The Motivating Power of Narrative
Spring is shaping up to be a busy season for School of Continuing Education Director Stephanie Itle-Clark. Itle-Clark presented "Animal Tales: The Motivating Power of Narrative" at the National Service-Learning and National AfterSchool Association Conferences and a United Federation of Teachers in-service training. The workshop focuses on bringing humane-themed fiction into existing standards-based lessons and programs. Humane education and humane-themed literature provides educators with a way to combine academics and character education in a proactive manner, one that combats bullying, encourages problem-solving activities, and includes feelings, respect for others.
During the first portion of the workshop Itle-Clark shared the details supporting humane-themed literature, introduced numerous animal-themed fiction texts, including picture book Buddy Unchained, and worked with attendees in grade-level groups as they brainstormed possible lessons and service-projects that connect human, animal, and environmental themes into one effective teaching tool. Utilizing picture books, the educators crafted project ideas including one in which middle level students, after reading Maggie’s Second Chance, could complete a city-wide service-learning project in which they partnered with local animal welfare agencies to gather statistics on intake rates, hold an outreach and education campaign to promote adoption and spay/neuter, and then gather post-outreach data to create a bivariate chart showing effectiveness of the campaign.
Humane education as part of pedagogy and curriculum contributes to making school relevant to students' lives outside the classroom; this broad approach is an influential means to promote growth of the whole child and allows a culture of kindness to extend into and beyond academics. To learn more about humane-themed literature and how to incorporate it into your program, sign up for the fall online professional development course Humane Education and the Power of Stories