This paper draws on Martha Nussbaum’s account of the nature of human well-being to explore the role of animals in formal education settings. Nussbaum equates well-being with human flourishing, and argues that people live well when engaged in essential functions that are particular capabilities, each a necessary but insufficient contributor to well-being. One of these capabilities is the ability to “to have concern for and live with other animals, plants and the environment.” Yet, this condition of well-being remains largely unexplored among in education. In recent years, the benefits of human-animal interaction in education settings has been researched and discussed in the social sciences, particularly the use of dogs to aid reluctant readers in literacy development, and the use of therapy dogs in universities during final examination blocks. This paper presents findings of one particular research project of the effects of a unique, Canadian school-based cooperative education program, “Under One Woof,” in which students work with animals. Based on interviews, students’ own stories of the impact of animal interaction – particularly in light of other challenges they faced academically and socially – appear to support other empirical accounts of positive effects of animals in education settings, and offer insight into the nature and effects of human-animal interaction as an element of well-being.
|Publication Title||Brock Education Journal|
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