Guest Blog — By Invitation

Giving Back to Bridge: Maureen Hall on BIL Mentoring


Mentoring Beginning Bridge Students Online

The Beginner/Intermediate Lounge, affectionately known as the BIL, is the center of learning on Bridge Base Online (BBO).

The expert teachers in this international club provide students with a range of learning events including weekly teaching tournaments, and open classrooms on specific aspects of the game, such as bidding and conventions.  Special demonstrations and mini-courses are offered by world champion players, some of the most recent being Mike Lawrence’s workshops on doubles.  BIL also offers courses like the 56-hour program developed by Sandy Suttle  (TwstofLime).  Available to “just starting” players, the course begins with how to take tricks, and continues through lessons in basic defense.

The most far-reaching learning opportunity offered by the BIL is its Volunteer Mentoring Programme. Mentors are needed NOW to help beginning and intermediate skill-level students improve their game.  If you are interested in mentoring an individual student or perhaps a small group of students, you can learn more about the programme at this page. Your time and expertise is greatly needed — so many students want to learn!

Please Note:  At this time teachers are needed to conduct 16-week courses for both beginners and intermediates on defensive strategies—from leads through counting and signals.

If you have any queries, or if further information is required, please contact the BIL Mentor Programme Liaison Officer Dave Taylor.

About the BIL Mentoring Programme —

People who join the BIL are Starter, Beginner, and Intermediate level players eager to improve their ability to play the game. 

BIL Mentors are volunteers who provide in-depth instruction to individuals or very small groups one or more times per week for a suggested period of six months.

Classroom-style learning is wonderful, but we all know that the most effective bridge teaching happens in a one-on-one setting or coaching a pair of students playing as partners—that is what the Mentor Programme is all about.  We (you!) give those students who are serious about working their way to an advanced skill level the training and knowledge they need.

Mentors of all nationalities/languages/time zones teaching all systems of modern bridge are greatly in need.  Some of our mentors teach every aspect of the game, others prefer to focus on specific bidding systems or playing styles. Through our evaluation of student need and mentor expertise we make every attempt to develop good learner/mentor partnerships. 

How To Get Started as a BIL Mentor

Those interested in joining the BIL Mentoring Team can register using this form.

Maureen Hall (hallway on BBO), BIL Founder/Manager will enable an Honorary Membership for you and will send you the Honorary Membership Guidelines.  Honorary Members have access to the BIL on BBO and to BIL’s full on-line Library.  There is an extensive collection of resources available to you as a Mentor as well as materials for your students.

As a mentor, you are expected to spend an hour or two with your student(s) at least once a week (more often should it suit you/them).  You may work with your student in whatever method that suits you both.  This also depends on the areas of the game where the student requires most assistance.

Students and Mentors . . .

  • Study together at a “Teaching Table” in the BIL on BBO, where prepared hands may be downloaded.
  • Practice bidding using the Partnership Bidding Rooms.
  • Set up hands / bidding sequences to go through in a Chat Room.
  • Exchange assigned exercises / answers after lessons in the areas you feel the student needs to focus.  Your student is expected to do all homework set for them and to practice diligently between your sessions.
  • Openly exchange information about the student’s progress and what online teaching methods are working best for you. Every student learns differently, and our goal is continuous improvement in the mentor/student partnership!

Being a MENTOR requires dedication, time, excellent teaching skills, volumes of patience, and a solid working knowledge of Bridge Base Online (BBO) software.

We hope to welcome you to our team!  For more information, please contact the BIL Founder/Manager Maureen Hall,or our Mentor Program Liaison Officer Dave Taylor.

To Apply: BIL Application Form

To Learn More: Mentor Programme Introduction

BIL Mentors know—

A teacher affects eternity; one can never tell where the influence stops. – Anon

OnlyyumanBIL Mentor commented – “Mentoring on BBO is very enjoyable and rewarding.  The students are truly eager to learn and so appreciative. It is so great to see the friendships made around the world!“

Deb   – Aspiring BIL Mentor commented – “It gives me great pleasure to graduate jpb1130 Joyce to advanced skill level.  She is in her late 80’s and has worked so hard to achieve this level.  Her play of hand and defense has improved 100% since we started working together.  She has learnt to count the trumps cards.  She has a good understanding of all the basic conventions.

No other student of mine has worked so hard or so long and I know that she will continue to learn and grow as a player.  She is enthusiastic about learning new things, which is really a huge credit to her.  So many of us are set in our ways and at her age she is amazing.”


LindaDecember 6th, 2010 at 5:42 am

Being a mentor with BIL has been very rewarding experience for me. I have had terrific students.

Dave TaylorDecember 10th, 2010 at 12:27 am

You will find that BIL students are eager to work hard to learn a lot in short time in order to improve their bridge game. As a BIL mentor your contribution to this game we all love is immeasurable. But most of all, you will be turning new players into good players, and good players into advanced players. And, no matter how you measure it, that’s just very rewarding for both you and your student, not to mention just plain FUN!

joan blocherJune 21st, 2011 at 4:01 pm

think i need a new mentor, shatha is too busy and time differenc too much, Ilove her, but would like american ,because of time zones.thank you , Lizabc

Joan Blocher

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