Friday, August 28, 2009

Learning from Success - MIT Study

TAGteach is all about learning from success, clearly marking success and reinforcing it. The TAGteach approach is illustrated by the TAG triangle: Identify, Highlight and Reinforce. A recent study using monkeys by MIT researchers sheds light on why the TAGteach approach works so quickly and so well.
"We have shown that brain cells keep track of whether recent behaviors were successful or not," Miller said. Furthermore, when a behavior was successful, cells became more finely tuned to what the animal was learning. After a failure, there was little or no change in the brain - nor was there any improvement in behavior.

After a correct response, the electrical impulses coming from neurons in each of the brain areas was more robust and conveyed more information. "The signal-to-noise ratio improved in both brain regions," Miller said. "The heightened response led to them being more likely to get the next trial correct, too. This explains on a neural level why we seem to learn more from our successes than our failures."
For more information and a link to the original study click here.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Show 'Em the Money!

What do kids really want for reinforcement? Candy, for one thing; money for another. This according to an article published in the the Summer/Fall 2009 issue of the Latham Letter and written by social worker Lynn Loar and five young co-authors. Parents and other adults need to realize that it is all very well to hope that an innate sense of moral obligation will cause Jimmy to clean his room, but if you want the job done easily and well, then you need to pay with currency that kids value.

Kid authors Hilary Louie, Evelyn Pang, Michelle Ma, Maya Rankupalli and Geoffrey Pott are experienced with clicker training, TAGteaching and the concept of reinforcement and they explain why certain things are reinforcing and in what context. Lynn Loar sums it up as follows:
So, there you have it. Be generous, sincere and specific. Use candy and money as reinforcers, even if you prefer other things. As Maya shows, children move on from candy, pennies and toys to more mature and altruistic reinforcers when they are ready. Clicker trainers know to let the learner set the pace; let your students develop this broader perspective at their own pace and don’t begrudge the candy and pennies in the meantime.
Click here to read the entire article.

Click here to read an article about TAGteach and reinforcement

Tags on Ice DVD

Tags on Ice is a lovely documentary-style video that shows children with special needs and their families learning to ice skate with TAGteach.

It is so nice to see the relaxed atmosphere and everyone cooperating and enjoying themselves. It is cute to see the kids showing their point stickers to their parents. I liked the part where the little boy came to Lynn and asked her to tag him for going backwards and then he went off and practiced it by himself.

Joan Orr - TAGteach Principal
Click here to find out more about this DVD or to order it.

Click here to watch some of the fun.