Zoos Victoria and RSPCA Victoria have partnered to organise the Empathy, Ethics and Animals Teacher Conference, which aims to demonstrate fun and engaging STEM-based activities, centred around ethical capabilities, that can be incorporated into the classroom.
The conference will be held at Melbourne Zoo on Friday 14 June. It is mapped to the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers and linked to Victorian Curriculum Levels F-10 Ethical Capability.
While the inaugural conference in 2018 was centred on empathy, this year the theme has been extended to encapsulates empathy within an ethical framework.
RSPCA Victoria’s Education and Learning Manager, Sally Meakin said that animals play a powerful role in education and the way we treat animals reflects our societal values.
“Research shows that positive interaction with animals can benefit social and emotional growth of children. Children who learn empathy towards animals are more likely to be able to share and understand another’s perspective and feelings and the more children learn about the needs of animals, the more likely they are to provide appropriate care for them as an adult. There’s no-one better placed to impart this information than our teachers,” Ms Meakin explained.
“We identified a need for teachers to understand animals and empathy therefore the conference is about providing tools that will help teachers to instil important messages about empathy in their teachings and will ensure the welfare of children and animals alike.”
The full day conference will focus on a range of areas including:
- Where Ethical Capabilities fits in the curriculum
- Examples of how Zoos Victoria and RSPCA Victoria use ethics to care for animals
- Ideas for integrating Ethical Capabilities into any subject area or year level
- How to build empathy skills and inspire students to be active citizens
- How to access a range of teacher resources and activities that you can use right away
- The STEM skills used to address complex, real-word, conservation and animal welfare challenges
“By providing practical tools, for teachers to take back to the classroom, the conference will help raise awareness so that teachers can be better informed and make good decisions in their teaching environments,” said Ms Meakin.
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