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Influence of a dog's presence on general education motivation in a special education programme

Nina Dobrovič (2020) Influence of a dog's presence on general education motivation in a special education programme. MSc thesis.

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    Animals and humans have had a special bond since prehistoric times. They form various relationships, which are also influenced by the role that an animal has for humans. This role may be, among others, therapeutic, which is increasingly being established in the educational, social and medical fields. Animal therapy and activities are designed to improve the condition of a person's specific area or overall quality of life. In this type of activities, experts work with a variety of animals, and dogs are often trained to be in this role. Their involvement shows overall pleasant effects on humans, including mood and cognitive processes that are occuring when doing school work. The master's thesis focuses on exploring the influence of a dog's presence on the motivation for school work in general education in special education programme. The theoretical part presents features of people with intellectual disabilities, their education, school subject general education and basic concepts from the field of motivation and attention, which were a key part of observations of the empirical part. The history of the human-animal relationship and the history of the therapeutic role of animals are briefly described. The findings of previous studies of dog-assisted activities and therapies in different populations are presented in more detail. The research is based on whether it is reasonable for a therapeutic dog to be involved in general education's learning activities to increase the individual's motivation and decrease their problems with mantaining focal attention. For this purpose 20 observations of one pupil with moderate intellectual disability were made during general education lessons. Of these, 10 observations were made when the teacher collaborated with the therapy dog and its guide from the Slovenian Society for Dog Assisted Therapy called Tačke pomagačke. The therapeutic couple was actively involved in learning activities with predefined goals. The pupil's performance was monitored through behavior checklists. The obtained results were qualitatively and statistically processed, which is presented in descriptive and tabular form. The results show differences in motivation and attention in the lessons with absence and presence of the dog. It was found that on average the motivation was greater and the attention less frequently poor mantained when the therapeutic dog was involved in the learning activities. It was also noted that several pleasant emotions were present when the dog was in the classroom. The results show that involving a therapeutic dog in school lessons to increase motivation and reduce poor maintenance of attention of a child with intellecttual disability is effective. The results also encourage further exploration of the field, especially on a larger sample and over a longer period of time.

    Item Type: Thesis (MSc thesis)
    Keywords: special education programme, general education, motivation, dog-assisted therapy
    Number of Pages: 89
    Language of Content: Slovenian
    Mentor / Comentors:
    Mentor / ComentorsIDFunction
    doc. dr. Erna ŽgurMentor
    Link to COBISS: https://plus.si.cobiss.net/opac7/bib/peflj/12842825
    Institution: University of Ljubljana
    Department: Faculty of Education
    Item ID: 6196
    Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2020 09:35
    Last Modified: 24 Apr 2020 09:35
    URI: http://pefprints.pef.uni-lj.si/id/eprint/6196

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