AGR 1040: Animal Basics provides both independent and collaborative learning approaches and encourages students to gain knowledge, skills and experiences that are career and daily life relevant.
Learning activities are centered on the development of knowledge and understandings about animal care. The learning activities also help students build a portfolio of experiences and evidence of learning that they can use to pursue their interest in animal care and welfare.
These learning activities also build knowledge and skills that prepare students for the final project which is centered on their ability to demonstrate what they have learned about protecting the health of an animal. The final project allows considerable flexibility as students also have the option to research, apply and demonstrate what they have learned in the course through a mode of expression of their choosing.
Opportunities to practise and gain experience and understandings about responsibility and care are important for students who may be considering a career or occupation that involves animals. Students are encouraged to reflect on and discuss ideas for working or volunteering for such places as veterinary clinics, zoos, food animal producers, local stables, animal shelters or kennels. Gaining experience with a an animal species beyond just cats and dogs can also benefit admissions, application processes or criteria that students may have to meet when they finish high school.
Students learn best when they are engaged in activities that are relevant to them and are offered a variety of approaches and choice. When given the opportunity to explore topics that interest them and build ownership through authentic tasks, learners not only change their attitudes but also their behaviours.
Practical “Authentic” Learning
Students can apply their AGR 1040: Animal Basics learning experiences to authentic “real-world” contexts. Students can / should:
- use the hours they spend on the coursework as hours of experience in learning about animal care
- apply their learning to volunteer or work experience opportunities
- include experience they may already have or be involved with and apply it to their learning activities via the “Apply Your Experience” options
- build a focused portfolio of the new knowledge acquired through the learning activities
- write a culminating 200-word personal reflection statement about their philosophy and beliefs that becomes part of a personal or career portfolio.
Independent learning is an integral part of AGR 1040 – Animal Basics. Independent learning refers to instructional methods and approaches which foster the development of individual student initiative and commitment. Although independent learning is often associated with individual learning, working alone does not automatically develop an independent approach to learning. Teachers and peers play an important role in enabling and supporting learning.
Structured and coherent independent learning tasks have been shown to provide the following benefits for students:
- Improved academic performance
- Increased motivation and confidence
- Greater student awareness of their limitations and their ability to manage them
- Differentiated learning opportunities.
Successful independent learning depends on the establishment of a positive, encouraging and enabling environment in which students work; the provision of ongoing feedback and opportunities to reflect on and think about how learning has occurred; and support for students to plan, self-monitor and make their own choices about pacing and direction.
Student Choice & Learning Context
AGR 1040: Animal Basics is designed to provide considerable flexibility and choice for students. It also reflects current best practices for humane animal care and welfare. Although students are provided with some choice in integrating experiences they may have with raising and caring for animals, they are also expected to use the sources provided and complete their learning responsibilities in each inquiry, including the guided activities and reflections.