Thursday, February 12, 2009

Introducing TAGteach to Fishermen Part 1

Welcome to the adventures of TAGteach!
(Insert appropriate TV introduction music here.)

An ongoing account of TAGteach introductions, triumphs and tribulations!
This week I offer the first installment of :
TAGteach, Parrots and the Men from the Bering Sea! by Theresa McKeon

(Warning... these accounts are in bloggish form which means they have not been edited and will contain gross errors in grammar, form and spelling. I often use ... as a pause when I don't feel the comma is up to the task of defining the whirring sound that goes off in my brain when I think. It is my desire to dispense the information and later find perfection. To prove my point and horrify professional writers, Iwill add an emotcon :) )

Chapter 1
Blink...blink, blink...blink If this had been a face to face meetingi nstead of a phone call, the client would have thought the person she contacted was stone deaf. I was caught speechless. I didn't make the caller repeat herself but I did have to mentally replay the introduction. "Hi, this is Amy Duz owner of IWorkWise, a company that provides safety training and regulatory compliance consulting for several major companies. I would like to talk to you about providing a management training course for the crew of a commercial fishing vessel in Dutch Harbor, Alaska"

I recovered from brief bout with aphasia. "Hmmm, you mean like the television show, "The deadliest Catch"? Like with freezing temperatures and slippery decks and very, ah...tough...people... She made a sound that must have been a cross between a sigh and a chuckle. "Well, yeah, I guess. But these guys are fantastic. They are smart and fun and want to make their workplace better."At the risk of alienating this woman further, I blurted out "Do you know what we do?" "Yes" she replied with great confidence, "you teach people how to work with other people in a positive reinforcing manner, yes?"

Well yes, that was true but usually it was directed towards coaches, teachers and behavior analysts... you know, land lubing types. I wasn't sure that the guys who performed "the world's most dangerous job" would be wholly captured by positive reinforcement and marker based training.

Oh the biases we hold close to the vest.

After a proverbial throat clearing to convince her I was not unsure of my ability to provide said services, maybe just nursing an early cold, I said, "We can do it!" (You may have noticed a certain politician co-opted my powerful phrase with some equally positive results.) I asked Amy how she had found us and she recounted the search for positive training and her path to TAGteach.

Amy had a parrot that was in need of training when what should appear in the pocket of her airplane seat but a fortuitously left behind copy of Don't Shoot the Dog by Karen Pryor. The book literally opened the world of reinforcement based training to Amy. The leap between positive behavior training for parrots and positive physical and behavioral training for humans was not so big. "I'll call Karen" she thought...and she did.

Next installment:
Company co-owner, Tim: Big Burly Bear or Behaviorist Extraordinaire?

No comments:

Post a Comment