Teaching and Learning Operant Principles in Animal Shelters: Perspectives from Faculty, Students, and Shelter Staff

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Many instructors have expressed a recent interest in incorporating service-learning activities into their courses. Several authors have maintained that service-learning opportunities help students to better understand class concepts and also lead to desirable outcomes in students, such as enhanced self esteem and an increased interest in social causes. In this article, we discuss the value of teaching and learning operant principles in animal shelters from the perspectives of a faculty member, a student, and a shelter staff member. We maintain that using psychology of learning students as dog trainers in animal shelters results in benefits for instructors, students, and shelter staff, as well as for the dogs in shelters and the people who adopt them.

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