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Be Proactive, Well-planned and Well-prepared: 3 Crisis Management Tips for Teachers
給老師三個危機處理的錦囊 – 積極主動、計劃周詳、準備充足

ResourcesNov2015

English中文
A comprehensive school crisis management plan has become a key concern in recent years. Despite the fact that the majority of schools have adequate prevention measures, developing and maintaining a crisis management plan should never be set aside and there is always room for improvement. School crises may include fire or other natural disasters, disease or health outbreaks, accidents or safety concerns, violent or aggressive actions. In view of the variety and complexity of crises, front-line teaching staff should be proactive, sensitive and stay connected when responding to crises and emergencies.

Our Council has published the “Guidelines on Crisis Management in the VTC”, which provides a detailed framework and guiding principles for different operational units. In addition to the guidelines, the Centre for Learning and Teaching (CLT) has prepared three tips for handling a crisis that may happen. They are as follows:

1. Forming a school crisis management team (CMT)

The forming of the school crisis management team (CMT) at operational unit level can facilitate the formulation and implementation of a crisis management plan; and also coordinate all resources, in and outside school for support. The CMT should include members who are familiar with the school community, the staff and the students. Moreover, the members should have the knowledge and skills of handling crises. The crisis management team may involve teaching staff, the Head of Operational Unit (HoU), and someone in-charge of the Campus Secretariat or the General Office. The diversity of the group members would help suggest a broad-based approach for planning and implementation. For example, when a crisis situation occurs, the CMT would coordinate response to the media and control the flow of the information in order to eliminate the spread of rumour.

2. Being sensitive to potential crisis

As front-line teaching staff, we should be observant and alert to any abnormal behaviours of students and fellow colleagues. The following behaviours and emotional appearances may be symptomatic of potential crisis. For example, changing from being quiet and obedient to loud and impulsive, or from outgoing to shy and afraid, appearing to be very teary and depressed, not being able to control emotion, excessive anger or self-blame. Besides, unusual personal actions, such as eating problems, being cruel to others, self-hurt or self-abusive, isolating self from others, may be signs of having problems before the crisis and need particular attention.

In the event of any emergency, or upon observing or receiving information that a person is threatening to commit an act which may lead to violence, injuries or fatality, we should make immediate report to the Designated Person (someone serves as the first point of contact on urgent reports of emergency or crisis incidents), the Principal or the HoU.

Although we have planned and prepared for crisis, in the midst of crisis and emergency, we should respond immediately and flexibly. To do this, it is effective and efficient to make use of mobile technology.

3. Using mobile technology

With the surge of technology in learning and teaching, as well as school management, school crisis management could take advantage of the technology to disseminate and communicate messages to students, teachers, parents and other stakeholders. Paper-based documents are useful and essential for training and documentation purposes; yet, when it comes to actual emergency and crisis, time is the most critical factor and resource. Other than using email for communication and mass notification, text message or mobile apps (e.g. CrisisManager) could also be used for streamlined and instant communication.

However, we should be reminded that when using mobile device to prevent crises, it may create excessive communication or emotional dependence. Especially for teenagers and people with vulnerable personality, they may be highly hung up on the responses by someone pays extra attention and care to them during their difficult times. Some wordings and expressions may trigger them and consequently cause negative affectivity or even suicidal ideation.

The proper handling of a crisis can minimise the negative impact on students and the institution. Despite using the guidelines for helpful reference, it falls to each individual to prevent crises. In sum, be proactive, well-planned and well-prepared are the key concepts of crisis management.

近年,全面的學校危機處理計劃越來越重要。雖然大部份學校已有充足的預防措施,但仍必須透過持續及適時的檢討與規劃,以發展並維持有效的危機處理計劃。學校危機包括火災或其他自然災害、疾病或疫情爆發、意外或安全問題、暴力或侵略性行為等等。鑒於危機種類繁多,前線教職人員處理危機或緊急事件時,必須積極主動,提高警覺,緊密連繫。

本局已出版「職業訓練局危機處理指引」,提供詳細架構及守則,供各部門參考。除本局的指引外,教學中心亦就可能遇到的危機,準備了一些建議,其要點如下:

一. 成立學校危機處理小組

行政部門成立學校危機處理小組,協助策劃執行危機處理計劃,並統籌調配校內外的各項資源。小組成員應熟悉學校環境、職員和學生,同時,成員須具備處理危機的知識與技能。具體而言,危機處理小組應包括教職員、部門主管及秘書處或總務室的負責人。不同的小組成員能採取多角度的策略,從長計議,實踐計劃。 例如危機出現時,組員可協調商討如何回應傳媒,且控制資訊的傳遞,止息謠言。

二. 對潛在危機保持敏感

前線教職員須多觀察,多留意身邊的學生和同事,有沒有異常的行為。以下的行為或面容表情,已具潛在危機的特徵。例如:平日安靜順從,突然吵鬧衝動;素常性格外向,驀然變得羞怯膽小,滿臉抑鬱,淚眼盈盈;情緒作崇,不受控制,脾氣暴躁或自怨自艾等等。還有一些個人行為,如暴飲暴食、具暴力傾向、自殘放縱、疏遠人群……凡此種種,盡是危機先兆,需特別關注。若遇到緊急關頭或危難事件,無論親歷其境或只收到消息,我們定要馬上向指定同事 (緊急情況或危機事件發生時的第一聯絡人)、校長或部門主管匯報。

我們早已未雨綢繆,危機或緊急事情發生時,我們就可立刻回應,妥善處理。為此,善用流動科技,就顯得方便有效了。

三. 善用流動科技

近年教學與學校管理方面日趨科技化,學校危機處理亦不妨善用科技傳遞發放消息,與學生、老師、家長和其他相關人士保持溝通。雖然書面文件,在培訓和記錄上比較重要,可是,一旦到了緊急關頭,時間就是最關鍵的因素了。除了使用電郵寄發通知外,文字訊息或流動應用程式(如:CrisisManager)便會更有利於迅速溝通。

不過,大家必須謹記,使用流動裝置能預防危機,但亦可能造成過度溝通或情感倚賴,特別是年青人及性格脆弱的人,在艱難時期,容易受別人的回應影響,心情大受困擾,情緒不易平伏。某些用字或表達方式,隨時觸發危機,帶來負面情感,甚至自殺的念頭。

正確處理危機,可減少對學生及院校構成負面的影響。雖說指引具參考價值,各人還須同心協力,預防危機。總括而言,積極主動,計劃周詳及準備充足乃是預防危機的錦囊。

Useful References:

Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention (CSRP). (2015). World Mental Health 2015. Retrieved October 14, 2015, from
http://csrp.hku.hk/world-mental-health-day-2015/

Chang, S., Kwok, S., Cheng, Q., Yip, P., Chen, Y., Kwok, S. M., & Yip, P. F. (2015). The association of trends in charcoal-burning suicide with Google search and newspaper reporting in Taiwan: A time series analysis. Social Psychiatry & Psychiatric Epidemiology, 50(9), 1451-1461. Retrieved October 8, 2015, from
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00127-015-1057-7

Education Bureau (EDB). (2015). Student Suicide and School Crisis Management. Retrieved October 12, 2015, from
http://www.edb.gov.hk/en/student-parents/crisis-management/about-crisis-management/index.html

Vocational Training Council (VTC). (2007). Guidelines on Crisis Management in the VTC. Retrieved November 3, 2015, from
https://intra.vtc.edu.hk/division/iveas/AcademicHandbook/7_AdminHandbooks/files/Guidelines_on_Crisis_Mgt(Nov2007).pdf