Addressing Natural Disasters in School


The book, The Human Impact of Natural Disasters: Issues for the Inquiry-Based Classroom, was designed to provide an interdisciplinary resource to examine the impact of natural disasters and human rights.

William R. Fernekes, Ed. D., Lecturer-Rutgers GSE social studies program, and co-editor of the book, has recently made select chapters of the book publicly available in hopes of providing educators with valuable information regarding the recovery process of natural disasters.

 “Because schools are central institutions in the recovery phase from natural disasters, we felt that the specific chapters I included in the permission request would be of immediate use to NJ schools as they work to recover from Hurricane Sandy” said Fernekes.

Lead editor Dr. Valerie Ooka Pang of San Diego State University, and Dr. Jack L. Nelson (Rutgers GSE, Emeritus) joined Fernekes to put together this guide on natural disasters, and how their impact on human societies could be integrated within the school curriculum.

Three chapters were made available:

Chapter 4, "The Psychological Impact of Natural Disasters in School" by Marc Norman is an informative resource for educators on how to be supportive of children that have been affected by a natural disaster.

Chapter 14, “Natural Disasters in Local Communities:  Guiding the Development of Global Citizens in the Elementary Grades" by Valerie Pang and Rick Oser highlights how elementary students can be affected by disasters and their consequences. 

Chapter 16, "Resources for Social Studies Educators on Natural Disasters and Human Rights" by William Fernekes offers print and online resources that can inform recovery efforts, as well as ongoing curricular development on the topic of natural disasters and their impact on human societies.

Click here to access the excerpts.

William R. Fernekes received his doctorate from the GSE in social studies education and curriculum in 1985 under the guidance of Dr. Jack Nelson. After working 36 years as a faculty member and supervisor of social studies at Hunterdon Central Regional HS in Flemington, NJ, he retired and began working as a part time instructor at Rider before coming to Rutgers in spring of this year.