Thursday, September 20, 2012

Help Us Find Missing TAGteachers

We are trying to update our database of TAGteachers, but we seem to have out of date email addresses for many people. Here is a list of TAGteachers that are certified, but we don't have current email contact information. If you see your name on the list below please contact us so that we can get your free membership started and so that we can keep in touch with you. If you know anyone on the list, please let them know that we would like to stay in touch with them. Please send updated email information to

Everyone who does not contact us from the list below will be inactivated and will not longer appear in the TAGteacher database.

If you are a certified TAGteacher and you would like to check to see whether you are in our database, just go to the TAGteacher directory and search for yourself. If you are listed, then you can login at the member page with your email address and password. If you don't know your password, click on "forgot password" and you will get to reset your password. If you are a certified TAGteacher and you are not listed in the TAGteacher directory please send an email to with your name and where you were certified and what year (if you remember).

Upcoming TAGteach Events

Florida Association for Behavior Analysis - TAGteach A Useful Tool in Educational Settings
Date: Sept 21, 2012
Location: Jacksonville FL
Get more information and register

TAGteach Webinar (free for members): Back Chaining - The Key to Reliability
Date: Oct 10, 2:45pm EDT
Location: Online
Get more info and register

Formation en TAGteach
Date: Oct 13 and 14, 2012
Location: Drumondville QC
Information et inscription

APDT Annual Educational Conference and Trade Show - TAGteach Workshops
Date: Oct 19 and 20, 2012
Location: Northern Kentucky Convention Center
Get more info and register

Advanced TAGteach Seminar - Switzerland
Date: Oct 25-28, 2012
Location: Solothurn Switzerland
Get more info and register
Prerequisite: have attended a primary seminar, or have taken online intro to TAGteach course - Special discount on the online course with seminar registration.

TAGteach and Clicker Training - The Dynamic Duo - Italy
Date: Nov 2-4, 2012
Location: Illasi, Italy
Get more info and register

TAGteach Primary Certification and Training Seminar
Date: Dec 1-2, 2012
Location: Asheville, NC
Get more info and register 

TAGteach at Clicker Expo - San Francisco
Date: Jan 25-27, 2013
Location: Burlingame CA
Get more info and register 

TAGteach Primary Certification and Training Seminar
Date: Feb 9-10, 2013
Location: Marysville OH
Get more info and register

WOOF: The Eastern European Training and Behaviour Conference
Date: Feb 22-24, 2013
Location: Milton Keynes, UK
Get more info and register

TAGteach at Clicker Expo - Stamford CT
Date: Mar 8-10, 2013
Location: Burlingame CA
Get more info and register  

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

TAGteach: What's the Point?

What is the point? With TAGteach™, a revolutionary new way of teaching, it’s a tag point. The tag point is the specific learning goal that the teacher will mark with a tag that highlights success for the learner. The tag pinpoints the exact moment the tag point is executed correctly and gives immediate and clear feedback to the learner or athlete. The most common and effective way to mark a correct response is with a short sharp sound made using a handheld clicker or tagger.

The tag becomes a positive reinforcer through association with tangible rewards (candy for example) or as a result of the good feelings that are come from success and improvement and praise from the teacher. Younger learners keep track of their tags and trade them in for beads, stickers or other prizes. Older and higher level learners often do not require a tangible primary reinforcer, since they are reinforced just by receiving the immediate and clear feedback from the tag. TAGteach is a targeted organized approach to giving positive reinforcement that facilitates accelerated learning while minimizing frustration on the part of teacher and learner.

Clarity and simplicity are key aspects of TAGteach. A tag point is defined so that the learner does not need to ask why he didn’t get a tag if the tag does not come. Tag points are never combined, since this can cause confusion, frustration and sometimes outright hostility in the learner. If a soccer player is asked to kick with the side of his foot, while looking at the target and holding his arms out for balance and the tag does not come, he will ask the coach which part he didn’t get correct. The coach will be forced to answer and this leads to verbal correction and defeats the purpose of using the TAGteach method. The TAGteacher thinks ahead, plans the succession of tag points that will be required to shape the skill and works on them one at time. As the learner becomes proficient with each piece, the entire skill naturally comes together. Sometimes a learner regresses. In this case the teacher moves back a step in the shaping plan and works back up again. Each time the learner improves more quickly than in the previous session. If a learner is having trouble, the teacher breaks the difficult aspect into even smaller increments so that the learner can succeed and earn a tag. TAGteachers learn to set their learners up for success so that learning becomes a very positive experience for both teacher and learner, with success leading to further success.

The immediacy and clarity of the feedback allows the learner to form a mental picture of the movement or position in association with the tag sound. “I can see a picture of myself doing it in my head”, said a ballet student when asked to explain why TAGteach helped to fix a problem with which he had been struggling for years. This “mental picture” description is frequently articulated by learners when asked what happens in their minds when they hear the tag. Some scientists think that the click sound is processed by the amygdala, a primitive part of the brain that controls emotion and fight or flight responses. This bypasses the complex processing of speech and allows for immediate processing and action. This may explain the rapid acquisition of skills and excellent retention rates that occur in high level competitive gymnasts taught with TAGteach.

TAGteach has been used in many disciplines, including business skills, music instruction, language instruction, sport coaching, speech pathology, physio and occupational therapy, medical student training, academic classroom, special needs classroom and more. “Tagging has taught my learners to think for themselves”, said kindergarten teacher Amy Roberts. “We saw an almost immediate improvement in skill execution and confidence in our Special Olympics rhythmic gymnasts”, said Debbie Boycott, head coach of the Oakville Butterflies from Oakville, ON Canada. “The athletes were very quick to understand and appreciate this way of teaching and were even able to teach each other using the TAGteach method”.

This teaching each other is called peer tagging, and is one of the most powerful aspects of TAGteach. Learners learn to tag each other and in so doing become caring teachers and keen observers. These learners learn twice, once by doing and receiving feedback from the tagger and once by watching and marking the correct performance of their peer. Peer tagging allows the teacher to focus on individual pairs while everyone is working. All learners receive positive reinforcement, even the “shadow child” who often gets little recognition in a traditional teaching environment because she does not cause trouble, but neither is she a rising star.

TAGteach is good for learners and teachers and it is also good for business. "Designing a safe system like this means breaking down each task into its individual components,” says Amy Duz, a corporate trainer who specializes in the fishing industry. “The process forces you to observe what goes on at every step and since everybody participates in the process, breaking something down becomes something everyone knows how to do. It's not just a job for management or the trainer, it’s everyone's job. This lends itself to more cooperation and consistency”.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Karen Pryor on the Neurobiology of TAGteach and Clicker Training

Here is another never-before-seen video of Karen Pryor speaking at a TAGteach seminar in July 2012 at Brandies University. Karen talks about the neurobiology of the clicker:
"Why is it learned so quickly? Why is is retained so long? Why is it so much fun? Why do we get this elation even out of rats and pigeons?"
"It turns out that the answers were in neuroscience" 
Watch this clip in which Karen explains some of the answers to these questions:

A longer version of this is available for free to members in the member area of the TAGteach website.

The full video is available in the TAGteach store (50% off for members - visit the member website for instructions)

You can read more about this in Karen's book, Reaching the Animal Mind:

Friday, September 7, 2012

TAGteach at the 2012 Association of Pet Dog Trainers Conference

TAGteach will be presenting a workshop at the APDT conference this year. Theresa McKeon will provide dog trainers with ideas and techniques to help teach human students with more success and less frustration. Many trainers tell us that training the dog is easy, it is teaching the human that is the hard part!

Here is a video overview of the TAGteach workshop:

Click here for more information or to register

Thursday, September 6, 2012

TAGteacher Spotlight: Laura VanArendonk Baugh

Nearly ten years ago, Laura skipped a clicker training lecture to look in on an introduction to something she'd heard about called TAGteach -- and she's never looked back.

"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...

"TAGteach has really influenced how I view and approach challenges. I set more realistic goals -- measured by my actions, not anything out of my control -- and I'm much better about splitting big, daunting tasks into little ones I can actually do! I'm using self-tagging in so many ways. And don't tell, but my husband and I talk about ways to quietly implement tags in the project teams he manages, reducing stress and frustration under impossible deadlines and with workers on two continents. "

Laura's most recent self-tagging project was preparing to pitch to a literary agent, an experience made much simpler by good behavior preparation. She designed the popular ClickStats mobile app to track useful click or tag session data, making it easier to log rate of reinforcement and success ratios. Now she's working toward her Level 3 certification and is looking forward to introducing TAGteach to more learners and their instructors!

Laura is also an accomplished writer! You can get her book Kitsune-Tsuki on Amazon (winner of the 2012 Luminis prize). A bargain at only $0.99. Highly recommended!

For more information about Laura visit her website at Canines in Action