Teaching to the nth: Narrative knowledge and the relational model of risk communication

Raul P. Lejano, Eulito V. Casas, Miah Maye M. Pormon, Mary Jean Yanger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


All too often, warnings and evacuation advisories during extreme weather events go unheeded. Of the many issues facing risk communication, three stand out, in particular. The first concerns the problem that risk messages often do not seem self-relevant to the public. The second, related, issue is that the language is often seen as merely technical and perfunctory. The third is that, especially among marginalized population groups, too many are not reached by risk communication. The paper takes up a relational model of risk communication that seeks to frame messages as narratives each member can transmit. This model, where residents act as local expert risk communicators, has been translated into lessons for primary curricula. The idea is that students themselves can bring knowledge into homes and neighborhoods, reaching even the most excluded. The model involves democratizing risk communication, where students become teachers, and they help others become teachers as well (“teaching to the nth”). We implement the model in a primary school in Leyte province, Philippines. Initial results are encouraging, and the paper concludes with further discussion of the broader applications of the relational model for disaster risk reduction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101720
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
StatePublished - Nov 2020


  • Extreme weather
  • Relational model
  • Risk communication
  • Teaching to the nth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Safety Research
  • Geology


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