I suppose I shouldn’t be so surprised, but my sabbatical studies in positive reinforcement have changed the way I relate with all animals, both human and other-than-human. That shift has become more obvious after these last 10 days I’ve spent with Jude the cat. While I’ve been sticking around San Francisco this month, my good [more…]
Neuroscientist David Eagleman’s Incognito mentions two fascinating stories of unexpected learning. Both attest to the mysterious powers of the human brain—and encourage a radical reexamination of how we teach and train. Eagleman explains how many in the poultry industry of the 1930’s turned to the Japanese for a technique for training chicken sexers, workers who [more…]
(This post continues from the previous one. To read that entry first, click here.) The Dolphin Training game shows us how much fun–and success–we can have when learning by positive reinforcement methods, yet so few teachers use the approach the game suggests in their own pedagogies. I’m not yet sure myself what teaching improv–or any [more…]
The first seed of my sabbatical came at the Loose Moose Theater Company’s International Improvisation Summer School two years ago in Calgary, Alberta. One of our teachers, Shawn Kinley, introduced the Dolphin Game and my heart leapt. Two of my favorite things–improv and positive reinforcement–in one exercise? Whiskers on kittens! The directions were deceptively simple. [more…]
Clearly, the native horse holds a special place in the Icelandic heart. Smaller than hulking workhorses found elsewhere in the world–but most definitely not a pony, as the locals make sure to mention–the long-haired Icelandic breed has the agility and strength to maneuver skillfully through the rugged volcanic backcountry. Fast, friendly, and fearless, the animals [more…]
Something about early morning makes it especially powerful as a time for contemplation. Partly it’s that nature can make her presence known—or more accurately, we can hear her calling more easily. Human sounds have not yet stirred to distract or drive away the more wild or rare thoughts that might come to consciousness, like a [more…]
Many teachers and coaches who use TAGteaching—Teaching with Acoustical Guidance—get resistance from parents or colleagues for “clicking” kids. Isn’t that what dog trainers use? Are you treating my kid like an animal? Humans are different! The palpable fear and anger get in the way of good instruction, both by introducing hesitation on the instructor’s part [more…]
We couldn’t have picked a better day to say our last goodbyes to Piper. A cloudless, brilliant blue sky offered clear views of the jagged Maine coast in all directions. A slight wind gave the incoming tide just a bit of shimmer. And the sun warmed our skin without wilting our spirits….