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Teaching Empathy for Earthquake Anniversary


Flinders Park Campus teacher Mr Andrew McNicol recently offered his Year 7 Japanese classes a lesson he describes “has proven to establish very strong levels of student engagement, empathy, perspective, and gratitude.”

Friday 11 March 2022 marked the 11-year anniversary of the Great Eastern Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan; one of the strongest earthquakes recorded in history. Resulting in more than 15,800 deaths and a further 6,160 non-fatal injuries, the tsunami devastated the country with thousands of homes, businesses, roads, and railways destroyed.

“Not only does this event form an integral part of the overall Japanese cultural fabric, personally it is very close to my heart, as I was in Tokyo at the time of the disaster,” explained Mr McNicol.

To commemorate the anniversary, Andrew shared with students his own personal experiences from the day and the aftermath, and showed a documentary from NHK World Japan.

Year 7 student Gabrielle Hamilton shared that when learning about the event she found it, “really tragic but also quite interesting to research about.

To complete the lesson, classes created posters composed of messages from individual students sharing their empathy for the horrible disaster. Now complete, these posters will be sent next week directly to nominated schools and hospitals in the deeply impacted regions of Japan.

Gabrielle added stating that it has added to her understanding of the Japanese culture “they are still repairing to this day. I found it interesting that they still try to rebuild what’s left and they never give up.”

Well done to Andrew for sharing this with his Year 7 Japanese students, we are sure the posters when received will be greatly appreciated by the Japanese Communities.