Sally Sparrow

The implementation dip

Hello, Chicago! 

Well, I made it to the ‘windy city’, which so far is not so windy, rather a nice refreshing change from the heat and smog of Toronto. And can I mention my dinner tonight?


The world-famous Chicago deep-dish pizza

The American Bridge Teachers’ Association kicked off their annual convention today, with a newcomer’s luncheon and afternoon speakers, including two of our MPP authors, Barbara Seagram and Julian Laderman. Both excellent and engaging speakers, despite Barbara’s admission of how nervous she was, because speaking to teachers is different than teaching students. Still, she did an excellent job. I’m not a bridge teacher (yet), but I could relate to her point about students approaching her complaining that they were actually getting worse, not better, once they started taking her classes. She pointed out that this was an illustration of something she calls the “implementation dip”, that once you start to learn, you start to notice how many things you are doing wrong. A student first starting out will do 100 things wrong, but not notice any of them. Once taking classes, the same student will now do 50 things wrong, and notice perhaps 15 of them. So from the student’s perspective, there are 15 new things they are doing wrong. But really you’re improving. Makes sense. I think she’s put her finger on one of the most frustrating things as a bridge student. When will I get it all right??

Julian’s talk centred around teaching mathematics to high school students using bridge. I liked the idea that bridge teaches not only mathematic principles, but ethics. It could be a very valuable addition to the curriculum. Julian also talked about “Bumblepuppy Bridge”, a simplified version of the game that he has created. He lamented that these days, you can take a flight and have a variety of entertainment to choose from, including almost 100 different games to play. But none of these is bridge. Perhaps a simple version of the game is just what we need to attract more people in venues such as these? By the way, you can download Julian’s handout on this game for free on our ebook site:

Tomorrow: I get to talk to bridge teachers about our books! Using a microphone! Stay tuned…


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