But, I explain, it's not just having well trained dogs with exceptional manners which is going to improve classroom dynamics. The dogs are used in the lessons sometimes as a prop, sometimes a prompt, examples are:
People understand why a lesson needs to be fun. We have all been a student watching the clock while the teacher drones on and on. I explain that my classes are fun, creative and memorable because a well trained dog is present encouraging the learning process. It’s amazing how a dog can be used in the classroom to encouraging learning. Examples are:
There are many, many ways the presence of a dog promotes student attrition, concentration, motivation and confidence. Researches have confirmed dogs can improve the learning and development of students. Students often form stronger bonds with dogs than people and because of this fact, dogs can be used as a conduit in closing the gaps when students are showing issues relating to literacy, empathy and self-control.
I am reminded, and it is true, there are some delightful dog assisted reading programs already available. Canine Comprehension is bringing rigour, professionalism and cognitive understanding. The point of difference is that when schools work with Canine Comprehension they are working with an educator, who holds a Masters in Teaching, has a solid background in literacy and curriculum development and is also a professional dog trainer, with years of handling experience. Oh, and more importantly, someone who loves their job!
It's always wonderful to be able to talk to people about how and why you love your job. I am lucky that I have managed to combine working with dogs and my love of teaching literacy together. But the best bit of my job is when I make a connection with a student who has been struggling to understand. That 'lightbulb moment' doesn't just reflect understanding then and there - it will act as an illumination, helping the student find connections and light when learning is difficult in the future. They remember a time when they 'got it' and they work to have that feeling again. Those 'lightbulb moments' create lifelong learners - and THAT'S why I love my job!
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