Benefits and challenges of animal-assisted pedagogy : aspects to consider before bringing a dog to school
1University of Oulu, Faculty of Education, Educational Sciences
|Online Access:||PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)|
|Persistent link:|| http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:oulu-201811233107
|Publish Date:|| 2018-11-23
|Thesis type:||Bachelor's thesis
In recent years animal-assisted pedagogy has gained attention in the field of education. There are numerous teachers in Finland who wish to implement or are already implementing animal-assisted methods in their daily work. Even though the theory and terminology behind animal-assisted pedagogy is still evolving, I aim to clarify the benefits and challenges animal-assisted pedagogy has to offer, considering research implemented on different aspects of animal-assisted interventions. This thesis is a literature review, based on research conducted both in Finland and abroad. I also investigate the experiences of long-term professionals who have gained knowledge on animal-assisted interventions throughout their career and experiences. Since animal-assisted interventions are a practical field, the sources used vary from international associations to national researchers, who have investigated various elements and questions related to animal-assisted methodology. According to my research, animal-assisted pedagogy poses both benefits and challenges to those wishing to implement it. Central benefits of animal-assisted pedagogy can include increase in health of students. It can also make social encounters easier and help students elevate their self-esteem. In addition to this, animal-assisted pedagogy offers emotional support and feelings of acceptance and accomplishment and aids in motivating students to achieve more positive experiences from school. The main challenges found during the research were the questions of planning, responsibility, safety and allergies. Meeting and informing all the parties involved in the process, establishing classroom policies and acquiring written consent from those parties involved made implementing animal-assisted interventions safe for everyone. Furthermore, the selection of the dog rose to be an important matter, including aspects of size, nature, breed, personality and trainability, which should all come down to the dog being good-natured and enjoying working with children, stress-free. My research concludes that if a teacher is dedicated to implement animal-assisted methods in their classroom and prepared to plan properly, the students will benefit substantially.
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