Reflecting on a pedagogical activity
The pedagogical approaches we envisage for working on animal welfare education are active, using pedagogical strategies that are based on debates and situation-problems. But these situations are not educational in themselves. They presuppose being accompanied by a time of reflection, of reviewing what has happened in terms of learning. Schön (1983) talks about reflexive practitioners. Reflexivity must make it possible to enlighten the pupil of the implicit and/or explicit knowledge and ethics at stake in relation to oneself, to others and to the animal. This is supposed to favour taking a distance with their own experience, their initial frames of reference and to make it possible to have a vision of others. Finally, it is supposed to allow the development of professional skills, such as reflection on actions which can allow reflection in action. The question which is still scientifically not clear: what are the conditions that would allow the learner to transfer knowledge from one situation to another?
The ability to think through a situation is a key competence of the student in the relationship he or she develops with the animal.
For the educator: highlight the hidden and implicit knowledge (scientific and ethical) enabled by a pedagogical process related to animal welfare; to develop the competence of reflexivity.
For the learner: to be conscious of his/her own process of learning.
Reflection can be implemented through different approaches. It implies putting into words, through writing, speech, drawing... It supposes a symbolic or real interaction with others. A well-conducted debate is in itself a source of reflection. Confrontation with others requires not only developing one's arguments but also re-examining them. The presentation of one or more professional practices proposed through the films can be used to question the student's professional practice in its own context.
Invite each student to film themself in a professional practice in interaction with the animal, then to present it to their colleagues by commenting on what they do and by proposing an interaction between them.
Asking for introspection at the end of a situation-problem on the acquired knowledge, new knowledge discovered, feelings... can be used as a basis for discussion.
Anicare films on herder practices: these can be a trigger for discussion about the conception of learner (at the beginning or at the end of the pedagogical strategy).
Films of a learner’s professional practice in relation with animals, created by themselves (appendix 5 and 6): these can be a basis to question the learner about their own practices in relation with animals.
Pitfalls and recommendations
It is often difficult for students who are not accustomed to thinking about actions to sign up immediately. The learner usually doesn’t understand the process of introspection about what happened to him or her during a situation. They may also find it difficult to fully express their emotions or feelings.
A strict framework of non-judgmental analysis and benevolence must be set at the beginning by the teacher. The teacher can ask first: what was the most pleasant emotion during the process, the most unpleasant? What made you comfortable, uncomfortable?
Schon, D. (1983). The reflective practitioner. How professionals think in action. Basic Books.