Evaluation of the Effectiveness of the Educational Intervention "I and My Dog Friends" for Elementary Students in Taiwan
Most children exhibit strong interest in animals. Experiences of interacting with pets can help children develop positive attitudes toward animals.
The purpose of this study was to set up an effective educational intervention program in order to improve elementary school students' knowledge about dogs.
"I and My Dog Friends" was designed as a step-by-step program executed with dog ambassadors. During sessions, students should have some social interaction with dog ambassadors under structured directions. Besides, a 15-minute section of verbal education, of which the topics include canine physiology, breeds and behaviors, in every class was also performed. Tests of dog-related knowledge were carried out one week before(pre-test) and after(post-test) the curriculum intervention.
127 students (66 2nd graders and 61 4th graders) attended this study. The second grade students' pre- and post-test mean correct percentages were 71.04 ±14.00% and 87.04±12.64%, respectively. It showed significant improvement in second grade students (P=0.0001). The mean correct percentages of the fourth grade students between two tests were 66.12±13.61% and 83.33±14.61%. There was also significant improvement in fourth grade students (P=0.0001).
The effects of the educational intervention "I and My Dog Friends" on elementary students' knowledge about dogs were significant. Whether the effects were caused by verbal education only or by both verbal education and interaction with animal ambassadors needs more investigation in the future.