Teaching Students About Comparative Psychology
Comparative psychology is a branch of psychology that studies animal behavior and compares it to human behavior. It is a fascinating topic that provides insights into the origins of human behavior, emotions, and cognition, and helps us understand other species on our planet. As an educator, teaching students about comparative psychology can be an excellent way to enhance their understanding of the natural world and the human psyche.
Why Teach Comparative Psychology?
Comparative psychology provides opportunities for students to explore the social, emotional, and intellectual complexities of non-human animals. An understanding of animal behavior can facilitate understanding human behavior. Many students find it intriguing to learn that some aspects of animal behaviors are mirrored in human behavior, such as the care of infants, learning by trial-and-error, and territory defense. Additionally, according to a study published in the Journal of Animal Behavior, teaching comparative psychology can provide a new way to promote animal conservation in students.
Creative Teaching Strategies for Comparative Psychology
The following are some creative strategies that can be used to teach comparative psychology:
Hands-On Experiments – Comparative psychology involves comparing the behavior of animals under different experimental conditions. Teachers can come up with different experiments that involve the use of puzzles, mirrors, or other stimuli that stimulate the animals’ behavior.
Animal Observation – Teachers can help students explore animal behavior by observing animals in their natural habitats. By conducting an animal observation project, students can learn about the different types of animal behavior and how they react to environmental changes.
Documentary Films – There are plenty of videos available online that showcase animal behavior in the wild or in captivity. Teachers can create a list of such documentaries and ask students to write a review of the video.
Role-Play and Teamwork – Teachers can use role-plays to help students understand animal behavior effectively. Teachers can divide students into groups and assign each group with an animal they will study. They can each take turns studying and role-playing the animal’s behavior to demonstrate the importance of empathy for animal behavior.