Thursday, January 31, 2013

5 Tips for Conquering Demons

TAGteach offers a tool for parents, teachers and coaches to help overcome fears and anxieties that inhibit progress. The fear and anxiety demons come in many forms:
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of injury
  • Fear of embarrassment
  • Fear of the unknown
  • Fear of ridicule
  • Fear of disappointment
If you are a teacher, coach, parent, or someone who has ever tried something new, difficult or scary, you can probably add to this list. Some fears can impact health (fear of injections, fear of the doctor or dentist), some can impact daily living (fear of failure at simple tasks, fear of driving or riding the bus, fear of dogs) and there are many other examples of fears that slow or impede progress at school, sports and other areas of life.

There are some fears that we can all understand (fear of injections, fear of jumping off a 10 meter diving platform) and some fears that seem unfounded to most of us (fear of trying to tie shoes or fear of trying to hit a golf ball). As teachers, coaches or parents it is often our job to help someone else succeed despite the presence of a fear demon. 

TAGteach can be an effective tool for helping to learners to progress past their fear. Here are five tips for reducing fear based on the TAGteach approach:
  1. Start from a point of success. This is something that the learner can already do confidently. It could be as simple as pointing to a picture of the fear object, or making an observation while watching someone else perform the scary feat. Create a tag point based on this point of of success.
  2. Consult with the learner about the tag point.
  3. Have the learner tag you, or someone else who can demonstrate (if possible).
  4. Increase difficulty in tiny increments. Go back to an easier task if the learner seems worried.
  5. Build confidence by working to fluency for each component of the task.
Here is an example. TAGteacher Sara McLoudrey discovered that her preschool son was terrified of the dentist. Rather than hold him down, or sedate him (as some parents are advised to do), Sara decided to use her TAGteach skills to teach him to cooperate at the dentist. Sara started with something her son could already do without being afraid, walking on the sidewalk outside the dentist office. She did not even try to open the door until she had fluency with walking up to the door. Meanwhile Sara worked at home, tagging her son for looking at dentist pictures and playing dentist games. Her son eventually progressed to getting willingly into the dentist chair to allow the dentist to count and then examine his teeth. Now three years later the fear has not returned and he still cooperates willingly with the dentist.

Here is a video showing an early session with tag points related to touching elements in photos of the dentist office:

If you are interested in finding out more about using TAGteach to reduce fear and anxiety in learners, please join us for a Webinar on Feb 12, 2013 (available after that date as a recording).

TAGteach Webinar: Using TAGteach to Reduce Fear

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