In Denmark, Empathy Is Taught As A School Subject That Kids Must Learn From A Very Young Age

When a baby is born, their mind is a clean slate. How they are exposed to the world decides what gets written on it, which subsequently decides what type of person they will become. This does mean that at an impressionable age, the child should be taught things that will shape them into a person who will grow up to contribute to society.

They will learn to pick up kindness, empathy, generosity, honesty instead of other detrimental qualities. When a whole generation of children grows up with good attributes, the world will definitely be a better place to live in.

In Denmark, they place a lot of importance on cultivating empathy in their children. Believe it or not, people do not actually care about others’ well-being. It is something we are socialized into and something that is necessary for us to survive. While math and science are important in life, Denmark knows that empathy is much more important a life lesson that will take people further than numbers and formulas ever will.

This is why Danish schools decided to introduce mandatory empathy classes in 1993. In these classes, children aged 6-16 are taught how to be kind, according to My Modern Met.

The children during the empathy classes or “Klassens tid” are asked to share any problems or issues they are going through. The entire class pitches in to help find a solution. Kids grow up to become confident, emotionally intelligent adults, who will know not to judge people for their struggles. This also means that they are more likely to raise happier kids themselves.

Denmark has consistently been at the top of the UN’s World Happiness Report. In the latest report, Denmark stood in second place followed by Finland. Denmark has been at the top in 2012, 2013, and 2016. Perhaps the empathy classes have a lot to contribute in this aspect.

The Danish Way stated, “Empathy helps build relationships, prevent bullying and succeed at work. It promotes the growth of leaders, entrepreneurs, and managers. ‘Empathic teenagers’ tend to be more successful because they are more oriented towards the goals compared to their more narcissistic peers.” Empathy is also taught through teamwork where those excelling and those lacking are made to work together.

This not only helps with understanding the positive qualities of each other but also lift each other up to complete a task without being pulled down by competition with each other. Another popular program is called the CAT-kit. In this program, the aim is to improve emotional awareness and empathy by focusing on how to articulate experiences, thoughts, feelings, and senses, reported The Atlantic.

There are picture cards of faces, measuring sticks to gauge the intensity of emotions, and pictures of the body, included in the CAT-kit so kids can understand the emotions being exhibited while also learning to conceptualize their own and others’ feelings. In the classroom setting, along with the facilitator, the children are taught not to be judgemental but acknowledge and respect these sentiments.

“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,” says Jessica Alexander, author of the book The Danish Way of Parenting: What the Happiest People in the World Know About Raising Confident, Capable Kids. She adds,

“Many studies show that when you explain something to someone – like a math problem for example – you not only learn the subject much better than you would do by memorizing it yourself, but you also build our 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.”

Source: In Denmark, Empathy Is Taught As A School Subject That Kids Must Learn From A Very Young Age

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Anxiety levels are rising among primary and secondary school children across the globe. For parents and educators, this is a worrying trend. What are we doing wrong and what could we be doing to fix it? Could Denmark’s teaching practices hold the key to happiness in the classroom. By Mariana Rudan. #denmark #education #teachingempathy #danisheducation #marianarudan
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Personalize The eLearning Experience Through A Culture Of Empathy

personalize-elearning-experience-culture-empathy

How Empathy Can Enable A Personalized eLearning Experience: Having empathy and understanding what empathy is, means that you have the ability to see the world through the eyes of another and understand and share their feelings. Lots of people have the capacity to empathize. You could say it’s in our nature, allowing us to build prosperous relationships amongst various societies. To paraphrase Daniel H. Pink, successful people in this age of information overload will be those who can understand their peers and care for them. Empathy is the ability to step into another person’s shoes and experience their feelings. Empathy is not a standalone concept.

  1. The design should be from a user’s perspective to anticipate their problems and come up with a product/service that helps.
  2. Stories are the path to understanding.

Empathy In Learning

For learning to be empathetic, it has to understand the learners’ mindset, working environment, challenges and factor them in to offer a solution. It should build a personal connection with them.

This is how it can be done in eLearning:

  • Personalize the learning experience
  • Offer simple and open navigation
  • Reinforce knowledge with diagnostic feedback

Personalize The Learning Experience

This isn’t rocket science. Ask for the learner’s name at the start of the course and use it to address them periodically for the assessments, while sharing tips or summarizing the key points. This will build a connection between the learner and the course. Offering additional resources in multiple formats will give learners the flexibility of accessing the one in their preferred format. For example, do you need to offer a glossary of terms? Offer learners links to a PDF, a podcast, and an infographic. Use ice breakers that list learners’ common challenges or the questions they might have. Seeing their issues in the course will build an immediate rapport and give the assurance that their concerns are being addressed allaying fear.

Offer Simple And Open Navigation

Adults are self-directed and dislike being restricted in their learning. An effective eLearning course gives them the option to access the sections of the course they are interested in, instead of forcing them to go through the entire course. Put yourselves in the learners’ shoes and empathize. You surely wouldn’t want to look for a needle in a haystack!

Some tips to ensure a memorable learning experience:

  1. Structure the course into well-defined sections, each covering one learning point completely so that learners don’t have to scramble around different sections for one topic.
  2. Ensure navigation is easy to use, with a simple, well-labeled menu (learners shouldn’t need to access the Help screen to figure out how to use the menu).
  3. Ensure screen titles in the menu are of the same length and parallel in structure.
  4. For interactivities, let learners proceed to the next slide if they wish to without forcing them to visit all sections.
  5. Provide links to additional resources in the Resources section, rather than in individual slides, so that they are available throughout the course.

Reinforce Knowledge With Diagnostic Feedback

Feedback can be an extremely useful mechanism to close the learning cycle and show them the big picture, yet again. Instead of feedback that just says, “You are right” or “Sorry, you are wrong,” invest a little in offering feedback that’s true to its name. Feedback should tell learners why they are either right or wrong, along with the reasons. Informative assessments, give learners a detailed explanation about why a particular choice is correct or incorrect. In summative assessments, once done, give them the option of revisiting the slide where the learning point was discussed.

  • Authoring tools now give the flexibility of including audio, video clips, and hyperlinks along with the text.
  • Leverage these elements to offer learners a detailed explanation on the topic, along with related resources.

Being empathetic and having empathy matters. Learn about how to utilize the ability to step into another person’s shoes and experience their feelings by downloading this free eBook: “eLearning Design And The ‘Right’ Brain.” It will further help you become a ‘Right’ brain expert; and, moreover, learn how its role in learning can be of use to you.

Photo of Sushmitha Kolagani

 

By: Sushmitha Kolagani

 

Source: https://elearningindustry.com/

In a fractured world, can we hack our own sense of empathy and get others to become more empathic? Professor, Department of Psychology, Stanford University Jamil Zaki is an assistant professor of psychology at Stanford University. His research examines social cognition and behavior, especially how people understand and respond to each other’s emotions. This work spans a number of domains, social influence, prosocial behavior, and especially empathy (see ssnl.stanford.edu for details). In addition to studying the mechanics of empathy, Dr. Zaki’s work focuses on helping people empathize better. For instance, new research from his lab examines how to encourage empathy for people from distant political and ethnic groups, and also how caregivers and healthcare professionals can effectively empathize with their patients while maintaining their own well being. http://ssnl.stanford.edu ~~~ This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx
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