Natural Disasters (Week 7 & 8)
Todays lecture in Sustainable Development was focused on disasters. As teachers, I think it is crucial we teach this subject – although it is a sensitive subject- we have to ensure children are not completely sheltered from real life situations which we cannot avoid. It is important to steer clear of using words such as ‘death’ when discussing this as some children will not react well to this and worry it is going to happen to them.
What is a natural disaster? A disaster can be clarified as a sudden catastrophic event that has a serious impact on the functioning of a community/ country. We need to emphasise to pupils to make the appropriate link between disasters and climate change.
Before, todays lecture I was unaware there was different levels of a disaster. We watched a few videos on YouTube to begin the topic. I feel ‘Newsround’ would be a useful website to use for children when explaining disasters as it does not have explicit content.
To begin, we did some science experiments with Andrew. The first station for us was geology (the study of rocks). The main objective was to study how various rocks reacted to different interactions such as trying to break it with a hammer. This activity would perhaps not be appropriate for the classroom as I wouldn’t feel comfortable providing children with tools. ‘A world of disasters’ would be the most suitable task in my opinion as this activity permits children to gain vital skills such as teamwork/ leadership and critical thinking skills through researching disasters and where they occur in the world. If you had the correct apparatus, I think children could interact best with the volcano experiment. This provides a visual aid of how quickly a volcano can cause destruction. This might provoke children to feel sympathy for other countries who experience this trauma.
The second workshop was based on the political perspective of disasters. We discussed what people can do:
For children it can be a shock to hear the challenges other countries face. We are very fortunate to live where we do where we are unlikely to experience a disaster. The first task we completed was to look at a picture of the aftermath of a disaster and write down our initial thoughts. This is ideal for in the classroom as it gives the children a chance to write their previous knowledge. This task could be used a lesson starter once they are familiar with the topic to then convey to the teacher what they have picked up on over the last few lessons.
We discussed ‘Social capital’ which I believe is a very relevant term when discussing topics such as this. A perfect way to describe this to children could be to discuss a town/village they might be familiar with. Giffnock, for example, is well looked after with beautiful, tidy flower displays and no visible graffiti etc. However, if you drive somewhere within a 5-mile radius such as Darnley, you will then notice that Giffnock has more social capital. The local governments regularly try to maintain Giffnocks cleanliness, whereas, Darnley wouldn’t have the same treatment. This provides children with a real-life example which they can then relate to and perhaps comprehend more.
We then, scrutinised two case studies in Louise’s workshop about two earthquakes that happened in two contrasting locations. Both earthquakes happened around similar periods. One earthquake took place in Haiti, Africa in 2010- the other- in 2011, situated in Japan. This task would be convenient to complete with children as it emphasises the difference it can make to live in a wealthy country when disasters occur compared to a poorer nation with less government support. You need a reliable, close community to be able to bounce back from disasters.
We were then tasked with creating a presentation for the following week based on a specific natural disaster. My group were allocated- floods. Throughout the week we met as a team to create the presentation and practice who was going to say what. Our presentation included relevant experiences and outcomes. We then presented to the rest of the cohort on Friday. Personally, I found this microteaching experience very useful as it allowed us to get a feel for being the teacher. I found it helpful watching the rest of our sections presentations as this provided me with ideas on how to deliver this topic to children in the most suitable way to accommodate specific learners.
Natural Disasters is a topic I will ensure children are familiar with in the most appropriate form to suit the year group. It is important, everyone has an awareness of what is happening in other countries. This has expanded my knowledge on natural disasters, specifically- the political impacts and how much of a say the government has.
Elsevier, B.V. (2019) Natural Disasters [online] available: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/earth-and-planetary-sciences/natural-disaster