This is a first teaching package on Ethics and Humane Education developed by the Azerbaijan Animals Protection Public Union. The teaching package is based on the leading educational practices of the Animal Protection Societies of the United Kingdom, the United States and other European countries.
The primary task of the moral education is to educate an ethical person. In a broader sense, ethics is understood as a responsibility towards others. However, a human being can feel responsibility for others and act in their interests only if he is able to empathize, to fully feel others’ pain. Therefore, the moral education should, first and foremost to form in a child's feelings of mercifulness, kindness, compassion. Practically it comes down to situations where a child acts as a person who perform an act of mercy, when he gets satisfied from having really helped someone. For a small child, such a weak creature who is in a need of his good deed, can be only an animal.
Three principles can be identified when looking at the methodology of development of the ethical attitude in students towards the world during the lessons of nature and biology. These are:
Principle #1 - development of the ethical attitude in the child towards others happens by influencing the child’s emotions - “the path through the heart”. The choice of this path is dictated by the age characteristics of students, who perceive emotional information more acutely than the rational one; although in each case, the emotions are supported by rational arguments. However, the rational arguments should not be the basis of this training program. Particularly we should avoid references to the "usefulness" of the animal. Such motivation is not related to the ethics of the relationship between a human being and an animal. Positive emotions in a child can be developed if the independent value of an animal is revealed, its ability to feel pain and joy, the ability to think; if we point out the beauty of an animal, his highly organized behavior, the complexity of his emotions and his intellectual activity.
Principle # 2 - the principle of influencing the emotions of a child and an adolescent dictates the need to use the principle of activity, that is, his personal interest and direct participation in the fate of the animal, that can take various forms; collecting information about him, participation in activities that benefit the animal, discussions of the issues that are related to the animal. In the classroom and during extracurricular activities students discuss problems related to animal’s life, help animals, watch them, read about them, write essays, draw animals, play role games, pretending that they are the animals.
Principle # 3 - Formation of the ethical personality of the educator/teacher
The most important educative factor in the implementation of this program is a teacher's personality. Only his sincere interest in the topic and kind attitude to the animals will convince children to believe him. A formal approach to the implementation of the program of ethical education is a waste of time.
An interesting example of the practical use of the principles of ethics and values education in secondary school is an experimental elementary school curriculum that has been conducted in Costa Rica since 1989. The program was conducted by two societies, - the World Society for the Protection of Animals and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Great Britain). It has been supported by the Costa Rican government, the educational authorities of the country and the teachers themselves. The goal of the program is to instill in children a respectful attitude to all forms of life, to each other, respect for the environment.
The teacher of natural history and biology in secondary school has to form in students a new attitude to the world around them, not only teach them various disciplines, that include facts about different types of animals, but to teach them ethics, positive emotions, form a new way of thinking to the world around them. New requirements towards biology teaching is not in big need of new textbooks as in the need of the new methodology to conduct the classes, in the atmosphere created by the teacher around the facts, in the new personality of the teacher.
The characteristic of the program is its interdisciplinary character - the ideas of responsibility before all forms of life are being developed when studying various subjects. The principle of the humane education is the development of a positive emotional attitude to other forms of life, to animals, as well as to other people. The methodology of developing the emotions involves the active behavior of children in the learning process: the active collection and discussion of information, personal participation in contacts with the objects that are being studied. This contributes to the formation of the child's personal relationship to other creatures. The active participation of the teacher in the activities of students and his positive attitude to all living forms are also a prerequisite for the successful implementation of the program.
APPU’s Primary Teaching Package is designed to implement the idea and possibilities of teaching the basics of animal welfare directly within the framework of the extracurricular school program.
Package represents a set of information for teachers, plus related exercises for the students, which can be adapted for use during extra-curricular activities for the students with different levels of knowledge and abilities, covering mainly 3-8 classes of secondary school.
The teaching material is divided into three sections: - Pets, Farm and Wild Animals, which corresponds to three main areas of activity of the Azerbaijan Animals’ Protection Public Union. Sections vary by colors to ease the process for the teachers to use the relevant one. The introductory part of the package includes recommendations related to keeping animals in schools. Faculty members are kindly invited to comment on the section by using the attached feedback form (‘we need to know your opinion about using the package as well as your recommendations to improve or change according to your experience on using a humane education program.
The content is relevant to many aspects of the curriculum guidelines for the ages of 8-14 years. To help the teachers in the selection of material for specific topics in the environmental education, the package is provided with questions and clues. The package also establishes the necessary link between environmental education and religious and moral aspects of personal development.
Further information regarding the activities of the Azerbaijan Animals’ Protection Public Union in promotion of the Humane Environmental Education, including extracurricular programs in schools and other resources for children, is available on the website