Prior to this input I had little confidence in my abilities to teach about natural disasters especially as it can be considered a taboo subject in the classroom environment due to the sensitive content that it entails. However, after discussions with my peers, I can now see the benefits of teaching this subject to children. They gain knowledge of not only how these disasters occur but the inequalities within different countries when these disasters take place.
In the lecture we discussed different infamous natural disasters and the destruction that they caused.
In the first input we were introduced to different experiments/tasks that can be used when teaching about disasters. One task that stood out for me was the baking soda and vinegar volcano.
This activity allows children to follow instruction, visualise the eruption, and have fun. It also required children to use their measurement skills which links in with maths. Teaching science in schools is very important as it allows children to develop certain skills that are required to cope in such a fast pace world, as well give them a deeper understanding of global issues like disasters (Harlen, Qualter,2014).
In the second input we discussed the major inequalities that exist between different countries when affected by a natural disaster, specifically the earthquake in Haiti and tsunami in Japan. We compared how these countries prepared and responded to the disaster. Japan was better prepared than Haiti as it is a much wealthier country with a supportive government. Majority of the buildings were still standing in Japan which was due to the strong infrastructure. Haiti is a very poor country where not everyone’s basic needs are met only around 54% have access to clean water, so they were in no way prepared for the earthquake. The buildings in Haiti were destroyed due to having a weak infrastructure. The UN reported that the earthquake took 230,000 lives across Haiti. Although the Tsunami caused a massive amount of damage and fatalities Japan have since managed to recover from it whereas Haiti is still recovering almost 10 years on Scott-McKie (2016).
In the session we discussed the importance of teaching children about these inequalities. Two of the four capacities of Curriculum for Excellence, (2008) are Responsible Citizens and Effective Contributors. This makes up half of the curriculum. Therefore, it is our duty as teachers to inform and inspire children to take a stand in the world around them by raising awareness of the impact that natural disasters have on different countries, people and the environment. It is important that we teach children that it is everyone’s problem and not only those affected by the disaster and that we all have a duty to sustain our planet. When teaching children about these inequalities we allow them to develop empathy and a sense of duty to help those who need it. It is incredibly important that children know these inequalities exist in our world it allows them to be empathetic for those affected and gain a sense of duty to help. We must teach children that their voice matters and they can make a huge impact with it.
In the second session we were given a natural disaster topic to deliver a microteaching presentation on to the rest of our section. We received tornadoes. During my education I have never learned about this topic before, so I knew I had to invest a lot of time in educating myself in order to give a knowledgeable lesson to my cohort. The GTC (2019) highlights the importance of professional learning for both teachers and children. When teachers broaden their knowledge and understanding it will improve the quality of learning within the classroom and inspire the children. My group and I worked together to analyse the information we researched for the benefit of the cohort’s education. The GTC (2019) also highlights the importance having the ability to work collaboratively with colleagues. We decided to present a lesson on creating a news report on an infamous tornado.
We discussed that this lesson would be a follow up lesson as they must already know what a tornado is and how it affects people, places and the environment. We discussed the skills that this lesson would develop for children like collaborative, research, performance and assessment. Reflecting on my presentation I will use Kolb (1984) Experimental Learning Cycle. Whenever I present to a large group of people, I begin to increase my pace due to being anxious. During the presentation I struggled to slow my pace down which resulted in my peers telling me they struggled to understand some of the information I was giving. I believe that this is due to a lack of confidence within myself and a fear of public speaking. My next step approach is to embrace public speaking opportunities whenever I can whether it be answering out in lectures or delivering a short lesson on placement.
Curriculum for Excellence. (2008) Building the Curriculum 3 Available: https://www2.gov.scot/resource/doc/226155/0061245.pdf [Accessed: 5 November 2019]
General Teaching Council for Scotland. (2019) Professional Learning. Available: https://www.gtcs.org.uk/professional-update/professional-learning/professional-learning.aspx [Accessed: 5 November 2019]
Harlen, W., Qualter, A. (2014) The Teaching of Science in Primary Schools. [Online] Available: Dawsonera. [Accessed 5 November 2019].
Kolb, D. (1984) Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of learning and Development. New jersey: Prentice-Hall.
Scott-McKie, L. Case Study 1: Japan Earthquake 11th March 2011 [Moodle Resource] Available: Sustainable Development Disasters [Accessed 5 November 2019]
Scott-McKie, L. Case Study 2: Haiti Earthquake 12th January 2010 [Moodle Resource] Available: Sustainable Development Disasters [Accessed 5 November 2019]