Two Over One at Queensland Contract Bridge Club

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Most of the teachers who attended Saturday's Teacher Training Program stayed on for the second day to complete one of four Continuing Professional Development Days offered by the Australian Bridge Federation.  CPD Days are more content-based than “how to", although the methods used are always the same, following the STEAM principles. 

There’s no need for players or teachers to feel that 2/1 is hard, or that it means learning a totally new system. The best way to present it is to show where it “fixes” weak parts of Standard, and what the benefits are.

Even beginners are able to learn 2/1, so let’s embrace it! 

Entries at Toowong

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The topic of Entries is a fascinating one, and there were young and old players at Toowong Bridge Club on Saturday, October 28 to hear about how to cross from one hand to the other.

ABF Accredited teacher Sue Eix is always helping in the wings, and with Margaret Prentice, they organise the teaching programme so well at this club. 

I was thrilled to have some newer keen players there too. They are on their way to becoming champs I think! 

Accredited Teacher: Birgitt Bingham

Birgitt Bingham
Surfers Paradise, QLD

I started bridge in 1994 while living at Sanctuary Cove. A small group of keen golfers asked Kathy Johnson to come out to teach. I started playing in earnest around 2002  joining Tweed Bridge Club first, as my Mother played there. Around 2005, I began to help with supervised play at Surfers Paradise Bridge Club. 

When the club was looking for a new teacher, I was asked to fill the gap. Being a qualified teacher helped greatly so here I am still today. Contributing to the success of a club is most rewarding.  I enjoy the challenge of the game, the constant and continual learning, the friendships which develop and the joy on the faces of learners when a concept is grasped.

For 10 years I lived and worked in many  exotic countries, putting my hand to a variety of occupations here and overseas.  I speak several languages which helps when I am directing and teaching bridge on cruise ships.

Accredited Teachers: Malcolm & Lyn Carter

Malcolm & Lyn Carter
QLD

For Malcolm and Lyn Carter the Queensland Contract Bridge Club is their home club, but over the years they have taught bridge in a variety of places, including on many cruise ships.

Malcolm started playing at the age of 11 when he bought a bridge book and taught himself to play where Lyn came from a bridge playing family and learnt at the age of 16 by attending lessons run by the ACT Bridge Association in Canberra.

“We have both taught bridge, off and on, for a long time, including at schools where we worked at as teachers of maths and science,” Lyn said.

The couple regularly teaches bridge on cruises and have made some good friends in the bridge world. Lyn states that the people she meets are what she enjoys most about teaching and playing bridge. This isn’t surprising when you consider how Malcolm and Lyn met. 

“We first met when my mother (Jean Read, who many might remember) introduced us whilst we were all playing at the Australian National Championships in Melbourne in 1975, not long after Malcolm arrived from England. We were married 18 months later.”

Accredited Teacher: Cecily Critchley

Cecily Critchley
Gold Coast Bridge Club, QLD

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How did you discover Bridge?
Through family and friends.  I learnt to play at Queensland Contract Bridge Club (Brisbane) at the beginning of 1984 and was immediately hooked!

Why did you decide to become a Bridge Teacher?
I first taught bridge at Brisbane Bridge Centre in the 1990’s, long before I moved to the Gold Coast in 2006. Why? I love(d) teaching and love(d) the game of bridge.

What do you enjoy most about playing/teaching Bridge?
Probably the intellectual stimulation and challenge. But it also continues to fascinate me how closely the game mimics life. Probably true of most intense games and among the reasons that sports psychologists are hired to work with elite athletes, bridge and chess players.

Tell us something most people don’t know about you?
That my first university degree, before I became a psychologist (via BA, Dip Psych), was a Bachelor of Divinity, majoring in Theology (all University of Queensland).

Accredited Teacher: Lynley Jenkins

Lynley Jenkins
Gold Coast Bridge Club, QLD

How did you discover Bridge?
Through my grandparents and mother. As a family, we often played Auction Bridge at home. My mother also was a very keen club duplicate player.

Why did you decide to become a Bridge Teacher?
It just happened one day. I accepted an offer to conduct Beginners’ Lessons at Brisbane Bridge Centre back in the early 1990s. Although I had never attended Beginners’ Lessons myself, I was fortunate enough to be playing against the best players in Queensland and to have been tutored by some of Australia’s best, including Paul Lavings. I enjoyed teaching immensely and found I had a good rapport with students. I felt I had something to offer in the area, and it evolved from there.

What do you enjoy most about playing  Bridge?
I love playing bridge. I am an addicted bridge player because the challenge never ends.

What do you enjoy most about teaching Bridge?
Passing on what I have learned to those who wish to master (the impossible dream!) the great game is one important aspect. But probably the most important aspect these days is seeing friendships formed and forming friendships with my own students – many of whom are my age or older – and who are just starting their bridge careers. I love to watch those lightbulb moments. This is the most rewarding and exciting part of all!

Tell us something most people don’t know about you?
That in my late teens (1960’s) I was very involved in live theatre in Brisbane, performing in plays at Brisbane Repertory Theatre, Twelfth Night and Brisbane Arts Theatre. Many of my friends from that era are household names in the world of Australian theatre, film and TV – Barry Otto, Jack Thompson, Gerard Kennedy, Michael Caton, Judith McGrath, Rowena Wallace and (the late) Carol Burns.

Accredited Teacher: Laurelle McDonnell

SUNNYBANK BRIDGE CLUB, QLD 

It was an overheard conversation about bridge nine years ago that prompted me to sign up to beginners' classes with my husband. 

We had three very good teachers who helped us understand the game and always showed much patience with all the inevitable questions that I had. 

When the opportunity presented itself to start a new lot of lessons, my friend June Cross and I introduced the Joan Butts Teaching method which has been a wonderful success. 

I love playing Bridge because it is stimulating and challenging and I never stop learning. 

When I am teaching the new players something, it is so satisfying when I hear them say that something has just sunk in and made sense to them.

Accredited Teacher: Deirdre Giles

REDLANDS BRIDGE CLUB, QLD
QUEENSLAND CONTRACT BRIDGE CLUB, QLD

As young children, my brother and I were taught to play many different card games at a very early age. Our Dad was a very keen card player so we became quite good at whist, solo, and Newmarket, and had even learned the basics of Acol by the age of eight.

Over the years I did make several attempts to play regularly, however bridge was put on the back burner due to school work, and later, family and work commitments. I always promised myself that I would take bridge up again when I retired, which I did in 2003. Since then I’ve been playing at Redlands and QCBC. I was privileged to be made an Honorary Life Member of Redlands in 2014.

Some years ago I was fortunate to have the opportunity to sit in on beginner lessons given by Joan Butts and observed Best Practice in bridge teaching.  I’ve been teaching beginners for four years now and still followJoan’s teaching methods as closely as possible. I run Supervised Play sessions following beginner lessons, and have also taught some Intermediate lessons when required.

I enjoy meeting different personalities from all walks of life, and watching their journey from struggling with the concepts of bidding and play, to when the lessons start to ‘click’, and I watch their progress through supervised play to joining our novice day, to open bridge sessions.

Accredited Teacher: Paula Lennon

Goondiwindi Bridge Club, QLD

Paula began playing bridge 34 years ago and continued despite having a busy science career and raising a family.

She has a passion for teaching particularly in isolated communities where the social aspect of the game is of paramount importance.

In 2008 Paula was given a business award by the Bingara Chamber of Commerce for her role in attracting people to the town through bridge.

Now living in Goondiwindi Paula has found the videos and website extremely valuable in reinforcing lessons.

Accredited Teacher: Sandra Mulcahy

Toowong Bridge Club, QLD
Beenleigh-Logan Bridge Club, QLD

A work colleague invited me to join her for some bridge lessons in the mid 1990s.  Subsequent to this, I played twice a week for approximately 18 months (my friend did not last beyond beginner classes).  Unfortunately, the travel demands of my career combined with my move to Canberra did not enable me to continue so I stopped playing for many years (13).

When I retired in 2009 I decided to do a beginner’s course once again as I enjoyed bridge and now had the time to commit.  As I did not take too well to retirement I applied for the part-time National Marketing Officer position with the ABF and was successful.  I have a strong interest in administrative practices and procedures and a love of planning and marketing.  I wanted to keep my brain active and having a part-time role and playing bridge was my solution.

My experience from playing in a number of clubs proved that to be successful, a club needs to have a friendly atmosphere, good teachers and competent directors.  It also must have a well thought-through education program so that new players can be introduced to the sport in an engaging and effective way.  I did not want to be treated as dumb by someone who hadplayed bridge for 30 years and I wanted to understand how best to continually develop my skills and knowledge in a ‘learning’ environment.

As I had some experience in developing skills and knowledge in my staff, I thought I would do the ABF Teachers’ Training Program in 2013.  When attending the program I met the President of the Logan Beenleigh Bridge Club who invited me to teach beginners at her club.  I then started doing the beginner classes and continue in the role to this day.

In mid 2014 I was elected to the Committee of the Toowong Bridge Club.  In this role I have devoted time to developing a strategic approach to teaching, supervised play and mentoring so that the club can continue togrow its membership.   This role continues and brings a lot of satisfaction and enjoyment as you witness people deriving a lot of enjoyment from bridge.  The Club is investing in the development of teachers, supervised play ‘leads’ and mentors so that its members and potential members are provided with the best learning environment we can provide.  We also are looking at issues around behaviour and club culture to ensure that newer players are made to feel very welcome.

I have found the training methodology and materials recommended by the ABF to be excellent.  I am also in the enviable position of having participated in many of Joan Butts’ and Audrey Grant’s workshops over the last couple of years and use both of these impressive teachers as role models for best practice in teaching bridge.

My goals are to introduce people to bridge in the most effective, enjoyable way possible and to continue to develop my own skills and knowledge.