According to the UN’s World Happiness Report, an important survey that since 2012 classifies the happiness of 155 countries in the world showed that Denmark is one of the happiest countries in the world. It has placed among the top three happiest countries on a global level.
In Denmark schools teaching empathy has been mandatory and this factor contributes to the happiness of the country. Empathy helps in building relationships, prevent bullying and succeed at work. It helps us understand how others are feeling so we can respond appropriately to the situation.
The students aged six to 16 years old are taught empathy lessons one hour each week, during “Klassens tid.” During this hour the students talk about their problems which could be personal problems or problems with anything regarding the school.
The whole class along with teachers then find out ways to solve the problems. The students are taught real listening and understanding.
Iben Sandahl is a Danish psychotherapist, educator, and co-author of The Danish Way of Parenting, along with Jessica Alexander, an American author, and cultural researcher said: “Together, the class tries to respect all aspects and angles and together find a solution,”
“Kids’ issues are acknowledged and heard as a part of a bigger community. [And] when you are recognized, you become someone.”
During Klassens tid, the students get the opportunity to be heard, to receive encouragement from others through listening. They also learn the importance of mutual respect.
“The children are not afraid to speak up, because they feel part of a community, they are not alone,” according to the journalist, Carlotta Balena.
In Danish schools, instead of giving too much attention to trophies or prizes they focus on “the culture of motivation to improve, measured exclusively in relation to themselves.”
Jessica Alexander said: “A child who is naturally talented in mathematics, without learning to collaborate with their peers, will not go much further.
They will need help in other subjects.It is a great lesson to teach children from an early age since no one can go through life alone. You build empathy skills, which are further strengthened by having to be careful about the way the other person receives the information and having to put oneself in their shoes to understand how learning works.
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