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How Important Character-Building Is: Case of Gajahwong Student

Written by Vanya Gerina Azzahra, Teaching Learning Assessor
Project Child Indonesia


One of the River School Programs is located on Gajahwong river bank. There was a unique phenomenon of Gajahwong children as a team in charge got to the place for the very first time. Some of the volunteers might have volunteering experience beforehand so that it perhaps became a common thing to face with. Gajahwong children have been known for their uniqueness. In comparison with Code and Winongo children, Gajahwong children tend to be more aggressive. They do not hesitate to ask volunteers to pick them up before class begins, they ask volunteers to wait on them while they take a shower and other kinds of actions of seeking attention. There was also a child with special needs in which volunteers need to give extra attention. 

With the majority of boys within the class, an act of bullying happened toward the special-needs child. Besides, when the team was in collaboration with Association Internationale des Etudiantsen Sciences Economiques et Commerciales in Universitas Gadjah Mada, they found these children were very difficult to condition. Once ever an exchange participant from Egypt asked a group of boys basic information of themselves, the boys replied roughly speaking. 

In order to address those issues, it is significant for a teaching-learning assessor along with the volunteers as a unit of the team, to understand how important character-building on children. So, what is the nature of character-building? According to Yudi Latif (2009) character building explains various aspects of teaching and learning for personal development, including moral reasoning, social and emotional learning, conflict resolution and moral-ethical philosophy. Volunteers as the teaching-facilitators should have a strategic role in realizing the character of children. The facilitators, as central figures, are of course required to be able to portray good characters so that they can be role models for children. The behavior that children pay attention to by the time is on how facilitators look, how facilitators talk, how facilitators behave, facilitators attitude to knowledge as well as their commitment to what they say. If the facilitators could play it well, it will affect the children. Thus, children will grow into individuals who have good characters.

There is a Javanese philosophy called Andhapasor (humility) where its significance is to be humble and never segregate between people according to race, culture, religion, ethnicity, and so on.

This type of character-building must be implemented toward children. The value should be upheld responding to what happened in class. Facilitators should not only prohibit children from doing bullying but also expected to have the capability to explain more to children why bullying is bad, why is it important to respectsomeone who is different from us.

As an attempt to manifest the implementation of character-building towards children, Gajahwong’s team comprised of the teaching-learning assessor and the volunteers have tried the utmost best during this time – recalling that acts of bully, discrimination, inappropriate words, oftentimes to happen. Gradually the children begin to realize which of their behaviors are bad for others, and which ones are good for others. Change occurs by degrees. That change is something that the team wishes to achieve from the very first place because they do not want to merely spend time to teach children onsite for granted, but also leave positive impact on children’s selfhood.

Source :

  • Raharjo, S. B. (2010). Pendidikan Karakter Sebagai Upaya Menciptakan Akhlak Mulia. Jurnal Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan, Vol 16, No 3, Sekretariat Balitbang Kemdiknas.
  • Ferdiawan, E., & Putra, W. E. (2013). Esq Education for Children Character Building based on Phylosophy of Javaness in Indonesia. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 106,1096-1102.
  • Kidshelpline. (n.d). All about respect. Retrieved on October 19, 2019 from https://kidshelpline.com.au/teens/issues/all-about-respect