Ted's teaching tips

23rd January 1998 at 00:00
This shocking picture of animals being exploited can be used to raise several personal, social and moral issues with children of different ages, though it is a sensitive matter that needs careful handling.

First, try some questions that will help children identify with the picture. This is especially important for younger children.

Questions

* What do you think is happening in this picture? (the monkey performs tricks for tourists) * If you were on holiday, would you want to have your picture taken with this monkey?

* Have you got a pet? What is it called? Would you want your TibblesSpot to be used in this way (brings in vocabulary such as "exploit", "rights", "hypocrisy").

Themes

Some children may think it is cute and others that it is cruel, so several moral issues are opened up, these include:

* Is it right to use animals in this way? What about a circus, or a zoo?

* Do animals have rights? What rights should they have?

* Does it make it any worse that the monkey is holding a machine gun?

Follow-up

Many written topics can grow out of this discussion:

* What about your own pets, if you have any: do you think you treat them properly? How should we look after our pets?

* Trickier to handle is the question of hypocrisy: are we really kind to animals? After all, we eat them and kill them for their skins (leather, wool, fur).

Ted Wragg is professor of education at the University of Exeter

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