenner-O'Shea, Sydney

When I first thought of the rookies concept, it was because I was so busy on the Gold Coast I couldn't keep up with the rookies at the club. I told them to come down and see me at the Gold Coast, it's less stressful to play the rookies events on the Gold Coast than at your own club. And they trust me, (really!) Seriously, we now see more supervised players in the rookies than club players. There is a place for everyone. Get them involved in events early and you’ll get them for life.
Therese Tully, Gold Coast Congress Tournament Co-Organiser and Kenmore Bridge Club member

People learn when they feel safe - they have fun and learn when they feel safe.
- Cath Whiddon, Peninsula (Sydney)

Enthusiasm is vital. A teacher who is enthusiastic will engage the class. Even if you’re just one chapter ahead and enthusiastic, you’ll carry that class. 
- Jane Stearns, New Zealand

Jane also got a laugh when she shared the story from teaching bridge students in a New Zealand prison. When asked to come up with a mnemonic to remember the order of the suits, one of the prisoners piped up: Sh*t Happens, Don't Care. (♠ = Spades,♥ = Hearts,♦= Diamonds,♣= Clubs!!)