Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (TiHo)

Communication and animal observation in livestock farming : pilot study of a teaching project in veterinary education

Objective: Within the scope of a teaching project, students of veterinary medicine are to study animal and environmental observation and how to communicate with the persons responsible for animals on pig farms. They will be prepared to reflect on conversational behavior, identify difficult conversational situations and solve them in a goal-oriented way. In addition to piloting, the the aim of the study is to evaluate the teaching project by the students and the teaching staff. Methodology: Animal observation is trained using a virtual tour of a stock farm based on pictures and videos. The didactic approaches Design Thinking and the creative Walt Disney method are used in order to work on a previously prioritized problem. A typical conflict situation in pig farming is simulated in a role-play. Acquired skills are put into practice during a stock examination on the practice day, where the students communicate their observations. Evaluation is conducted using paper-based questionnaires and feedback interviews. Results: Evaluations of the students are generally positive. The desire to include communication studies in the curriculum was expressed several times. For the theoretical teaching units, a larger group of participants is needed to achieve higher interaction through diversity. The acquired knowledge is reliably applied and utilized on the practice day. Conclusion: The theoretical teaching units extensively prepare the students for the practical stock examination and teach basic skills of communication. Some adjustments to the procedure and focus should be made regarding the practical part. Generally, the conveyed information and methods are considered to be important by the students.

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