Mary Ann started out truly frightened, wobbling on rented skates, clinging to the rail, taking one tiny step at a time. A little over an hour later, she could skate. She could skate backwards. She could stop, start, and turn. She never fell down. And she did it all on her own. Here's her account of what it felt like to BE clicker trained.
It was with a bit of trepidation that I set out to teach my four-year-old daughter to ice skate. At about the same time, I was learning to clicker train. Why not put the principles into action on the ice? Well, because I might make a real mess of things. "Fear not!" said Karen Pryor. So I went forward.
My students grasped the idea of tagging immediately. "It's either a click or it's not a click," noted Jake Corcoran, 9, after a tagging class. The results have been astounding. How many times have you told your dancers to keep their heels down in demi plie? With a group of twenty-five 7- to 9-year olds, each child was able to master the skill after one tag session. Subsequent classes focusing on everything from grand jete's to battements met with similar success.
From Karen Willmus: All this last year my children, (boy age 7 and girl age 5) have been taking Suzuki violin lessons. We've had pretty good progress even though I never push them to practice every day. (Mom usually doesn't have time to supervise and forgets.) Well, as you all can imagine, kids that age don't practice on their own. Anyway, as the year's gone on, the kids have been more and more resistant to practicing. I don't like to fight, so the practice is becoming less and less. (Classical conditioning, you say!)