Laura Monaco Torelli, Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (KPA CTP) and a member of the KPA faculty, is the Director of Training for Animal Behavior Training Concepts in Chicago. She works in collaboration with veterinary behaviorist Dr. John Ciribassi at Animal Behavior Partners, and is staff with Chicagoland Veterinary Behavior Consultants. Laura is also TAGteach Level 2 certified. Since 1991, Laura has worked with and trained beluga whales, dolphins, sea otters, seals, river otters, and penguins (at the John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago), primates, large cats, birds of prey, reticulated giraffes, Arctic foxes, horses, parrots, macaws, tree kangaroos, and red pandas (at the San Diego Zoo, Brookfield Zoo and Niabi Zoological Society) and of course, dogs (just about everywhere).
By Luca Canever, TAGteach Faculty
A new pupil with ADHD (I’ll call him J.) arrived in my sixth grade class a while ago. As soon as I was able to find the right reinforcement for him, I was also able to strengthen “good” (for the teacher) behaviors, such as sit, write or watch what is written on the blackboard. I was able to tag (make a click sound with tagger) in order to mark (bring to his attention) his “good” behaviors and follow up with a reinforcer (something he liked and wanted to get more of). After the first hour of practice, J. understood the significance of the tag sound and began to exhibit these behaviors more consistently. There is just one problem remaining to be solved, and that is the subject of this article… transitions.
“Shaping human behavior incrementally just makes so much sense. We do it with the animals because it’s easier for them and us both — why not for human student and human teacher?”
Laura has incorporated TAGteach not only into her professional work, for training private clients with Canines In Action, Inc and as faculty with the Karen Pryor Academy, but into her personal life as well — which finds her using TAG principles in organizing costume masquerades, in physical exercise form, in handling a firearm safely and shooting competitively, and in writing and editing. This fall she will tour the Indianapolis library system with Alena VanArendonk, teaching teenagers to dance THRILLER as part of a zombie-themed reading program and sneaking in TAGteach along the way. Check out Laura’s video, The Thrill of Tag…