Monday, April 4, 2011

Luring and Prompting

I've been reading several books about teaching. And repeatedly, there are stories, examples, and scenarios about teaching not being effective due to prompting. The student's don't respond or don't respond correctly. The teacher/instructor/facilitator gives the answer, demos how to do the problem, or prompts the students through to the answer. And horray! They move on.

But the learners often didn't actually understand. And because they weren't successful at that stage, more of the prompting was needed at the next stage. And the next stage. And during the exams and tests and standardized tests, without the instructor there....the students didn't do so well.

The authors give examples of how they, themselves, learned a new skill. Computers, video use, cooking.... and a one time demo or explanation is not really sufficient instruction in most cases. The skill needs to be broken down and mastered in each piece before the learner is confident and capable enough to do it on his or her own.

And many dog people realize that. Yet.....we keep falling back into luring. Luring definitely isn't a bad thing, and with care it can definitely speed up how a behavior progresses.

Not that luring and prompting are bad, they definitely can be useful and effective strategies. But choosing luring or prompting out of careful thought is very different from choosing it as a first response (or second response) solution.

I'll be carefully watching for luring and prompting with both the human and dog students tonight!

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