In the dumps

Ok we have two groups; Fast Track with 10 people and Beginners with 4.
We were told by one of the beginners that they couldn't cope with the memory required so they would be giving up after the 10th lesson. That was ok because there were two of us and we would manage. Last week one said that they didn't think they would continue as they couldn't devote time outside the classes, they thought they would think about it. Today another beginner has said that they didn't think that bridge would play as big a part in their life as they did before they started and didn't think they would continue. They have all said that they enjoyed the sessions and it was nothing that we did or didn't do and that they had learned a lot but they just didn't have time to input into bridge or they have decided that bridge didn't hold the interest that they had thought. Two had partners that have played bridge and I think that it was that situation that decided for them to give it a go.

The fast track group are ok and most are progressing well. However, we have concerns that some will not transfer into "club" bridge. Mainly because of "bridge not holding the interest for them that they thought".

I suspect that others have come across this and I wondered if they would impart their wisdom as to how they dealt with it. Any actions or words are most welcome. Have others found that reducing the time span (say 20 weeks rather than 30 weeks) helpful?

We will be speaking to the remaining 2 beginners to see what they will wish to do.
We are currently on Lesson 10 beginners and lesson 9 Fast Track.

Best wishes
Chaz

Comments

  • Never an easy one losing students and I do not think there is a simple solution, and the nature of our game almost makes drop outs inevitable but perhaps not as many as some voluntary night classes.
    We find that our students come to the classes for various reasons but a significant one is social contact, we are structured to keep the same group of students together for at least 4 years, beginners, improvers and 2 years supervised classes, same day/time (including holidays)
    We do have larger classes than yours and we do lose some in the early week of the course and often pick up addition students as the course progresses.
    I think you are doing well to retain your Fast Track students. We do not run Fast Track (yet) My first impressions was that it would suit some but by no means all students and there would be a high drop out rate perhaps I was wrong.
    Keep up the good work
    john

  • Thank you John, comments appreciated. We have heard from those dropping out and they have complemented us for the efforts we put in. It was just that their lives did/could not include bridge at this point. We have said that if that should change to come back.

    The fast track is good and enjoyable. We have concluded that the additional Handbank hands are too difficult/complex for most of the students. We have reverted to adapting hands to suit and make them really easy. It gets the point over and is easy for us to point out many implications of making the right lead/discard. We have found that for some there is just too much to concentrate on, even if they have played bridge sometime ago. We think we might offer a second "run" at Fast track.

    Anyway it is all a big learning curve.

    Chaz

  • This a problem not so much of your dropout rate but of your take up rate to start off. When I learned 7 years ago about 1/2 dropped out by Christmas, but we had over 20 starting, so we could handle that.

    How you get more starters is a more difficult question. We tried all sorts and still the most successful method is word of mouth - get existing members and previous students to recommend bridge lessons.

    Once you have them we have found that introducing the fun and social aspects of bridge helpful. We have a big event on a Sunday scheduled a few weeks after classes start. This year it was the 4th November, after classes started 4th September. This is a fun event with food and a friendly bridge competition... beginners are invited to join in with a mini bridge section.

    In this way they feel included, part of the club and they get to see and experience what bridge will give them once they complete the course. Essentially they get to see that the pain and hard work of learning bridge is worth while.

    Our experience is that those students that take part are less likely to drop out and more likely to start playing bridge at the club.

    So my general advice would be to introduce them to the club and include them in some way. Also, you really need to get more new starters to begin with. If you can find a good way to get more new students, please let me know how :)
  • I teach in a adult education centre. Drop from classes is normal whether they are learning bridge, Spanish or watercolours.

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