Effective learning with the help of animals
International studies show that children, when asked to list different species, generally talk about animals that are not found in their own environment. Remarkable and extraordinary vertebrates, especially mammals, are mentioned whereas small animals (invertebrates and insects) are hardly ever discussed. An insufficient awareness of invertebrates seems to be culturally universal and can be found in different countries and continents. Experiential learning and a direct animal encounter are suggested as a means for a modern environmental education to address issues of biodiversity. In this study we assessed attitudes towards animals of 57 students before and after a presentation of living animals which was undertaken during their lessons. We compared the answers they gave in their questionnaires with those of 50 students from a control group. Results suggest that the presentation of animals leads to more positive attitudes towards the listed animals.
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