Education is children’s basic human right; we need to ensure it even in emergencies.
The ‘April 25’, the day of 7.9 magnitude earthquake, which can be marked a black day for Nepalese people, has not only caused loss of thousands of lives, but also pushed the country years behind in terms of development. This has, no doubt, affected every sector, including education. Schools across the nation have resumed now, but are the children already out of the trauma? This is something that the primary attention of concerned stakeholders have to be paid for. The traumatic reminders may still bring on distressing physical and mental reactions among children. It, therefore, challenges teachers for dealing with students’ psychology, safety measures, classroom management, and continuing the syllabus at the same time.
Children can be more reactive than adults owing to their less ability to anticipate danger and to voice how they feel. It is consequently important to assure that the children are orientated against false assumptions. They need emotional support and bereavement briefings-dealing with death experience. This requires teachers- they may have however been traumatized- to be strong and bring in positive activities in their lessons, for example telling a story of positive recovery after disasters rather than telling about the loss. Parents should also have a significant part to play while letting their children recover from this trauma. They should try keeping the children away from horrific exposures, primarily from the sad news stories on mass media.
ELT Chautari has accordingly come up with a special issue that focuses on education in the aftermath of the earthquake.
The first post by Rojita Adhikari’, a multimedia journalist, is a feature story of an undergraduate student who lost her house and the only source of income, shop, in the April 25 earthquake. Adhikari narrates how quake survivor Sarita chose teaching to heal her pains and the pains of survivor children.
In the second post, Ms Charlotte Benham, a former Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Nepal, has put her ideas forward on ‘Lessons in Language: What EFL Teachers Can Learn from Earthquake Relief Efforts’. This article accounts for enabling students to communicate in the post-earthquake world and integrating social issues, that have been explored during relief and rebuilding process, into language lessons.
Prem Phyak, one of the founders of Choutari, in his article ‘language matters in the post-disaster discourses’ arguably advocates that the use of certain terms in the post-disaster discourse in Nepal are disempowering earthquake survivors. His analysis implies that teachers should refrain from using the terms that disempower the survivors while talking about the disaster in classroom and school.
Anuradha Sharma through her post shares her experience and efforts to helping the quake survivor children overcome their psychosocial problems.
Ms Neha Shah, a grade teacher from Ideal Model School, Kathmandu has produced encouraging ideas how she managed to cope up with small kids while taking the syllabus further. She has carefully noted the psychology of her children, and acted accordingly. Her article entails the strategies the schools outlined and how they were implemented successfully.
Mr Chetan K Timilsina, an English language teacher from Kathmandu, has shared a story of his classroom experience with traumatized children of different age groups.His account for planning lessons and putting into effect in accordance to the psychology of the children is worth reading.
In the last post by Jeevan Karki, one of the Choutari editors and a teacher trainer with REED Nepal, shares his perspective to what and how to teach students at post earthquake situations.
Here is the list of hyperlinked write ups included for June Issue.
- Teaching helps forget quake victim Sarita’s pains, by Rojita Adhikari
- Lessons in Language: What EFL Teachers Can Learn from Earthquake Relief Efforts, by Charlotte Benham
- Language matters in post-disaster discourses, by Prem Phyak
- Helping children overcome quake trauma, by Anuradha Sharma
- Facilitating School Children at Post Earthquake Classroom, by Neha Shah
- Teacher’s Anecdote: Teaching Children at Post Earthquake Situation, by Chetan K Timilsina
- Rethinking what to teach in the aftermath of disaster, by Jeevan Karki
Last but not the least, I would like to thank our valued readers and contributors for their continued support and urge them to join the conversation through comments on the blog entries and sharing on social media (facebook, twitter, etc.).