To let the child do as he likes when he has not yet developed any powers of control is to betray the idea of freedom. –Maria Montessori-
Appreciation, confidence, cooperation, empathy, enthusiasm, respect, and curiosity . . . What do these traits have in common? They are all attitudes that demonstrate “character strength,” which is a predictor of success in school—and in life. As early as can be, I believe as teachers we have to pay special attention to character development for it is the basis for personal growth.
Character is a collection of all our traits including all of our thoughts, feelings, words, and actions. Our students’ character is build through their choice of action and this will then affect every aspect of their current and future life. Being their substitute parents at school, we contribute to their upbringing, and we play a vital role in helping our students to develop their full potential.
In our class, children practice skills that promote character development every single day. From the very beginning of the school year, we repeatedly explain our class rules in any given chances. These rules are the very basic rules to do our daily class activities. Among those are some important rules such as sharing, helping hands, asking for help and saying thank you, and keeping the communal hygiene. Here are two activities as an example of what we do in our class to promote the character development.
All children in my class know the help me mantra. We tell them every time they need our help or others’ help. They have to say the ‘Help me please’ mantra in order to get help, and closing it with the ‘thank you’ mantra after they get the help done. They also know that they have to say the ‘thank you’ mantra whenever they get things from others.
In our class, we prepared a bed and we use some carpets for communal use by the students. Therefore, they have to learn how to keep the communal hygiene. We kept on reminding them to take off their shoes when they go to the bed or the carpets. Few weeks later, they remind each other to take off their shoes.
Playing is an integral part of learning for this age group. Toys then become the media of teaching about sharing and taking turns. In our class, our students learn how to play together with the same toys. We also teach them how to make a queue. We make them understand that everybody will get the chance to play. Hence, they have to take turns.
I believe that character development is the foundation for lifelong learning. I found that my students enjoy the comfortable learning environment when their peers are also learning about respect, cooperation, and compassion. I also find it easier to teach when my students are exhibiting habits of patience, diligence, and self-control in the classroom. Nobody says it will be easy. These things took time! However, it will be worth every energy and good intention you’re putting in it. Our students are now happier, more caring, more forgiving, and more responsible as they are taught to think about the needs of others.
By: Ms. Melisa Setyawan
Homeroom Teacher Grade Nursery
GMIS – Bali
What would you do if children have passion for something, but they need someone to do it with? Their passion should be identified and support for further developed in such directions. Starts with simple things such as reciting the bible verses together, reading silently together to mention but a few. Joint effort is necessary in facing challenging questions, disagreement or agreement on certain issues. Not all learners are lovers of books, but they show passion to know, and that is enough, as they run through those pages trying to find something interesting we see that to them, searching for facts and interesting events is more important and fun as it is reading word per word, which is an interest for others. It is getting interesting to see that as teachers sitting with them, doing what they are doing, they even do it better and enjoy it more.
If adults become a part of children’s passion and say “ we can do it” or’ let’s do it together” children tend to develop more interest in whatever activity or feel able to face whatever challenge because they know, they are not alone in such situations. Every child has potential to achieve and succeed, when parents and teachers realize the value of doing things together step by step hand in hand with the children that is a stepping stone to encouraging, nurturing and challenging them to achievement of full potential.
Doing things together it is not as easy as we talk. Not all students are socialites, some would love space most times, but just letting them know you are available incase they need a hand, is a source of further inspiration. Big effort is needed for join effort. There is need to know the child, in context of which is the best way to stand with them. Students in the sixth grade need a lot of attention, not only are they experiencing physical changes but have targets such as the national final examination and preparation for high school. Consistency, discipline, and patience are important, they need help more than ever before. The best help is to join them in all their effort as individuals. We have to remember that we are the “model” of everything for every child. We recommend the joint effort approach as applied in our class and seemingly beneficial. *(Bridget / Wulan P6 – BPK Penabur Banda)
“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.”
We all believe that character is very important in life. We also educate our children to have good character—honesty, responsibility, selflessness, and many others. Good character is seen as vital to success in life. More studies show that there is a connection between good character and good scores. According to James Heckman, a US Nobel Laureate and economist, performance virtues are more predictive labour market success than IQ.
Then how do we educate our children to have good character? Many programmes are developed to instil character into young people, but according to one research from Jubilee Centre for Character and virtue, size of school, standardized test achievements, and accreditation level of a school has no correlation to the high level of moral character. What is needed for character education is a school-wide ethos, embedded in everything the school does, and with teacher support. Good links with parents and their agreement on the importance of character were also important. In short, character is more effectively “caught” than “taught”.
Truly speaking, it is a bit difficult to exemplify good character in the middle of our society, where bad examples are rampant, but then again, we, as teachers, are committed to do our best, with the help of parents, to set good example to our children so that they can truly acquire the good characters they need in the future—for their own advantage. *(Ray – BPK Penabur Banda)