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Impact of Reading Education Help Dogs

3517 words (14 pages) Essay in Education

08/02/20 Education Reference this

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Hancock and Algozzine, (2017) regard research as finding answers to questions and developing hypotheses whilst attempting to understand the world. Each day, questions are asked, whilst some are not as easy to answer as others for several reasons. However, Wysocki, (2014) cite reasons may include how observations can be viewed in many ways from different perspectives, along with the researcher oversimplifying details around, missing rich details that could well characterise the true nature of the study.

Harney et al., (2014) propose research can be undertaken in many ways. Case or life studies where the researcher will be directed using specific stages from start to end. Nonetheless, Boot et al., (2018) state research can be carried out on an organisation or group of people, where the said organisation needs structured findings on information regarding the organisation. According to Blay et al., (2014) research can be carried out by an external company so no bias can be formed. The findings or results can be a useful tool which can then be passed on to different companies. On the other hand, Green and Thorogood, (2018) define how qualitative research has a specific role in the generation of beneficial information; on the subject at hand over a series of stages and from that of singular observations that show how worldwide structures work.

Patience et al., (2016) believe that when critiquing a literary article, the reader should identify the author’s arguments, alongside the strengths and weaknesses of the article. On the other hand, McKim, (2016) find critiquing can assist the reader judge whether the findings had been influenced, how the study was carried out or by the design of the study; thus, essential findings in a study could be bias in the influencing of the results. Consequently, Clarke and Collier, (2015) are aware that critiquing a study will assist the reader rationalise if the study is strong enough to affect conclusions regarding future practice. Whereas Torraco, (2016) defines Critiquing to be a critical measure of the systematic review process, Hernandez and Gerson, (2015) state a critique can be defined as is a theoretical piece of literature which scrutinises work including articles, novels and journals; that the critique is a tool to define the efficiency of the literature and discovering the applicable results.

The Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) is a tool that researchers can use when critiquing an article paper (Singh, 2013). The CASP tool according to Nadelson and Nadelson, (2014) is designed to evaluate the content and usability of the weighed research. However, Zeng et al., (2015) advise the CASP tool is a checklist including questions guiding the researcher. The evaluation does not however, according to Claydon, (2015) always represent the quality of the work; thus, when reviewing research, readers must be mindful of the publication constraints. According to Moule, (2015) to critically appraise is the ability to identify the strengths and weaknesses of evidence shown, whilst bearing in mind the research system problematically, judging regarding relevance with application to practice. The CASP framework will be used to critique the Noble and Holt, (2016) article paper.

While critiquing, Rochon et al., (2005) manual for critical appraisal can likewise be utilised related to CASP. Similarly, Walsh and Down, (2006) built up a system to survey qualitative research subsequent to finding the ones that as of now exist are unnecessarily lengthy and exhaustive. There are additionally critical appraisal tools for a wide range of research, for example, Polit and Beck, (2009).

Maflahi and Thelwall, (2017) state the title of the paper is usually read first, therefore, it is of the utmost imperative component when defining the study ahead. Where a title is too long, this indicates too many words, deeming unnecessary to the study. The tile of the paper by Noble and Holt, (2016) appears to the reader far too many words, which may lead the reader into disinterest.

The title of the article critiqued is ‘A study into the impact of the Reading Education Assistance Dogs (READ) scheme on reading engagement and motivation to read among Early Years Foundation-Stage Children’ (Noble and Holt, 2016). The article was accepted for publication on October 4th, 2016 in the International Journal of Primary, Elementary and Early Years Education.

The article written by Olivia Noble and Nicole Holt, who appear to the reader to work at Canterbury Christ Church University. However, there is no definition of the roles held at the university held by either Noble or Holt.

According to Ferris, (2014) an abstract will usually summarise in three hundred words or a paragraph, the main facets of the paper sequentially, including the general purpose of the study; the research problems investigated; the plan of the study; all findings found in analyses, also a brief summary including introduction and conclusion.

The abstract included in the article by Noble and Holt, (2016) points out that a case study was undertaken, showing a ‘notable lack’ of United Kingdom (UK) based research into the Read scheme. Noble and Holt, (2016) advise that should more research be undertaken in the UK, the READ scheme could increase children’s motivation and enjoyment in learning and in children’s educational attainment.

Isenberg et al., (2017) advise that the keywords in a research paper are in place so that other readers can find an article when conducting searches on the same or similar topic. On the other hand, Steiger, de Albuquerque and Zipf, (2015) state that keywords should define the research issue, the topic and the field which are covered by the article; and that electronic databases and search engines use key words in deciding whether to show articles to attracted readers. The keywords in the paper by Noble and Holt, (2016) would appear to be limited, however, the keywords give the reader specific points related to the article.

The introduction of the paper by Noble and Holt, (2016), discusses how educational attainment in the United Kingdom (UK) has dropped in the ten years prior to the writing of the paper, with reference to the Programme for International Student Assessment table, (PISA) (2005). The PISA (2005) tests fifteen-year old’s abilities in maths, reading and science once every three years (Gurney-Read, 2018). The introduction is clear as the reader is lead to a specific line of enquiry according to Eriksson and Kovalainen, (2015), thus stating that, furthermore, low attainment will lead into poverty into adulthood. The authors Noble and Holt, (2016) are seeking to prove how reading assistance dogs in schools will raise attainment levels, giving pupils an alternative method in engagement and motivation. This introduction highlights areas of research that are problematic leading onto findings and recommendations, which outlines the structure of the paper (Holloway and Wheeler, 2013).

Maher and Dertadian, (2017) state how qualitative methodology can include methods for answering queries about what, why and with what properties at diverse level; that the approaches used by qualitative researchers are contradictory, reflecting the origins persuasions or philosophical societies. Campbell, (2014) however, writes how qualitative research is a valid research procedure. File et al., (2017) state qualitative researcher’s base data and studies in script and account, while quantitative researchers use numerical depictions of data and arithmetical questions.

Noble and Holt, (2016), advise that due to the lack of research into the field of the READ scheme, a qualitative case study approach was utilised (Girault et al., 2018). Issues around the research recognised the children’s behaviour could well have been influenced due to the presence of the researcher, even though attempts were made to remain neutral in the questionnaire process (Lewis, 2017). Triangulation was used in the form of open-ended questionnaires and semi structured interviews; however, the authors found difficulty in questionnaires and interviews in the classroom, taking to pen and paper observations (Carter et al., 2014).

One short paragraph stating, ‘an ethics form containing an outline of the research design, and highlighting ethical considerations was submitted and approved’. This does not explain to the reader what ethical guidelines were followed, and what framework was used; also, the authors Noble and Holt, (2016) appear to refrain from adequate information for the reader to make an informed decision on the ethics of the paper (Barrett et al., 2016).

The results section display findings based on the methodology used, in a sound sequence without prejudice or confusion (Goodwin and Goodwin, 2016). The discussion interprets the study of the READ scheme utilising a small number of participants in a school in the UK, stating how there needs to be more in-depth research on the topic enabling the generalisation of findings on a larger scale (Roberts, 2016).  

Interviews, observations and questionnaires were the methods used to reflect the findings in the article by Noble and Holt, (2016). The paper discusses how when the READ dog namely ROVER entered the classroom, all six participants became excited, eagerly anticipating engagement with the dog. An increased level of motivation was noted throughout the study, with a willingness to read by the six participants observed. Findings showed an increased level of reading outside of the school by two of four participants. However, there are no findings in tracking the progress of the six participants after the scheme study.

The conclusion by Noble and Holt, (2016) advises the study can be used as an interesting base, however the study was too limited to generalise on a wider scale. The findings give potential for the scheme to be adapted nationally, however due to the scheme not having a concise framework the findings could be deemed as invalid, schools may not recognise the need for the READ scheme. Further research is needed on a wider scale to enable generalisation on the READ scheme, leading to the introduction of similar schemes into primary schools across the country.

To implement the READ scheme into learning environments in Wales, would require careful leadership and management skills (Caine, 2018). In the US, the READ scheme started back in 1999, when Intermountain Therapy Animals (ITA) first launched Pets helping people in Salt Lake City. Following the US, the UK now holds initiatives of its own, including the Bark and Read scheme supported by the Kennel Club. The idea that a more relaxed and welcoming atmosphere for children struggling in reading, benefiting from a non-judgmental, loyal loving listener.

Due to the safety and welfare of the children and dog, it would be dangerous for the dog to work in a fast paced, ever changing environment. The dog must be trained, assessed and certified to be able to work with children. A dog might seem friendly, however that does not mean the dog can work in an educational environment with children, without prior training. The dog could become stressed and anxious. The dogs must be treated with respect as even though they are assisting the children in their educational attainment, they are not an educational tool (Dogshelpingkids, 2018).

The Kennel Club has many associated resources included, but not limited to Wales. For the past eight years, Tony Nevett has been a pioneer with reading dogs in the UK. Rescuing a greyhound dog named Danny, Tony visits schools and libraries nationwide introducing the concept of the READ scheme in the hope that schools and organisations may set up in house programmes of the same (The Kennel Club, 2018).

Pets as Therapy (PAT) was established in 2010 with a Read to Dog scheme with volunteers and canine companions visiting 400 schools throughout the UK in aid to help children increase and boost confidence in reading. According to (PAT) young children and young people are apprehensive about speaking in public, with research showing how they children and young people can become nervous and stressed when reading to others in a group. Nonetheless, when a PAT dog enters the group, children and young people often become less stressed, less self-conscious and more confident as the dogs are non-judgmental (Pets as Therapy | home, 2018).

Another British scheme Therapy Dogs Nationwide, (TDN) (2018) suggest dogs provide comfort, encourage positive social behaviours, enhance self-esteem, motivate speech and inspire children and young people to have fun. Children within the scheme are selected by teachers, based on the child lacking confidence, have difficulty in reading, or have attention deficit. Again, the teacher chooses and will provide the book, with suggestion that the session to last no longer than any given 15-minute session (Therapy Dogs Nationwide, 2018).

Also, Building Understanding of Dogs (BUD) (2014), a programme created in North Wales was created by Eryl Restall and Maggie McManus in 2014. The aim in Restall and McMannus, (2014) scheme was to create a safer world for children and dogs. Children were supported in the caring and looking after of dogs, interaction and the hope to tackle anti-social behaviour with children, thus encouraging positive interaction and engagement with children. The BUD scheme was run through only two secondary schools in one academic year, with pupils whom teachers identified as needing support with self-esteem and low confidence, also displaying stages of prior disengagement (TheKennelClub-BUD, 2018).

According to McKibben, (2018) when dogs are included in interventions with a small group of children struggling to manage anxiety and coping skills, that dogs in the classroom can build morale and change the moods of the children.

A small study was carried out in 2018 by Dr Emma Vardy in the UK, seeking whether the use of a dog in the classroom does impact on children’s levels of attainment. Vardy (2018) set no pattern; the children could read to the dog from the other side of the room, sat next to the dog or away from the dog. Children stated feeling relaxed as the dog is not judging them, thus reducing in anxiety and fear (Vardy, 2018).

One of the primary theories of management created, was that of Henry Fayol, (1916) who created the 14 Principles of Management (Marx, 2016). Fayol, (1916) is today regarded as one of the utmost influential donors to the modern concept of management. Fayol, (1916) also fashioned the Six Primary Functions of Management, that align with the aforesaid Principles. Fayol’s (1916) Principles are used worldwide for guidance for managers to this day. According to Peppard and Ward, (2016) the term management can be used in attainment of tasks through peers in accomplishing specific targets. However, via leadership, leaders have the ability in attaining new opportunities on a set subject, leading to a higher stance throughout the workforce.

Therapy dogs are a low-cost intervention that could prove to be helpful in aiding children who struggle to read. One of the issues is recruiting the dogs and owners required for the scheme to take place in schools. Teaching staff could be encouraged to let their dogs be assessed by organisations such as PAT and TDN.


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