Blogs Education/Undervisning Lektiehjælpen (Danish)

Janteloven – You shall not believe that you can teach us anything!

Yesterday was one of the most rewarding days in Lektiehjælpen i Mjølnerparken, and that is saying a lot, since it’s the highlight of the week when I’m tutoring children in Mjølnerparken 36.

One of the children had to do an assignment on “Janteloven” (the “10 Commandments of Jante”), she’s attending a private school, and I’m not sure they’re using the same materials in public school.

She was asked to put the “Commandments” into a personal context, and also to formulate a list that is the opposite of the “Commandments”.

Like I wrote in a previous post (Missed the Alicia Keys concert), the “Commandments” are deeply rooted in Danish culture, and they’ve had a tremendous impact on my life. Basically “Jante” is stating that you’re “worthless” as an individual. It’s an extremely negative way of thinking.

The most impressive was that the child answered that she’d never personally experienced the Commandment #9: “You shall not believe that anyone cares about you!”. I told her, that if that’s true, please, please teach us! We can learn so much from You then. On the other hand: it was a bit “scary” that she actually had personal experiences with most of the commandments.

We also agreed that we could teach each other a lot. She taught me some Arabic, and told me that my Arabic sounded Egyptian, true true, I’m using “Dr. Pimsleurs: Egyptian Arabic” language lessons to learn Arabic. Shokoron anise.

BTW she started out by asking “do you know who formulated the “commandments” of Jante”. My comment was that everybody knows that, it’s common knowledge…Well obviously not, my co-tutor, she’s in her late 30ies, didn’t!

But I’m impressed by the quality of the teaching this child is receiving, makes my heart jump with joy. I’m, however, once again not impressed by the quality of some of the educational materials used in the lower grades in public school, some of the children had to do “iconic” cross-words, and some of the pictures were of such a low quality that even I couldn’t make out what it was. And some of the pictures are of things no one hardly uses anymore, like suspenders!

But what a rewarding day!

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