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Peace Starts Small: The Benefits of Animal Related Humane Education Efforts in the Classroom

By Anna L. Abbott

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My goal is to inspire elementary educators to teach humane education in their classrooms on a regular basis so that our children can grow to be compassionate members
of our community. If we foster empathy and kindness we will see positive change in our world for all living things. While my ultimate goal is to actually implement animal
related activities to a greater extent within our curriculum, that is not the purpose of this workshop. The workshop presented here is meant to complement my literature review (“Peace Starts Small: the Benefits of Animal Related Humane Education in the Classroom”) and share the knowledge, resources and inspiration that I have found, with my colleagues. It is in this workshop that I hope to inspire educators to teach Humane Education in their classrooms, even if only in small ways at first. I also hope to develop a base of support for teachers. I believe that Humane Education should have a stronger and permanent presence in our curriculum. Until then, it is up to individual teachers to utilize the current curriculum to teach kindness and empathy regularly so that empathy becomes apart of our everyday and way of being. 
An important aspect of this workshop is to keep the focus on the end goal: peace and understanding between children, each other, animals and the environment. Because participants come from many backgrounds and generations, respect towards animals will certainly vary. The objective of the workshop is not necessarily to change their own view on animals (although I hope it does!), but to recognize the significance of empathy development and the connection between being kind to other living things, each other as well as the environment. The goal is NOT to make people feel bad about their previous 
3 actions, inactions or the overall state of the world but rather an optimistic “what can we do about it, now?” approach. The goal is to foster a caring attitude from the roots and hope that is translates towards each other. 
This workshop would be open to teachers from all backgrounds and perspectives  It is more likely to attract Elementary and Middle School teachers, as their curriculum
objectives are more flexible and development of caring behaviours and other social emotional learning is much more focused in younger grades. Additionally, most of my
teaching experience has occurred in intermediate classrooms and this is where I can offer the most support. Of course Humane Education initiatives are relevant and significant in older classrooms (like High School) and can easily be related to discussions about ethics, human rights, animal welfare and environmental education. While High School is not my “specialty” I would be happy to support and engage in efforts to initiate Humane Education in High Schools.
While I believe that many people in North American have has some kind of positive experience with animals, I do not believe that all teachers see and understand the benefits that animals can provide in our educational institutions. This workshop serves as an introduction to the important subject of Humane Education. It might be a new concept
to some teachers and I hope that it inspires a new perspective and challenges them to engage in Humane Education initiatives in the future. For those who are familiar with this subject, I hope this workshop will reiterate the values held within Humane Education and inspire new ideas and create a network of support for them to utilize in future endeavours. 


Katie Carroll

Date 2014
Pages 14
Publisher The University of British Columbia
Department Department of Educational Studies
DOI 10.14288/1.0055439
Language English
University The University of British Columbia
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animals in culture
  2. Animal welfare
  3. Classroom
  4. Education
  5. Elementary Education
  6. Humane education
  7. Schools
  8. teachers