Denmark has been one of the top three happiest countries in the world for seven consecutive years per the UN’s World Happiness Report. One of the reasons could be that since 1993 it is mandatory for schools in Denmark to teach empathy. The education system in Denmark is also designed to help develop some key personality traits in children so that they grow up to be model, happy citizens
Empathy classes in Danish schools and the concept of “hygge”
Schools conduct empathy classes called ‘Klassens tid’ for an hour each week. These classes are a part of the curriculum and are considered as important as any other subject.
During the empathy class, without being judgemental students discuss and understand each other’s problems and with the help of teachers try to come up with a solution. Children also come together to enjoy ‘Hygge’ meaning ‘intentionally created intimacy’. The concept ‘Hygge’ is also fast catching up with the world.
7 other ways Danish schools teach empathy to kids
- Most of the tasks in school, in fact more than 60%, are designed to be carried out through teamwork. This could also be one of the reasons why Denmark is the most sought after place to work in Europe.
- Children are made to understand that instead of focusing on self-betterment, they should consider helping those who may be less gifted.
- There are no awards for excelling in sports or studies so as not to encourage competition among students.
- Students are encouraged to improve upon their own skills. Their own previous performances are the yardsticks to assessment, which means their main competition is themselves.
- Free play-another important aspect of Denmark schools. Children are allowed to play without any structure and boundaries to help develop empathy and negotiating skills.
- Collaborative Learning- Students of different strengths and weaknesses are given projects to work upon together so that they can help each other and at the same time understand the value of teamwork.
- Anti-bullying programme is taught to every child between the age group of 3-8 years.
Source: India Today