Why and how to enlighten the conception of educators
Issue: every educator has a specific pre-conception of animal welfare education. Some consider that animal welfare is a scientific concept which requires transmission of ethological and zootechnical knowledge; others consider that animal welfare is related to regulations and requires transmission of knowledge about legislation; others associate animal welfare with models (as the model of the five freedoms) and teach these… Anicare tools and methods may be in conflict with elements of these different approaches. Highlighting the different conceptions of animal welfare education in a group has four main interests and allows the trainer: (1) to assess the points of view and knowledge of the trainees, or in other words to make a diagnosis,
which allows the trainer to define his/her pedagogical strategy; (2) to know how to help widen and transform these conceptions to allow for appropriation of new approaches; (3) to motivate the learner by showing interest in what they think and their difficulties; (4) to encourage the acceptance of divergent opinions.
This enables trainers to allow expression of diversity and to take a low posture with the participants: a pedagogical approach based on controversies is delicate and may be criticised by the participants if it is in conflict with their own opinions.
For the trainer:
- • Collect educators’ conceptions about animal welfare education;
- • Highlight the main obstacles that the trainer has to overcome and the levers to do this;
For the trainee:
- • Clarify their own conception and posture
- • Consider the conceptions of others
- • Develop ethical, critical and… considered mindset approaches in future situations throughout life, in an autonomous manner.
A panel of methods offers the possibility of highlighting the trainees' conceptions. They stimulate awareness of these by provoking evocation, surprise (suggesting a pedagogical approach which surprise the participants), and/or a self- and/or group-confrontation.
We can’t put forward an exhaustive list of tools that enable highlighting of teachers’ representations with regards to animal welfare education, those listed have been tested.
- • A Q-sort about animal welfare education
- • Films of teachers demonstrating their different conceptions of animal welfare education: The films proposed by Anicare can be used as such; they enable analysis of the diversity of conceptions and postures and enable trainees to consider their own posture.
- • A photo-language with the assignment: “what should animal welfare education include and would be what should not be considered as animal welfare education”.
Pitfalls and advice:
The representations sought do not necessarily emerge when programmed. It is important to maintain listening and observation because they can appear at any time throughout the pedagogical approach. The less they are demanded, the more authentic they are.
“I showed teachers three films of the testimony of a teacher explaining his own way of educating with regards to animal welfare education. They were highly critical about some of the content. As a second step, I conducted a practice analysis group. One of the teachers agreed that we analyzed his own practices on teaching animal welfare. The exchanges revealed that he had similar practices, based on the same principles that he had criticized during the first step. I believe that he was really more open to the proposals that I made afterwards.”