School education in Denmark has progressed beyond four walls of textbook learning to include ‘Klassens tid’ or teaching empathy in schools. Quintessentially, ‘empathy classes’ is a revolutionary approach towards ennobling students as better humans and future leaders. Different patterns of learning aim to reduce narcissism and selfishness among teenagers to shape them into goal−oriented and focused learners. Authorities have been trying to infuse the fundamentals of humanity and promoting empathy in schools through restructuring the curriculum. It would subsequently involve a radical shift in paradigms of perspectives.
Within the framework of classroom learning, Danish step by step program teaches kids to challenge themselves against the concept of ‘hygge’. “hygee” though consistently trending on social media is yet exceedingly difficult to interpret outside Danish culture. Empathy classes are becoming a global phenomenon with e−retailers leading the way by selling chunks of books on “hygge”. Evidently, Denmark’s method of collaborative learning differs vastly from standardized school curriculum and has gained widespread global approval.
A Revolutionary Approach towards Learning−
Various modules of learning to inculcate team spirit and networking within students are incorporated by schools. Play area without physical boundaries is one such instance where students are expected to work on empathy skills by openly negotiating, supporting, and interacting. An integral segment of this program consists of teaching students self−control, analyzing facial expressions, and perfecting problem−solving.
Furthermore, Denmark has regularized anti−bullying programs as an initiative to facilitate cordial relation among students. This should be based on mutual kindness and understanding. Closely aligned to this archetype of learning is CAT−kit whereby students improve their emotional awareness and learn to articulate emotionally wrought feelings. The activities are geared to achieve the following results:
- Open demonstration and discussions on individual emotions.
- Call out each student to identify emotions by studying arrays of faces.
- Discuss feasible scenarios that may incite emotions and help students recognize possible emotional outcomes of a situation.
- Communicating with the lesser privileged sections of society. In one instance, as a part of Amnesty’s Write for Rights campaign, children were asked to write letters to Syrian refugees
The Motto behind Regularizing empathy training in schools
Emotional empathy helps in nurturing quality social connections by overcoming prejudices and sense of authority. Schools aim to create a more accepting space where children would contribute to and practice in little acts of charity. It helps them to reach out to those pupils who might be lagging or failing to achieve proficiency in a task. Since students’ formative ages, each school is mandatorily required to facilitate conceptual understanding, recognition and reverence of individual’s feelings for a span of 1 hour. Many, who had never been acquainted with “empathy” and what it entails, benefit by grasping the concept, enriching emotional vocabulary, and embracing tolerant attitude towards communities.
Schools do not encourage or reward competition among students since it goes against the tenets of empathy classes− competition against oneself. The idea is to subvert the traditional practice of turning peers against each other as stiff competitors. In Denmark’s learning environment, students are preached about the practicality of existing jointly in a unit rather as secluded individuals.