Maglegårdsskolen – Denmark
Center for Systems Awareness HUB
Gentofte district and municipality – how high performing district benefits from Compassionate Systems Framework and systems leadership
Maglegårdsskolen is located in the municipality of Gentofte, Copenhagen area in Denmark. We started working with the Compassionate Systems Framework in May 2016 with 70 students from the 6th grade, 3 classrooms, and 10 teachers, constituting approximately one-tenth of the school. That group of students and team of professionals were considered our local prototype – the aspiration being to collect experiences and develop practices on how children and adults together could adopt tools and mindsets of the Compassionate Systems Framework. Gradually since August 2017, other departments of the school have been included in the efforts, and from the start of the academic year 2018-19 year the entire Maglegårdsskolen of 700 students (ages 6-16) and 70 teachers have begun working with Compassionate Systems Framework – building on the remarkable results and findings from the initial prototype.
Over the course of two and a half years, we have introduced a large number of tools and practices (list below) to study all kinds of subjects to cultivate social-emotional learning among the children. For instance, using compassionate systems tools and mindsets we have been working with photo and text analysis in Danish and foreign languages, working with differences in mental models in cultures developing cultural knowledge and understanding, working with interdisciplinary approaches to ecological issues in the sciences, and with complex historical dynamics in the social sciences. As a UNICEF Rights Respecting School, the compassionate systems tools and mindsets have been put efficiently into play while working with the articles and translations to local context of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child. Since August 2018 most of the work has been anchored in the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.
We continue to find evidence to show that using the Compassionate Systems Framework leads to a much higher degree of reflection amongst learners, a stronger sense of interconnectedness, an elevated understanding of system dynamics, and ability to act upon complex problems. A small extract from the annual national survey on social and academic well-being (Spring 2018) gives some insight or indication. When compared with the average of that same grade in the whole municipality (11 schools with very similar and comparable socio-economic backgrounds), the students from our prototype grade showed a remarkably different distribution of answers, here with respect to ‘learner motivation and guidance.’
We also see positive results in effects on school climate, mutual understanding of differences in perspectives amongst students and towards complex problems. We notice a much higher level of parent satisfaction with the school and clear signs that the students have a stronger sense of affiliation with the school; they seem to feel more engaged and are thriving in the community of the school.
Tools & Approaches
Specific Compassionate Systems Framework tools and approaches used include:
- Systemic iceberg
- Shifting the burden
- Ladder of inference
- 4-player model
- Connection circle
- Stock and flow
- Clean advocacy
- Wheel of emotions
- Check ins (‘normal’, Fish bowl, Ear to ear)
- Yogo; focus, listening and awareness training (http://yogo.nu)
Website & Contact
You can read more about our school on our website: www.maglegaard.gentofte-skoler.dk
(The site is in Danish (for the time being). The website will undergo major changes in the coming months and will contain a page on our work with the Compassionate Systems Framework.)For more updated information,
email firstname.lastname@example.org or directly to our principal, Niels Munch-Andersen, and vice principal, Kristian Gomes Bindslev, on
A small extract from the annual national survey on social and academic well-being (Spring 2018) gives some insight or indication on the impact of the Compassionate Systems Framework (CSF) prototype. When compared with the average of that same grade in the whole municipality (11 schools with very similar and comparable socio-economic backgrounds) the students from our prototype grade showed a remarkably different distribution of answers, here with respect to ‘learner motivation and guidance’.
The teaching makes me want to learn more
43% more likely that a CSF-prototype-student answered positively (agree / strongly agree).
If something is too difficult for me in teaching, I can do something myself to move on
30% more likely that a CSF-prototype-student answered positively (often / very often).
Does your teacher help you learn in ways that work well?
22% more likely that a CSF-prototype-student answered positively (often / very often).
It’s a very unusual pattern for answers to show such significant deviations from overall average. This gives us reason to believe that something special has occurred with this specific group of students. Since the work with CSF is the only thing that has been different for this group compared to previous cohorts in that age group, it seems reasonable to assume that the effect can be attributed to this particular work with the Compassionate Systems Framework.