PAWS Magazine

Issue 63, Spring 2006

Kindness in the Classroom

PAWS encourages teachers and school administrators to think creatively about ways to deliver their curriculum instead of relying upon old methods of teaching. Did you know that Washington is one of 12 states to require humane education in public schools? Washington's law, RCW 28A.230.020 states, "All teachers shall stress the importance of the cultivation of manners, the fundamental principles of honesty, honor, industry and economy, the minimum requisites for good health…and the worth of kindness to all living creatures and the land."

Case in point: Dissection

As awareness of the ethical, human health, animal cruelty and environmental ramifications of dissection increase, there has been a national trend toward more humane methods of studying science. In at least 13 states, student choice policies have been enacted. These policies guarantee students the right to educational experiences that do not include the use of dissection specimens. Fortunately there is a wealth of safe, affordable, effective alternatives available to students and teachers. The New England Anti-Vivisection Society (www. neavs.org) and the Humane Society of the United States (www.hsus.org) even offer free or low-cost teaching tools and lesson plans.

A note to teachers: Classroom Pets

Before making a companion animal—such as a rabbit, hamster or reptile—part of your classroom, carefully consider the needs of the animal and your learning objectives. For example:

  • Can you provide proper diet and habitat to meet the needs of the animal?
  • How will the animal be cared for during weekends and holidays?
  • If the animal becomes sick, can you afford the cost of veterinary care?
  • If the animal dies, are you prepared to handle your students' emotions?
  • Are there ways you can provide learning experiences—such as videos, schoolyard visits, field trips, or guest speakers— for your students without an animal living in the classroom?

 

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