The forum on Positive Learning Environment continued on this week and began with the question of using pet therapy in the classroom. Jemma posted a photo of her dog that she had taken into her classroom and was asking our thoughts on this technique?
I really like the idea of pet therapy as a means for creating a positive learning environment, but I can also appreciate the fact that not all students might like dogs, even if Jemma’s is cute and sweet. I know there’s been studies to show the benefit of pet therapy in education. As stated in this great article called Bringing Therapy Dogs To Your School, that research has demonstrated that introducing therapy dogs into a school setting has enhanced reading and contributed to emotional and relational development. The physical interaction with a dog reduces blood pressure and assists in pain management. Dog therapy stimulates cognitive skills such as memory and problem solving as well, which will help in the classroom. There are also some drawbacks to the dog therapy in the classroom, such as allergies and legal liabilities. I think there are always pros and cons to everything, but do the pros outweigh the cons?
This is a great list to keep in mind when considering ways to keep a positive learning environment in the classroom. It seems like sometimes we take some of it for granted, it’s good to keep a list as a reminder.
- prizes independent interests and emphasizes autonomy
- conducts group activities in moderation and in small, carefully managed groups
- values kindness, caring, empathy, good citizenship
- insists on orderly classrooms and hallways
- organizes space into small, quiet classrooms
- chooses teachers who seem to understand the shy/serious/introverted/sensitive temperament
- focuses its academic/athletic/extracurricular activities on subjects that are particularly interesting to your child
- enforces an anti-bullying program
- emphasizes a tolerant, down-to-earth culture
- attracts like-minded peers, for example intellectual kids, or artistic or athletic ones, depending on your child’s preference