Odblog: A teaching response to Japanese tragedy
A teaching response to Japanese tragedy
Categories: Environmental hazardsYet again, as we teach tectonic hazards, a major disaster has occurred. I thought Christchurch was it, but the subsequent events of the weekend in Japan show that nature never fully shows its hand. Japan, amongst all countries which lie on fault lines or plate boundaries, is probably best prepared for major tectonic events. It has invested billions in the infrastructure which mostly withstood Friday's massive earthquake. Instead of celebrating a triumph of modern engineering, we are left with the images of the tsunami which followed devastating coastal communities, as well as witnessing the very real threat of a nuclear disaster. I feel if I overplay this with the classes, on the back of the Christchurch earthquake, it will a) trivialise the event b) become repetitive and disengage learners and c) be an abuse of my position for teaching capital. On the other hand, students may wish to know more.
As a compromise to this, I'm going to show the class the BBC news special as an addition to the work the class are already doing on this topic and with no set agenda for the actual lesson unless the students look for more. In terms of a response, I would like it to be individual and meaningful. I'm going to ask the class to support the idea of haikus as their own response, after a discussion I had on twitter with colleagues. I'd like to explore whether it's possible to collate these, put through a free publishing package and sell for a nominal fee for the Red Cross or a similar disaster relief charity. If anyone has done something similar before, I'd be grateful to hear about your experiences, which might help us succesfully construct ours.