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The Character Building through Character Education in Elementary School

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Topics: Education, School
The Character Building through Character Education in Elementary School

Nowadays, several people need the improvement in intensity and quality of character education implementation in formal educational institutions. This claim is based on the growing social phenomenon, namely the increasing juvenile delinquency in society, such as a mass brawl and various other cases of moral decadence. Even in certain large cities, these symptoms have come to the extent that is very disturbing. As the example, several educated people doing corruption in high institutions such as in attorney. These phenomena are obviously not expected to happen in the society. Therefore, the formal education institutions which are functioned to create the younger generation is expected to increase its role in the formation of personality of students through increased intensity and quality of character education.
Before we continue the discussion about the need of education nowadays, it is better to know the definition of character itself. Character is attributes or features that make up and differentiate one individual from other individuals. It is the most important essence a person can possess, as it defines who a person is and frequently measured to refer to how good a person is. On the other words, a person who shows signs of personal eminences which are suitable to what society expect, might be considered to have a good character. Character building is the way to strengthen one’s character by molds oneself into a productive person within one's sphere of influence. Developing such personal qualities seems as a purpose of education. It is commonly emphasized qualities that include trustworthy, respect, and responsibility. Those pillars of character building should be learned from the early age in order to devote the strong foundation of character. In this essay, we will converge with the concept, the application, and the effect of character building in the schools.
First of all, we deal with the concept of character building in the schools. Character building in school, we call this term as character education, is applied to the national curriculum method that turns around developing “good character” in students by practicing and teaching moral values and decision making. On the other word, character education is an investment system of the character values to the citizens of schools that include components of knowledge, awareness or volition, and actions to implement those values. As Theodore Roosevelt expresses that to educate a person in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace society. His statement implies that if we want to make students good at not only cognitive aspect but also have a competent in moral aspect, we should educate them in a pleasurable condition. Character education is not a “quick fix.” It provides long-term solutions that address moral, ethical, and academic issues of growing concern to our society and key to the safety of our schools. Character education presupposes that schools have the responsibility to facilitate students to encourage fundamental moral values to conduct their behavior throughout life other than help them to be smart in the lesson. According to Ramli (2003), character education has the essence and the same meaning as moral education. The goal is to establish the students’ personalities, to become a good human being, society, and citizens. This means that the teacher should facilitate to shape the character of the students in order to achieve the purpose of character education.
Secondly, we cope with the application of character building in schools. Internalizing values through the curriculum in elementary school grades is one of the most workable, most used approaches. It is the most workable because we should internalize the character building from the early education, in the elementary school, in order to give strong foundations. Many schools and school systems begin with a core staff and expand gradually to include all staff. Another approach matches core values or character traits concepts to appropriate disciplines, for instance, freedom of conscience and expression with civics, and conservation with science courses. In most instances these concepts are addressed in segments of time, such as six-week units. Several elementary schools assign some time daily for values or character instructions. Schools should be used as venues to practice value or character traits. Students in all grade levels should have opportunities to practice values and character traits that range from role playing and decision making exercises to actual community service. As schools implement values and character education, the implicit curriculum should not be ignored or underestimated. The manner in which teachers and administrators relate, how teachers relate to parents and communicate with students all provide invaluable opportunities for modeling behavior based on the values and character we seek to develop in students. This modeling process should permeate the total school climate, including the way discipline is administered. Classroom management strategies, such as cooperative learning, can encourage the development of such values as trustworthiness, respect, and responsibility. Furthermore, these values will be explained below.
First of all, we deal with the how to internalize to be trustworthiness. Trustworthiness has four basic values for children which are be honest, be reliable, have the courage, and be a good friend. The teachers teach the students to be honest through class management that they do not allowed to cheat from their friends’ work or their own notes when taking the quiz. In addition, the teachers also give the students chances to be reliable. They are learned to keep their promises such as to collect the assignment on time. To have the courage, the student be taught to do what is right in the society based on norms and laws, even it seems difficult. For instance, when the students take the final examination, the teacher asks them to inform while the other students are cheating. On the other word, the teacher should internalize good condition in the classroom. Moreover, the teachers educate their students to be a good friend. The teachers can conduct the class as a group discussion and each group has a leader. Through this method, the students can learn how to cooperate and do not betray the trust in the group.
Then, we contend with the second value of character building which is respect. This value has three domains which are respect for the environment, respect for others, and respect for self. The teachers educate the students to respect for the natural environment by care for and conservation of land, trees, clean air and pure water, and of all living inhabitants on the earth. This particular way can be accomplished in school day through voluntary labor service to make the school environment healthier. Furthermore, the teachers raise the students to respect for others. As the example, the students listen to what other students have to say when they are in the discussion. They should appreciate what their friends have done. Not only that, they also should be courteous and polite to all of the people, especially for the teachers in the school. Afterward, the students can respect themselves. They should be taught to have self control of cleanliness. They learn to have good habits of personal hygiene and grooming. As the example, they throw the trash in the dustbin. In addition, the students should respect for their physical, mental and fiscal health. They learn about the awareness of the importance and conscious activity toward maintaining fitness and exercise in the school. Lastly, responsibility is the most important value to be taught. The students are learned to take responsibility for their action. They are not allowed to make excuses or blame others. Evidence demonstrates that mostly, students still do not have enough responsibility in school environment. Students who do not finish their homework usually blame other person that actually does not include in their problem. They make a pretext of their fault because of their parents do not remind to finish the homework. It is the ironical condition. Properly, the students should make their own notes to remind them about their task in school. In this case, the teachers also have contributions to avoid this particular event. After the class ends, the teachers should form the habit of prompting the students about the homework and the next lesson in the class. By doing this method, the students learn to take care of their own business and reach the goal to get the responsibility person.
Afterward, we deal with the effect of character education. Embedded in character education are guidelines for successful living. Trustworthiness, respect and responsibility navigate the students to the journey to better person. The students explore education as life and life as learning positive approaches for setting and achieving the goals. They also learn that living each day to its fullest means more than waiting for moments here and there. Character education presents life with context, inviting them to listen, share, explore, and reflect. Cultivating knowledge for purposeful living, students learn through literature, art, humanities and throughout the existing school curriculum the benefits and consequences of behavior. They learn the power of choice. They learn to appreciate the qualities of being human and to share their appreciation at home, in school, and in the community.
Based on the above explanations, it can be affirmed that the character education efforts designed and implemented systematically to help students understand the values of human behavior associated with the Almighty God, self, fellow human beings, the environment, and nationhood embodied in thoughts, attitudes, feelings, words, and actions based on religious norms, laws, manners, culture, and customs. The students need standards and the skills to achieve them. They need to see themselves as students engaged in a continuing pursuit of excellence. These standards of excellence in school work and behavior will encourage students to develop qualities like perseverance and determination, and those virtues will affect every aspect of the students’ lives as they mature. Hopefully, the values, moral influences, and noteworthy characteristics we model and discuss will outlast academic facts and figures. Thus, we can leave the students a legacy that will remain constant throughout life: to know the good, love the good and do the good.

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