TAGteach: How learning to tag has changed my life

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From istockphoto
From istockphoto

By Katie Scott-Dyer

Reprinted with permission from: http://blog.verypets.co.uk/

A bold statement but true nonetheless. I recently attended a 2 day TAGteach Primary Certification seminar in Bristol UK and it has revolutionized my thinking and strategies for coaching my own learners. Why? Because it cuts out all the blurry stuff, all the fluff and fuzz that can easily lose the learner in the fog of information.

Clear goals in teaching

This means that learners can have a clear goal or tag point, which is marked with an audible distinct sound such as the word tag or a clicker. This can be applied to any learner, be it human or animal. The instructions are finely sliced, the tag point is delivered in 5 words or less and gives immediate feedback of success to the learner at every tag point stage. It’s clear and simple learning with positive reinforcement, which can be tracked with a tagulator (beads on a string) that can be collected for a primary reinforcer or just the immediate success acts as a reinforcer for the learner. The science geeks among us know this as operant conditioning. OK so why the hooha about it changing my life?

On the spectrum

I am on the Autism Spectrum. I’m both high and low functioning but have achieved a level of integration in ‘normal’ or neurotypical society because of my higher functioning attributes. It has been a difficult path to walk alone though.

If TAGteach had been around when I was a kid I may have a had an even more successful, less frustrating, anxiety ridden childhood and been a higher achiever than I currently am.

Plus I can still find it difficult to communicate clearly and effectively, even on relatively high functioning days. In class you can imagine the confusion which can arise from not delivering instructions efficiently to the learner. TAGteach will now be incorporated into my classes and has already been adapted into my coaching with measurable success. Having a tag point, clear determined goal which the learner can self select to personalise and even tag the teacher and each other is very empowering, makes the learning environment cooperative and progressive which can only be a good thing, right!

Thanks TAGteach!

My gratitude to my TAGteach coach Theresa McKeon BA is infinte and I will always be indebted to the seminar organiser Sara Roberts KPA-CTP. Thank you ladies, my life will never be the same again! And being in the same room as some of the best animal and people trainers was inspiring too.

Learning never stops, I have a brain which mostly works but needs steering in the right direction at times so my aim is achieve Level 1 TAGteach certification. I had better crack on and get some TAGteach experience under my belt…

Here’s a link to the TAGteach International website, so you can see for yourself what I’m blathering on about:http://www.tagteach.com/

What is TAGteach?

TAGteach stands for Teaching with Acoustical Guidance. TAGteach is a teaching and communication method based on the scientific principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).

TAGteach enables extremely precise positive reinforcement of behavior by using an acoustical signal to “mark” the behavior – at the precise moment the child performs the behavior! The acoustical signal is a short, sharp sound made by a handheld device (the “tagger”). When the child performs the correct action, the parent/instructor immediately presses the button on the tagger and hands over a treat (candy, treat, token, praise, social recognition, or money) as a reinforcer.

With TAGteach, it is easy to reinforce behaviors precisely, quickly, and intensively. The immediate, accurate feedback and positive reinforcement result in the child performing the correct action more often, and for longer periods of time. With immediate feedback and learning tasks broken down into small steps, children (and adults) can learn many new skills with TAGteach — at their own pace.

autism, ABA, positive reinforcementFor more information visit the TAGteach website.

Join the free TAGteach Yahoo Group.

TAGteach taggers are available here.

See Martha’s book about TAGteach for Autism or feel free to ask me a question (with no obligation).

Sign up for my mailing list to receive updates, new articles and free tips right in your inbox!

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Joan Orr

I am a co-founder of TAGteach International and co-founder of non-profit Doggone Safe. I am co-owner of Doggone Crazy!, which produces the Doggone Crazy! board game, the Be a Tree teacher kit, the Clicker Puppy training DVD and several ebooks. I am co-author with Teresa Lewin of the book: Getting Started Clicker Training with Your Rabbit. I was a member of the faculty of the Karen Pryor Clicker Training Clicker Expo for 9 years and was a consultant and content creator for the Karen Pryor Academy for Dog Trainers.

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