PHIVOLCS Trains Teachers in Natural Hazards Awareness and Preparedness
Saturday, 02 June 2012 05:45

“Knowledge is very important in terms of disaster preparedness. However, sometimes, a little knowledge, or even a [big] knowledge but understood and appreciated incorrectly, can become a disaster itself.”
Dr. Renato U. Solidum Jr., director for Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), told participants the value of their response to the “School Teachers Seminar-Training on Natural Hazards Awareness and Preparedness: Focus on Earthquakes and Volcanoes” held on May 2-4.

A total of 28 Metro Manila high school teachers, handling science subjects and disaster awareness committees of their respective schools, gathered at PHIVOLCS’ Receiving Room for this yearly program that has been implemented since the 90s.
Ma. Mylene M. Villegas, chief for PHIVOLCS’ Geologic Disaster Awareness and Preparedness Division (GDAPD), expressed that the Institute targets teachers to be properly trained in the course of disaster awareness also in consonance with the R.A. No. 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010.
The core objectives of the training were 1) to strengthen the role of teachers in the promotion of disaster awareness, preparedness and mitigation among students, 2) to familiarize participants of natural hazards, disaster, disaster awareness, preparedness and mitigation, 3) to familiarize participants with basic underlying concepts and theories about geologic hazards, 4) and to develop strategies and ways of teaching natural hazards.
The three-day training included lectures on the Understanding the Nature of Hazards, Plate Tectonics Theory, Active Faults and Other Earthquake Source Zones, Volcanoes and Volcanic Hazards, Earthquake and Earthquake Hazards, What to do Before, During, and After an Earthquake, and Understanding Tsunami modules.
Villegas added that the modules on How to Organize and Conduct an Earthquake Drill in School and Designing an Earthquake Evacuation Plan for a School were incorporated for “the focus of the Institute has been to develop the capacities of schools.”
Also, an activity called “Practical Exercises and Demonstrations on Earthquake Phenomena” involved the use of objects as guiding tools for teachers to simplify the subject matter in explaining to the students.
Facilitators let participants take a pre-test exam prior to the training-proper, and a post-test to evaluate the extent of their learning from all the lectures and activities.
Later in the afternoon of day-two, the participants were sent to Quirino Elementary School to have a campus watching exercise, design a school earthquake evacuation plan, and discuss the outputs.
To showcase their skills and methods of teaching, the teachers gave a class demonstration based on assigned topics and was later critiqued by co-participants and facilitators.
Solidum said in his closing remarks: “To make sure that you all realize the importance of this, [I tell you that] not all teachers experience this kind of training…Our initiative to really intervene in the awareness and enhancement of the capacity of teachers to teach natural hazards is not a very big program.”
“I hope that the knowledge, information, and interaction with your co-teachers…will be converted into action and we will make our schools and students safe from disasters that might arise not only here in Manila but also in other parts of the Philippines,” he added.
Facilitators concluded the three-day training by giving out PHIVOLCS information materials and modules as supplementary teaching resource and awarding teachers certificates of participation.
The teachers were from schools in Manila, Quezon City, Pasig, Pasay, Caloocan, Muntinlupa, Taguig, Pateros, Makati, Valenzuela, San Juan, Navotas, Las Piñas, Mandaluyong, Malabon, and Marikina.


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