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ERIC Number: EJ1138951
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1042-0541
Teaching with Animals: The Role of Animal Ambassadors in Improving Presenter Communication Skills
Fuhrman, Nicholas E.; Rubenstein, Eric D.
Journal of Agricultural Education, v58 n1 p223-235 2017
Much is known about the benefits of interacting with animals for learners. However, little is known about the animals' potential influence on the communication ability of the presenter/educator. The purpose of this qualitative study was to describe the experience of undergraduate students who used live animals (baby chicks, turtles, salamanders, and non-venomous snakes) during in-class and outreach presentations and the animals' role in influencing their communication ability. The influence of an instructor who teaches with such animals was also examined. A purposive sample of students enrolled in an introductory environmental education course open to all majors was obtained and five students agreed to participate in semi-structured interviews. Once audio was recorded and transcribed, the constant comparative method was used to analyze the data. Six reoccurring themes emerged. Presenting with a live animal (1) helped students feel less nervous while teaching, (2) increased presenter confidence, (3) promoted flexibility while teaching, (4) encouraged audience analysis, (5) helped create a positive, comfortable learning environment, and (6) influenced student career decisions. These themes aligned with Bandura's triatic reciprocality model. Pre-service teacher education programs may consider using small, live animals, when relevant, with apprentice teachers as they can equally benefit the presenter and learning environment.
American Association for Agricultural Education. P.O. Box 7607, Department of Agricultural and Extension Education, Raleigh, NC 27695. Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Georgia
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A