The rest of the world could learn a thing or two from The Denmark education system.
The Denmark education system has made it mandatory to give empathy classes to their students since around 1993. In the past seven years, Denmark has stayed in the top three of the United Nation’s World Happiness countries in the world.
Students aged between 6 and 16 years of age are taught empathy lessons for one hour each week during ‘Kassens tid.’ Denmark believes that practicing empathy will help build relationships, bring success in the workplace, as well as preventing bullying, which most of us know it has been all over social media recently.
During this one hour a week class, the students discuss personal problems or problems they experience in and about the school. The students and the teacher, then consider ways on how to solve the issues. The discussions allow students to be heard and how to listen as well as encourage others while finding a solution. In the talks and explanations, they are considerate of how the other person is giving and receiving information, which encourages empathy as well.
These classes help the students to focus on building each other up, talents, improving skills of other students instead of focusing on trying to be the best among their peers. No competitions, trophies, or prizes, instead they motivate their students to work on themselves and improve their own skills. It is all about teamwork.
The school practices collaborative learning, so the students can work together on a project with others who have different strengths and weaknesses in various subjects. Collaborative learning helps students to learn that success cannot be achieved alone, whereas teamwork produces better results.
Iben Sandahl, a Danish psychotherapist, educator, and co-author of The Danish Way of Parenting, said, that when the issues are acknowledged and heard as a bigger community, he feels that when you are recognized, you become someone!
In the book, they discuss the real reason behind the happiness of the Danes. Danis parents raise happy children who grow up to be happy adults, who, in turn, will raise happy children, and so the cycle repeats itself. It makes perfect sense to me.
The Danish children look forward to these empathy classes, and the parents are happy in the knowledge that the future will be more positive in empathic hands.
Denmark’s education system offers high-quality education and is compulsory for children under the age of about 15 or 16. Government-funded education is usually free and open to all, as education is a key priority.