The Emergency Management for Schools education program (www.ema.gov.au/schools) is aimed at supporting the teaching of disaster risk and disaster management awareness.
The program promotes this process by providing nationally consistent educational resources to schools and teachers, ready to use in the classroom.
‘Living with Disaster’ was developed as part of the National Action Plan to Build on Social Cohesion, Harmony and Security, and aims to provide young people from a variety of communities the chance to tell their own stories of how disasters have affected them, their families and communities.
Facilitated by the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), the project began in December 2008 with stories from young people involved in flooding near Newcastle NSW in 2007and then included stories from those affected by the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria. See the Living with Disaster 1 - Digital Stories education resource for further details. This resource, Living with Disaster 2- Digital Stories, contains stories about young people affected by the severe storm at Lennox Head and Ballina NSW in 2010.
The digital stories tell of young people’s personal experiences using images, video and music. The resulting short videos are supported by teaching materials and activities to create a comprehensive learning resource, enabling teachers and students to have structured discussions about the issues and realities of such events. The activities have been designed to look at what preparation and awareness of disaster risk means for a variety of community groups.
The messages in these stories are developed by the young people themselves as part of ACMI's workshop process and the learning activities complement and expand on these reflections.
These teachers’ notes have been designed to assist teachers educate students about the occurrence and impact of natural disasters within a world, national and personal context. The activities are designed for students from Years 8-10.
Included in these notes are a number of activities that can be used to increase a student’s awareness of potential dangers, their level of preparedness and strategies to cope with natural disasters. The kit provides a particular emphasis on the social diversity of the Australian community with specific interest to culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
These notes have been designed with regard to the various Australian State and Territory curricula and essential learnings. Teachers should adapt and consider rephrasing the questions and activities to suit the particular terminology, curriculum foci and outcomes used in their school.
Some websites are suggested in this kit. It is recommended that before setting activities based on these, that teachers first visit the sites and access the suitability of the content for your particular school setting. The sites listed were accessed in April 2011 and the currency and relevance of information should be checked by teachers.
It is important to note that this material addresses the topics of loss, grief, family relationships, friendship and cultural differences. Careful consideration is needed and additional sensitivity may be required of teachers and classmates when selecting and orchestrating activities.
The activities in this kit are designed to assist students to develop understandings about different types of natural disasters and their effects upon communities and individuals.
The activities are intended to increase the student’s empathy with those survivors of natural disasters who have undergone social and emotional upheaval. They complement a series of digital stories that give firsthand accounts of their experiences.
The activities in this kit to are designed to increase students’ knowledge about preparedness, flexibility and resilience in the event of a natural disaster.
The activities focus on the stories and accounts of young people. It is intended that the personal and vivid nature of these accounts makes the experience of natural disasters and their impact more immediate and relevant to students.
The community focus throughout the kit encourages students to recognise and appreciate the diversity of Australian culture, value social cohesion and harmony and act responsibly with regard to all members of the community.