Learning empathy in school

For seven years, the UN’s World Happiness Report has placed Denmark among the top three happiest countries in the world. The fact that teaching empathy has been mandatory since 1993 in schools in Denmark is a factor that contributes to the happiness of the country.

In Danish schools an hour a week is dedicated to the Klassens tid”, an empathy lesson for students aged 6 to 16 years. During the Klassens tid students discuss their problems, either related to school or not, and the whole class, together with the teacher, tries to find a solution based on real listening and understanding.

The Danes teach empathy through teamwork and replacing competition with the motivation to improve measured exclusively in relation to themselves and not in comparison with peers. There's also collaborative learning, which consists in bringing together children with different strengths and weaknesses in different subjects to make them help each other in class, working together on various projects.

The focus is not to excel over others, but to have a responsibility in helping those who are not equally gifted. For these reasons Denmark is also considered one of the best places to work in Europe.

Source: Morning Future, 26 April 2019. Read the full article.