Classroom responses of New Zealand school teachers following the 2011 Christchurch earthquake
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- Johnson, V.A. & Ronan, K.R. Nat Hazards (2014) 72: 1075. doi:10.1007/s11069-014-1053-3
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Following a damaging magnitude 6.3 earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand on February 22, 2011, an unprecedented number of displaced school children were enrolled temporarily or permanently in new schools throughout New Zealand. This study utilized accounts from primary school teachers in New Zealand, derived from focus groups scheduled in March and April 2011 for an evaluation of a disaster preparedness teaching resource, to examine how these disasters impacted individuals and schools outside of Christchurch. The educators’ focus group accounts provide an illustration of classroom responses including providing emotional support to displaced children, informal classroom discussions, curricular responses, addressing disaster rumors, and information seeking through peers. Some recommendations are provided on ways to support teachers’ important roles in disaster recovery, including targeting evidence-based guidance and teaching resources to schools enrolling displaced children, dispelling disaster rumors through schools and facilitating peer mentoring among teachers. An overarching lesson is that communities would benefit from teachers being better equipped to provide emotional support and responsive disaster education to children after disasters.