Social Workers in Copenhagen Wake Students at Home

December 24, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. wake up [WEYK-ap] (v.) – to get out from sleep
Example: Rick always arrives first in class because he wakes up early.

2. social worker  [SOH-shuhl  WUR-ker] (n.) – people who work to improve the quality of life of others
ExampleSocial workers teach children who can’t attend school.

3. welfare [WEL-feyr] (n.) – a government department that serves the public’s needs and monitors moral conduct
Example: Poor families often get assistance from various government welfares.

4. extreme [ik-STREEM] (adj.) – very far from the average or normal
Example: The school has extreme punishment for students who violate the rules.

5. method  [METH-uhd]  (n.) – a way of doing things
Example: Research method should be scientific.


Read the text below.
Social workers in the district of Oesterbro [OO-ster-bo] in Copenhagen [koh-puh n-HEY-guh n, -HAH-, KOH-puh n-hey-, -hah-], Denmark have initiated a wake-up call project to solve the problem of absenteeism among children in the district.

A group of social workers make phone calls to check if children will attend their class. But typically, children are visited in their homes to make sure that they really wake up. The practice is targeted to students between seven and 15 years old who are often absent in school.

After testing the method for one year, 33 percent of the students who usually skip school are now attending classes regularly. This improvement has made the project permanent in Oesterbro, but it is expected to be applied in other districts as well.

According to Barbro Lundqvist [luh ndk-vist], a social worker, a student’s excessive absences may be a symptom of a family problem. The state’s welfare department is concerned with this problem; so, it tries to help these children with the wake-up call project.

But critics of the project say that Oesterbro’s idea of welfare is extreme. Local politician Heidi Wang argued that one’s personal responsibility in the family should not be handled by a municipality representative.

However, Lundqvist said that although conflicts and resistance of families are evident,   social workers are prepared to handle these kinds of situation. She explained that the project’s purpose is to gradually make the parents diligent in waking up their children.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think the wake-up call project is extreme? Why or why not?
·         Why do you think some students are frequently absent in school?

Discussion B

·         If you were a school principal, how would you solve frequent absences of students?
·         How do you think parents can encourage their kids to go to school every day?


December 24, 2013