Educating the educators: a disaster resilience education project

The Australian Red Cross, in partnership with the Australian Emergency Management Institute (AEMI), has launched Educating the Educators: A Disaster Resilience Project. The project aims to build teacher confidence in teaching disaster resilience, thereby developing disaster resilience within primary and secondary school students.

Recent natural disasters such as the Tasmanian bushfires, Black Saturday bushfires, devastating floods in Queensland and New South Wales, and a spate of tropical cyclones in Queensland have all highlighted the need for individuals and communities to be prepared for these events. The increased frequency and severity of these hazards means that all levels of government and emergency services agencies may not have the resources to provide immediate support to everyone affected by disaster. It is crucial for communities, families and individuals to take responsibility for knowing how to respond to a disaster.

Research suggests that educating students in disaster resilience is a key part of creating a culture of preparedness in communities. Educating the Educators seeks to help teachers to do exactly that. The project has identified and sourced relevant, existing Australian Disaster Resilience Education (DRE) curriculum resources produced by Australian Emergency Management (EM) agencies, educational publishers, subject associations and other sources.

These resources have been mapped to the Australian Curriculum across all currently available learning areas - English, maths, history, science and geography - using general descriptors and elements, general capabilities and cross-curricular priorities. Geography has been mapped to the sub-strand level because of the specific reference to natural hazards in the curriculum.

The mapping report (which will be publicly available on the AEMI Schools website listed adjacent, via the 'National Curriculum' button), features a detailed summary of each resource. An example of a DRE resource available is shown below.

AEMI Disaster Mapper: an interactive resource for schools

87. Educating the Educators 1
AEMI Disaster Mapper. Screenshot used with permission.

87. Educating the Educators 2

Details of specific curriculum links are also included for each resource - for the above resource, there are 66 links across general capability and cross-curricula priority elements, and learning area content strands and sub-strands.

Educating the Educators highlights the broad range of opportunities for educators to incorporate DRE messages across the curriculum. The mapping report will enable teachers and teacher librarians to select at a glance the DRE resources that are most suited to the specific needs of their students and curriculum.

NEMP funding

Educating the Educators is a National Emergency Management Project (NEMP, The Australian Government established the NEMP grant program as part of the National Strategy for Disaster Resilience - the aim is to strengthen communities, individuals, business and institutions to minimise the adverse effects of disasters. Projects funded through a NEMP grant are designed to improve the ability to prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters across social, economic, environmental and governance elements.

Website links

Heather Bailie

Heather Bailie
has over 20 years' experience as a Teacher Librarian, ICT Coach and Leading Teacher. She has taken leave from Mill Park Secondary College in Melbourne to work at Australian Red Cross as Project Officer for the Educating the Educators project.