Language expresses identity, is fundamental to thinking and learning and essential for living in society. Animals & Us has been designed with precisely this understanding of the role of language in the life of the individual and their place in society. Animals & Us:
- Shows the ways in which our thinking about animals is intimately bound up with our ideas about ourselves as individuals and members of societies and cultures.
- Explores the language of human-animal relations, allowing us to think more carefully about concepts of what it is to be human, or to be a New Zealander with the relationships between:
- Culture and nature
- Issues of gender and racial difference
- Notions of empathy, compassion, suffering, freedom, captivity, and justice
Language programmes should be learner-centred, and should encourage creativity, experimentation and critical thinking while providing challenges and high expectations. Animals & Us provides an ideal opportunity for learner-centred knowledge development. Animals & Us:
- Asks students to think carefully about the many assumptions surrounding attitudes to animals.
- Encourages creative experimentation in thinking, reading, speaking, writing and other modes of language use.
- Requires high-level critical thought.
Language teaching, learning and assessment should be dynamic, progressive and integrated. Contemporary English curriculum and assessment structure has become so multidisciplinary that perhaps no other subject area requires students and teachers to encompass such a wide range of cultural forms and activities from television to poetry, from advertising to drama, from novels to the internet. Animals & Us:
- Focuses on a particular area of cultural conversation and debate: Human-animal relations.
- Allows students to develop their thinking and skills from task to task, building on work done in other areas as they move to the next.
English programmes should reflect the New Zealand context and should develop knowledge about language, principally through use. Animals & Us has been designed specifically for the New Zealand curriculum. It has been compiled by New Zealanders who possess both intimate knowledge of the demands of the English curriculum and wide-ranging expertise in the historical, social and cultural context of New Zealand human-animal relations.
- exploring developments in evolutionary biology in regard to the relationship between humans and animals, and the understanding of animal behaviour and learning and the roles played by genetic and social factors;
- challenging traditional methods and ethics of scientific treatment and analysis of animals;
- exploring the changing relationships between humans, animals and the environment and the ethicial issues that arise from these.
Social Studies Curriculum
Human-Animal Relationships, Social Studies and The New Zealand Curriculum download PDF (240 KB)
- charting shifts in attitudes towards non-human animals as an index of significant changes in values and social behaviour;
- examining the link between ill-treatment of animals and violent crime against human property or life; and conversely the link between early or remedial development of compassionate feelings for animals and increased concern for the life and property of humans;
- providing insight into the developments of significant social protext movements: animal rights and welfare, environmentalism, anti-GE and anti-consumerist groups and networks.
- tracing the development of the modern concept of what it means to be human in relation to changing ideas about the animal;
- focussing on human interations with animals - for example companion animal-keeping, agriculture, science, sport and entertainment - in order to produce new insights into changing social structures and cultural ideas;
- exploring connections between the treatment of animals and the treatment of other groups in society, including women, non-Europeans and the working classes.