What is PORTL? That is short for Portable Operant Research and Teaching Lab. For a more detailed description click here. It is a table top training game – one person is the trainer – one is the learner – and often there is another person to observe. It is played with objects like buttons, pens, small plastic toys, cards etc…. It was developed by Kay Laurence and originally called GENABACAB. Here is also another good article on it from Alexandra Kurland’s JOY FULL Horses series.
I was fascinated! We played PORTL games in the evening on, by memory, the top deck of the ship. I had no idea how complex it would be – and how addictive!
I played one of these games with Kay as the trainer and me as the learner. I think it was an exercise directing me – or my plastic marker – between two posts. I finally completed the task – and at each stage was reinforced with clicks and treats (I think they were buttons!).
When we were finished Kay asked me my thoughts – I told her I was relieved it ended because I was worried I might make a mistake. She said to me “If you make a mistake it’s not your fault – it’s mine! As the trainer it’s up to me to work out the right way to teach you”. Are you sure? I thought!!! It wasn’t like that at school!!!! I wanted to hug her – and I wanted to cry.
This was my second ‘moment’ on this cruise. It wasn’t my fault!! I thought of all those dreadful teachers I had had – particularly one who I talked about in this post Part 34 – The Rise and Fall of ‘Conversations with Kert’
For me – this was another standout moment. So that was moment No. 2!!!
Our first stop was San Juan in Puerto Rico. I did a walking tour of the old area with several of the others. It was very picturesque….. and so many cats!!! Here are some photos!
We also had stops at St Kitts, where Jen and I did a catamaran trip to St John and went snorkelling . Now this was the adventure highlight of my trip! I snorkelled with sea turtles! Never before have I done that. I spent ages watching them dive, then coming up to the surface – I was just fascinated. I still think about that and would love to do it again! We also toured St Maarten and did a boat trip – much tamer than the snorkel trip – but on all these boats there is plenty of rum punch!!! And of course we only had some after the snorkelling!!
So in between the learning there was plenty of relaxation and fun!! We were even invited to the Captain’s cocktail party on the helipad of the ship. We were docked in St Maarten and could look back at the beautiful view while we sipped cocktails, took photos….. and talked!!!
As the trip went on, I felt like we were only just warming up!!! Conversations also continued at night as we all ate dinner together. At night I fell into bed and slept soundly. My brain was overloaded with so many wonderful things……
COMING UP – HEAD SPINNING TALKS AND MY THIRD ‘MOMENT!!!
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