Chalkboard dogs

By Gioia HöroldLex Kleren Switch to German for original article

It is common knowledge that educational assistance dogs are used in old people's homes, for people with a disability or visual impairment. Nowadays, however, dogs also visit various school classes to promote the motivation, the joy of learning, as well as the concentration of the students and to lower the stress level.

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It is a muggy Wednesday morning when we visit a Cinquième class at the Lycée Bel-Val. The atmosphere in this mostly French-speaking class is relaxed but dynamic. We watch as the students solve a grammar exercise on the blackboard. They receive help from a somewhat unusual classmate: Nami, the school dog. The four-legged friend looks expectantly at the youngsters, seems enthusiastic and motivated to be allowed to work with the students. Nami, a five-year-old black and white Shetland Sheepdog, has been visiting various school classes together with her owner Natascha Seuré for three years. The German teacher came up with the idea of training her puppy as a school dog in the summer of 2018, when she noticed during a visit to a retirement home how enthusiastic the residents were about the four-legged friend's presence and how positively Nami reacted to the people. As a result, the dog enthusiast asked herself how she could integrate her dog into her daily work. For Natascha Seuré, this original snap idea turned into a heartfelt project.

Nami's involvement in the school and its goals

Nami has already been actively involved in two Septième classes. Natascha Seuré herself works primarily with so-called FR classes at the Lycée Bel-Val, where the children lack a certain German foundation and tend to grow up speaking French. With the help of Nami, the German teacher hopes to convey fun and motivate the children to cooperate in class. "The children should overcome themselves in German lessons, so that not only the language or the mistakes of the students are in the foreground, but also the fun, on the basis of the cooperation between the dog and the classmates. Nami should help me to reduce the negative connotation of German lessons, " explains Natascha Seuré.

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