Birds as Little People or Intelligent Animals

Delivery Method: 

Carter purses his lips and places them against the class pet parakeet’s cage. The teacher frames this as a kiss, perhaps to orient him toward a gentle kindness. Later the children go outside to spread seed for the birds. One of the teachers comments about how happy the birds will be. Like the parakeet, pets are often treated as a medium to engender compassion and empathy toward all creatures, including classmates. Yet some educators worry that this anthropomorphic bias clouds the child’s observation of what the bird actually does do that is intelligent in its own right, independent of how closely it matches human psychology. Do you think it is valuable to frame birds as having human-like feelings and thoughts? What about saying to Carter, “What did the bird do when you blew into the cage?” or, “Do you think the birds will know that the seeds are not little rocks?”

Keywords: Twos, Children-Teacher, Mind of Other, Perspective, Exploration

Length of stand alone master video clip: 1 minute 51 seconds