Current Student Teaches Karate to Danish Youth

As part of the Adolescence in Northern Europe course and its co-requisite practicum, students are placed in a Danish educational setting to first-hand experience the basis of pedagogy for Danish youth.

DIS DIS Copenhagen Semester

As a final project, to bridge connections between practicum experiences and themes discussed in the class, students are asked to design a curriculum to be implemented by the end of the semester. During the semester, current student Lauren Nakamura, Tufts University, was placed in a northern suburban town at Hummeltofteskolen, to participate, observe, and assist in the English class. For her final project, Lauren jumped out of the traditional classroom setting and designed a curriculum to teach karate to 8th and 9th grade students with Asperger syndrome, as well as a group of 5th grade students.

As a black belt in Shaolin Kempo Karate, Lauren taught students basic self-defense moves and language surrounding the martial art – such as dojo (studio), kiai (the short yell when performing a move), and sensei (the word for teacher). With this curriculum, Lauren felt she had touched upon the philosophies of pedagogy, cultural capital, and the Danish theory of en god barndom, as well as introduced an alternative method of learning.

In Lauren’s reflection paper that followed, she spoke positively about the experience:

“I am seriously so thrilled with the outcome of my martial arts lesson! I was prepared to deal with discomfort or too much physical aggression but was instead incredibly pleased with the students’ responses to my instruction. Both classes were very engaged and enthusiastic throughout the lesson, leaving me feeling confident and lucky… It was really interesting to teach a lesson to a group of kids from a different country/lifestyle/upbringing—I realize that fun and learning are universal and that I can impact the lives of young people with just a simple introductory lesson!”

Read more about the Adolescence in Northern Europe Practicum here.

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