Thursday, August 27, 2009

Reinforcement - Give 'Em What They Want!

This post was originally posted to the TAGteach blog and is being posted here as well, since there is a lot we can all learn from kids!

What do kids really want for reinforcement? Candy, for one thing; money for another. This according to an article published in the the Summer/Fall 2009 issue of the Latham Letter and written by social worker Lynn Loar and five young co-authors. Parents and other adults need to realize that it is all very well to hope that an innate sense of moral obligation will cause Jimmy to clean his room, but if you want the job done easily and well, then you need to pay with currency that kids value.

Kid authors Hilary Louie, Evelyn Pang, Michelle Ma, Maya Rankupalli and Geoffrey Pott are experienced with clicker training, TAGteaching and the concept of reinforcement and they explain why certain things are reinforcing and in what context. Lynn Loar sums it up as follows:
So, there you have it. Be generous, sincere and specific. Use candy and money as reinforcers, even if you prefer other things. As Maya shows, children move on from candy, pennies and toys to more mature and altruistic reinforcers when they are ready. Clicker trainers know to let the learner set the pace; let your students develop this broader perspective at their own pace and don’t begrudge the candy and pennies in the meantime.
Click here to read the entire article.

Hilary and Evelyn are also the authors of the Clicker Training for Kids pamphlets and the book "Good Dog" that are posted at the Doggone Safe Clicker Training Page.

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