What Do a Caterpillar and Einstein Have in Common?

Editor’s note: We are often asked why it is that TAGteach works so well and so fast, sometimes yielding behavior change or learning that seems magical. There is no magic involved, except that which goes on in our brains. TAGteach Faculty Member Luca Canever presented a fascinating webinar about how the brain learns and why TAGteach works so well.

By Luca Canever – TAGteach Faculty

The answer to the question in the title is this: They both learn the same way!

Working Memory and Cognitive Load

The TAGteach mantra “talk less, teach more”, seems counter-intuitive, but there is sound science behind this. The role of working memory is to catch things from environment to ensure our survival. We can think of the working memory like a window from which our consciousness looks at the world. Also the working memory creates the memories for the long term memory. If we overload the working memory with too much information it won’t be able to pass on the memories, and the learning will stop. Too much information it’s not good for the learning. TAGteach, indeed is.

Associative Learning: What a Caterpillar and Einstein Have in Common

Earth had 3 billion years of bacteria, before life discovered associative learning. Life had blossomed about 540 million years ago when the first multicellular organisms discovered associative learning. If you know (and you can remember) where you can find food, mating opportunities and where your predator is waiting for you, your survival chances will increase. Organisms have learned by association for millions of years, so the argument that TAGteachers sometimes hear from parents: “Don’t treat my child like a dog!” makes no sense. From the lowly caterpillar to the brilliant Albert Einstein, we all learn in the same way. What is different is the complexity in the brain. Recent findings indicate that our (human) brains are not brand new. On the contrary they use pieces and parts that already exist and adapt them to our new requirements.

Maps in the Brain – Why My Car is not Like Yours

In his book “Thinking fast and slow“, Daniel Kahneman says that each of us has his/her own, clear idea of what a car is. But if you ask two people to draw a car what you get is two different things. At the same time we can understand each other because we “share” the idea of “car” or “table”. We can develop a common language because my representations in my brain are similar to yours. The memories in the brain are not “single-folder” kind. Memories are maps in the brain with different pattern for everyone. TAGteach helps because application of the WOOF rules creates a crystal clear tag point that is clearly understood by both teacher and learner.

References

Cognitive Load:

MILLER (1956) – The magical number seven, plus or minus two: some limits on our capacity for processing information
COOPER (1998) – Research into cognitive load theory and instructional design
BINDER (2002) – Fluency achieving true master in the learning process

Associative Learning:

GINSBURG (2010) – The evolution of associative learning A factor in the Cambrian explosion

FIORILLO (2008) – Towards a General Theory of Neural Computation Based on Prediction by Single Neurons
About the 3D Grid in the brain

Maps in the Brain:

WINKIELMAN (2002) – The hedonic marking of processing fluency
REBER (2004) – Processing Fluency and Aesthetic Pleasure
MORE ABOUT TAGTEACH AND SCIENCE:http://www.tagteachitalia.com/scienza/

TAGteach Principles Applied in the Classroom:

Webinar Recording: How the Brain Learns

Learn more about the science behind how the brain learns in this recorded webinar with Luca Canever.

The Effects of Using TAGteach™ to Promote Earthquake Safety for Children in School

By Luca Canever, Elisa Casarini and Eleonora Galanti

Canever, L, Casarini, F. and Galanti, E. (2014) The Effects of Using TAGteach to Promote Earthquake Safety for Children in School. Presented at the 7th Conference of the European Association for Behaviour Analysis. University of Stockholm. Stockholm, Sweden. Sept 10-13, 2014.
Read Abstract: http://www.europeanaba.org/events/submission/7/62

Obviously, the more you train the more skilled you get, or at least, you should get. We wished to find out if, given the same amount of training time, using an event marker (like the box clicker we use in TAGteach) could make any difference in terms of learning quality. We wished to find out if a marker based teaching could be a more effective way to improve learner’s retention, endurance and application of new skills.

(more…)

Interview with a TAGteacher – TAGteach in the Classroom with Luca Canever

Listen to this interview of TAGteach Faculty member Luca Canever with TAGteach cofounder Joan Orr on the topic of TAGteach in the Classroom. Luca tells us how he got started with TAGteach and tells about how he uses TAGteach in his classes. He talks about the following topics:

  • His applications of TAGteach in a typical middle school classroom in a group setting
  • His application of TAGteach with special needs students one on one
  • How the kids responded at first
  • TAGteach for math and reading
  • TAGteach for behavior management
  • Some challenges in working in a classroom environment
  • Using peer tagging
  • What he’s going to be up to next

(more…)

TAGteacher Spotlight – Luca Canever

luca circleAbout ten years ago, Luca had an idea: to give his girlfriend a puppy as a birthday gift. The puppy, named Iris was a starting point. After a few months, Luca bought a clicker and started to train Iris. The discovery of clicker training was his light bulb moment. Luca gained the CAP3 certification in 2006. After this he started his career as a professional dog trainer, even though his main activity remains Archaeology. Luca holds a Bachelor’s degree In Archaeology from Padova University. In 2008, Luca’s first son, Alessandro, was born. As a new parent, Luca became more focused towards using positive reinforcement with his son. Karen Pryor’s “Reaching the Animal Mind” introduced him to TAGteach. This was a real life changing event, that led Luca to attending one of the first TAGteach seminars in Europe.

(more…)

TAGteach in the Classroom

By Luca Canever, TAGteach Faculty

Managing the reinforcement for a group of people is one of the major difficulties that we may encounter. Especially if the people in question are 20 kids, 11 years old, with interests and personalities different from each other.

For the last two months I’ve been working in a school as a teacher. For the first time, I have the chance to use the marker with a large group — a group with no particular desire to be at school! How can we reinforce them? Some of the kids enjoy candies, some others like beads or extra time for recess. There are (they exist!) students who find study itself reinforcing, but, they are very, very, very rare.

(more…)

The TAGteach Approach to Challenging Behavior in the Classroom

By Luca Canever, TAGteach Faculty

At School

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.

(more…)