Monday, December 05, 2005

Student’s best friend too!

Man’s best friend has been a helpful learning tool in Washington Grove Elementary school, Gaithersburg, MD. Tucker, a Golden Retriever and Ross, an Irish Setter have been helping struggling students with their reading skills.

One day, each week, the little readers get private sessions with one of the trained therapy dogs. The only other person in the classroom is the dog’s handler. The handler guides the lesson by posing her questions as if the dog is the one who wants answers about the story.

The children are inspired by the “nonjudgmental character” of the dog. The dog just listens and loves every word they say. This has helped children overcome their fear of mistakes. The kids don’t question if the dogs are listening, they just assume it.
The principal of the school says this enables a child to relax and enjoy reading. This is the first step for children to improve in pronouncing and comprehending the words.

The dogs are specially trained therapy dogs. They are screened to ensure they have the right skills, temperament, health and cleanliness.
The handlers must go through training with their pets. They do this on a volunteer basis, supported by donations, which means there are no direct costs to schools.

Over the years, dogs have been trained as therapy dogs to help the blind, hearing impaired and the elderly, why not in school?

In college, in my first psychology class, one of the guys in my class brought his Golden Retriever to class everyday. He wasn’t blind or impaired in any way. Those are very good tempered dogs. I could see why those dogs would be helpful to the children.

19 comments:

angel, jr. said...

What cool way to get children to open up, learn and overcome.

Ellen said...

I can see why they would pick a golden retriever and an irish setter... they are so kid friendly.
"Kids don't question if the dogs are listening, they just assume it"
... I suspect a lot of human adults could learn a lesson from that!

Becky said...

Well, don't that just beat all... My dogs couldn't be that helpful! They'd start barking at the kid if he stuttered at all.

Edge said...

Some days I want to go live in the dog house I built for my dogs. Things may be better for me in there!

~Jef

Lee Ann said...

angel ~ I thought that is a cool innovative technique too.

ellen ~ It sounds like it would work well.

Beck ~ haha, well I am sure you have sweet dogs. Those dogs that help the students have to be specially trained. (I don't think most dogs could be completely calm in that setting).

Jef ~ Haha, you are funny. A dog's life seems so simple sometimes, doesn't it?

Neo said...

Lee Ann -Nifty find. :)

Saur♥Kraut said...

How very clever! I hadn't heard of this before. A wonderful idea!!!

Dave Morris said...

The kids could also take the opportunity to learn how to clean up dog doo. My kids STILL haven't learned that lesson.

mojoala said...

Okay, I'm all for it provided that don't use Dobermans or Pitbulls....

Lee Ann said...

Hey Neo, are you warm yet?

Saur ~ Yes, I agree, seems like a good idea. I would like to see the results from this.

Dave ~ haha, that may be an issue!

Mojo ~ HEY! Glad you are back and feeling better. I agree, those dogs (even if they are sweet)are a bit intimidating.

Gyrobo said...

I have yet to meet someone with a genuine hatred of dogs.

The Zombie Lama said...

My dog is waaaay to hyper for that.

Lee Ann said...

gyro ~ I agree, unless someone has ever been attacked. They may feel that way towards them.

zombie ~ I think most dogs without the training would be too active for that type of setting.

The Husband said...

Dogs good...

Cats bad

Cabe said...

Weirdo.

Mike said...

Defimitely a different approach....but if it works I'm all for it.

jiggs said...

Here I am. Rock you like a hurricane!

I've been rolling with my homies, yo.

robmcj said...

My dog listens to my ukulele practice. Are you saying she doesn't know whether I'm any good or not?

Lee Ann said...

Carl ~ so you don't like kitties?

Mike ~ I am with you!

jiggs ~ Okay! ;) Glad you came over!

Rob ~ so he doesn't tell you? haha
I sure if he didn't like it, he wouldn't listen! ;)