Last week was my first week back to school for the spring semester. As some of you know, I’m currently working on a master’s in behavior analysis at the University of North Texas. If you don’t know much about behavior analysis, I’d encourage you to check out the post that I wrote last year about “What is Behavior Analysis?”
School is a lot of fun — I get to spend all week talking about behavior and the principles of good training and teaching. What I learn at school applies directly to what I’m doing with the animals I train and gives me lots of new ideas to think about and try.
This semester I’m taking two classes. One class is called the Experimental Analysis of Behavior (EAB). We’ll read and discuss a lot of research papers that have discovered and explored basic principles of behavior. I’m excited about this class and plan to share some of what we’re learning on my blog. I’m also taking a class called Legal, Ethical, and Professional Issues. This should be pretty interesting as well.
This semester, I’m also a teaching assistant for an undergraduate behavior analysis course called Building Skills with Behavioral Technology. My graduate advisor, Jesus Rosales-Ruiz, teaches the course. This is a very neat course that covers a range of topics related to teaching and training, including shaping, chaining, errorless learning, programmed instruction, stimulus control, program development and more.
The students in the course also have to do a training project with an animal for part of their grade. I’m really looking forward to TAing this course, as it’s both an interesting and fun course. I’m planning to blog about some of the topics we talk about and read about in this course because the course covers many principles that relate to good animal training.
I’ll also be continuing many of the training projects through school that I was working on last semester. I’ll be working at a local nature museum with their Patagonian cavies and a raccoon. I’m also working at our local animal shelter with the dogs and cats at the shelter and will be helping to teach group training classes for people who adopt animals from the shelter.
Also, I’m really looking forward to March! In less than two months we’ll be having the 4th annual Art and Science of Animal Training Conference at UNT. This is one of my favorite parts of the year. If you are anywhere near the Dallas area, I urge you to attend. If you are not familiar with the conference, I have my notes from the first two conferences here.
This should be a very busy semester, but also an exciting semester!