Children's knowledge of vulnerability and resilience to bushfires
Towers, BC (2012) Children's knowledge of vulnerability and resilience to bushfires. PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.
Following the Black Saturday bushfire disaster in 2009, the Victorian Bushfires Royal
Commission strongly recommended that bushfire education be incorporated in the national
school curriculum. This recommendation, and its adoption by state governments around
Australia, represents a unique opportunity to address the long neglected area of bushfire
education for children. However, an extensive literature argues that the success of any
hazards education program depends on the degree to which it accommodates the existing
knowledge and perspectives of the learner. Yet, to date, there has been no research on
children’s knowledge of bushfire hazards and disasters or the actions that can be taken to
mitigate or prevent their impacts.
To address this research gap, this thesis presents a detailed analysis and theoretical rendering
of children’s knowledge of bushfire hazards in south-eastern Australia, as studied from
children’s own perspectives. A constructivist grounded theory methodology and childcentred
qualitative research techniques, such as focus groups, drawing and puppet play, were
employed to examine children’s knowledge of the conditions and processes that cause
bushfire hazards and disasters and the conditions and processes that mitigate or prevent them.
The role of environmental and socio-cultural context in the development of children’s
hazards knowledge was also examined in-depth.
The analyses of children’s knowledge and perspectives culminated in the development of a
substantive grounded theory titled Seeking Adaptation. The theory is comprised of three
major components: the problem of perceiving vulnerability; the process of building
resilience; and a set of contextual and modifying conditions which include direct experience
with fire, the school, the family, and the research process itself. The theory of Seeking
Adaptation identifies children as active participants in bushfire management who have the
potential to make substantial contributions to household and community resilience. However,
capitalising on this potential will require education programs that accommodate their
perspectives and provide ample opportunities for genuine and purposeful engagement with
the physical and social world.
|Item Type:||Thesis (PhD)|
|Additional Information:||Copyright the Author|
|Keywords:||bushfire, children, hazard knowledge, child-centred disaster, risk reduction|
|Deposited By:||ePrints Officer|
|Deposited On:||17 Aug 2012 14:40|
|Last Modified:||17 Oct 2012 16:00|
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