Using reasoned imagination to learn about cascading hazards: a pilot study

Contact   Sauron Anne
Title   Using reasoned imagination to learn about cascading hazards: a pilot study
Author(s)   Mignan A., Scolobig A., Sauron A.
References   Disaster Prevention and Management, June 2016, Vol. 25, Issue 3, pp. 329-344
Abstract   Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to present the results of a pilot study involving high school teachers in natural sciences. The aim was to foster critical thinking about cascading hazards via the use of reasoned imagination. Cascading phenomena can lead to extreme catastrophes and are thus a challenge for disaster prevention and management. Design/methodology/approach – Following a presentation listing some known cascading phenomena, the participants completed a questionnaire consisting of a blank hazard correlation matrix (HCM) and some open-ended questions. The HCM qualitatively described possible interactions between 16 different perils selected from a large spectrum of natural, technological and socio-economic hazards. Findings – Most participants were able to describe cascading phenomena within the HCM by reducing them into sets of one-to-one interactions. Based on their experience and imagination, the participants foresaw additional interactions that were not discussed, never observed but are scientifically plausible. The majority of the respondents reported that they learnt something new and wanted to learn more about cascading hazards. Originality/value – The HCM is especially effective in translating complex hazard scenarios into basic interactions and vice versa. Being imaginative (here via the use of reasoned imagination) and accessible, the HCM could be used as basis for transformative learning in the education of the public and of practitioners on the role of cascading hazards in catastrophes.
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