The Puerto Rico Alliance for Companion Animals - PR Animals – has been using creative and inspiring approaches to humane education. At HSUS’s 2014 EXPO, Michelle Cintrón-Matos, their Executive Director, explained the need to engage today’s youngsters with action-centered learning – to compete with their busy lives, including bombardment from TV, films, music, computers and computer games, tablets and mobile ‘phones…
Sitting still and just listening or reading is no longer an effective learning experience.
|Children of Yesterday||Children of today|
This is why PR-Animals makes sure its programs are creative and interactive.
Creativity is inherent in the approaches they use, which include Shared Photography and Video Production.
Photography and Video are empowering tools to provide students with a creative outlet to voice their concerns and dreams about and for the animals in their communities. This is participatory community photography/video production, and learners participate in defining, taking and constructing a story inspired by the images (as well as directing and acting in the video).
How is it Done?
Students are grouped and divided into sub-groups, and all are given roles:
- Camera Custodian
And for videos:
- Script writers
They are then assigned specific subjects, for example:
- “What is the current situation of animals in Culebra?”
- “What are your dreams for the animals of Culebra?”
Specific tasks and timelines are discussed, for example:
- How long they have to take the pictures/footage?
- How will they construct the stories/narratives?
- How long do they have for writing the video script?
- Who will edit the video?
This is a team exercise, where interaction is part of the process.
[It also teaches the learners valuable team and organizational skills.]
I’ve learned to cede control of the classroom over to the students over time; there is a trust, an understanding and a dedication to an ideal. I simply don’t have to do what I thought I had to do as a beginner teacher: control every conversation and response in the classroom. It’s impossible. Their collective wisdom is much greater than mine and I admit it to the openly.” John Hunter, World Peace Game
What Do You Need?
- Cameras (compact, phone camera, disposable)
- Video (video camera, phone with video camera, compact camera with video capabilities) and computer (Editing Software: iMovie, Movie Maker)
- Cooperative teacher/social worker
- Clear instructions
- Community sharing strategy
- School/community exhibition
- Media – if using the film for television/public service announcements
- Teachers/Social Workers
- Private Sector (including for camera donation/sponsorship!)
Before starting - Listen!
- Be prepared
- Look for creative partners
- Help them focus their ideas
- Listen to their voices
- Resist the urge to control
- Be flexible
- Enjoy the gift!
Other creative humane education methods suggested:
- Story writing and story telling
- Creative posters
- Art competitions
Take a Look at Some of PR-Animals' Work:
A project by the Puerto Rico Alliance for Companion Animals in collaboration with Fundación para el Capital Social, lead by Dr. Astrid Morales who was certified in the PhotoVoice © methodology
"There are two educations: one should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live." John Adams