Animal rights

ValueEthical & Social
LocationIndoor, Online, Outdoor
OverviewGenerally, dialogue is a conversation between two or more people; a conversation, negotiations between two or more groups to solve a problem, to resolve disagreements, etc. In philosophy, a dialogue is conducting a conversation to show a problem and come to a solution. We encounter the dialogical form of cognition first in Socrates, then in the Sophists and Plato. Plato, through his interpretation of thought as a conversation of the soul with itself, developed a dialogue into perfection. In contemporary philosophical usage, a dialogue implies mutual communication between people that leads to a common meaning, and which cannot be reduced to any of the participants in the conversation.
Learning objectivesAnalyze children’s attitude towards animals’ needs and feelings in order to understand animal rights.
Skills developedCritical thinking Self-reflection
MethodSocratic dialogue, philosophical dialogue
MaterialsIndoors (classroom): Black or white board, chalk or markers Online: computer, cloud platform for video and audio conferencing e.g., Zoom; Outdoors: flipchart and markers
Before you start, make sure that children are comfortable and relaxed.
● They can sit however they want, but they need to be aware of your (facilitator’s) presence at every moment.
● If you don’t know the children you are working with, start the workshop by presenting yourself and getting to know them.
● The questions below are an example of how to conduct a dialogue. Make sure to adjust the questions and the duration of the activity to the age of the children you work with.
● Present to the children the rules of participation in the workshop:
⮚ If you want to say something, you need to raise your hand.
⮚ You need to listen to the others very carefully, because it is very important to follow the discussion.
⮚ Think about the topic of the discussion and express your opinion.
Start the workshop by asking the questions:
● How many animal species do you know? Let them give brief answers.
● Ask children to name their favourite animals. Each child should choose just one animal (it could be a wild or domestic animal or a pet). Encourage children to choose different animals, not just their pets (e.g., dog or cat)
● They should one by one say what their favourite animal is and briefly explain why.
● Every proposed animal, that is not repeated, needs to be written on the board.
After all answers are written ask the questions:
● Is your favourite animal wild, domestic or a pet?
● What is the difference between wild, domestic and pet animalS?
If you see that children have difficulties knowing the differences, explain them to them.
After the explanation (if necessary) start the discussion with questions.
For example:
● Who divided animals into wild, domestic, and pets?
● Why does this division exist?
● Does this division mean anything to the animals? Why?
Encourage children to answer the questions. After they answer, continue the discussion with a new set of questions.
For example:
● What are the basic life needs of your animal? e.g., food, water, breathing, movement
● What are your basic life needs? e.g., food, water, breathing, movement
Encourage children to answer the questions. Write down the answers for each question in two columns: Animal needs and human needs.
Next, continue the discussion about emotions by asking such questions.
For example:
● Do you feel fear, sadness, or happiness?
● Can you recognize fear, sadness or happiness in a person? How? (e.g., facial expressions, voice, behaviour…)
● Do animals feel fear, sadness or happiness?
● Can you recognize fear, sadness or happiness in an animal? How? (e.g. facial expressions, voice, behaviour…)
Encourage children to answer the questions. Write down the answers given to the questions. How? In two columns: Animal emotions and human emotions.
Next, compare the columns by asking questions.
For example:
Do you have more similarities or differences with animals in terms of living needs? Why?
Do you have more similarities or differences with animals in terms of feelings? Why?
Based on comparison, ask the final questions for discussion.
For example:
● What’s the difference between animals and humans?
● Do you have rights? Which?
● Do animals have rights? Which?
● Are the rights of animals and people the same? Why?
● Should animals have greater rights?
● Will we be better persons if we understand and respect both human and animal rights? Why?
Having a final and precise definition is not the main purpose of the activity! The aim is that children think about animal rights.
TipsAdditional materialsHow to apply online?What to do at home?
Written by Reich (2003) for Socratic method, can be well used in this workshop:
● Look for a suitable space and create a welcoming environment
● Learn the children’s names and have them learn each other’s names
● Explain the ground rules
● Ask questions and be comfortable with silence. Silence is productive. If nobody replies, rephrase your question after a while.
● Create what Reich calls a “productive discomfort”. Do not remove discomfort immediately because this is how independent learning feels like. Allow participants to gain comfort with ambiguity.
● Welcome new differences
● Do not reject “crazy ideas” since they can offer a new perspective but discourage ideas that are an attempt to escape engagement.
● Above all else, use follow-up questions to clarify points in the answer to a previous question
● As a facilitator, be open to learning something new.
How to apply it online?
For the online version of the workshop you can create a Word document and share your screen so everyone can see it.
Additional materials
● Once they have completed the discussion, divide the children in groups and instruct them to create a list of rights that would protect their selected animals. Children should think of and write down at least five rights that would protect their selected animals on a separate, large piece of paper, leaving enough room on it to stick pictures of names of the animals on it afterwards. These rights could also be very specific and children must be encouraged to think from the perspective of the animals involved.
● One  representative  from each  group  (or  groups  as  a  whole)  will then  present  the poster  with  the  list of  rights  to  everyone. After each presentation, you can involve children  in  a discussion.  Why have they chosen  these  rights? How and  why are they important? Are they important for every animal that their group represents? Are they important for animals in general? Are they relevant to humans too?
● Find room for the posters with the lists of rights in the classroom or in the school hallway and display them there so that others can observe them.
What to do at home?
Instead of group work in the classroom, children can make posters at home and bring them to school.
AuthorMarija Kragić, Ivana Kragić, Bruno Ćurko.
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