Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Heart of Teacher ( 1 )

by Parker J. Palmer

WE TEACH WHO WE ARE I am a teacher at heart, and there are moments in the classroom when I can hardly hold the joy. When my students and I discover uncharted territory to explore, when the pathway out of a thicket opens up before us, when our experience is illumined by the lightning-life of the mind -- then teaching is the finest work I know.

But at other moments, the classroom is so lifeless or painful or confused -- and I am so powerless to do anything about it -- that my claim to be a teacher seems a transparent sham. Then the enemy is everywhere: in those students from some alien planet, in that subject I thought I knew, and in the personal pathology that keeps me earning my living this way. What a fool I was to imagine that I had mastered this occult art -- harder to divine than tea leaves and impossible for mortals to do even passably well! The tangles of teaching have three important sources.

The first two are commonplace, but the third, and most fundamental, is rarely given its due. First, the subjects we teach are as large and complex as life, so our knowledge of them is always flawed and partial. No matter how we devote ourselves to reading and research, teaching requires a command of content that always eludes our grasp. Second, the students we teach are larger than life and even more complex. To see them clearly and see them whole, and respond to them wisely in the moment, requires a fusion of Freud and Solomon that few of us achieve.

If students and subjects accounted for all the complexities of teaching, our standard ways of coping would do -- keep up with our fields as best we can, and learn enough techniques to stay ahead of the student psyche. But there is another reason for these complexities: we teach who we are. Teaching, like any truly human activity, emerges from one's inwardness, for better or worse. As I teach, I project the condition of my soul onto my students, my subject, and our way of being together.

The entanglements I experience in the classroom are often no more or less than the convolutions of my inner life. Viewed from this angle, teaching holds a mirror to the soul. If I am willing to look in that mirror, and not run from what I see, I have a chance to gain self-knowledge -- and knowing myself is as crucial to good teaching as knowing my students and my subject. In fact, knowing my students and my subject depends heavily on self-knowledge. When I do not know myself, I cannot know who my students are. I will see them through a glass darkly, in the shadows of my unexamined life -- and when I cannot see them clearly I cannot teach them well.

When I do not know myself, I cannot know my subject -- not at the deepest levels of embodied, personal meaning. I will know it only abstractly, from a distance, a congeries of concepts as far removed from the world as I am from personal truth. We need to open a new frontier in our exploration of good teaching: the inner landscape of a teacher's life. To chart that landscape fully, three important paths must be taken -- intellectual, emotional, and spiritual -- and none can be ignored.

Reduce teaching to intellect and it becomes a cold abstraction; reduce it to emotions and it becomes narcissistic; reduce it to the spiritual and it loses its anchor to the world. Intellect, emotion, and spirit depend on each other for wholeness. They are interwoven in the human self and in education at its best, and we need to interweave them in our pedagogical discourse as well. By intellectual I mean the way we think about teaching and learning -- the form and content of our concepts of how people know and learn, of the nature of our students and our subjects.

By emotional I mean the way we and our students feel as we teach and learn -- feelings that can either enlarge or diminish the exchange between us. By spiritual I mean the diverse ways we answer the heart's longing to be connected with the largeness of life -- a longing that animates love and work, especially the work called teaching.

The Heart Of Teacher

Identity and Integrity in Teaching (Part 2) by Parker J. Palmer

TEACHING BEYOND TECHNIQUE After three decades of trying to learn my craft, every class comes down to this: my students and I, face to face, engaged in an ancient and exacting exchange called education. The techniques I have mastered do not disappear, but neither do they suffice. Face to face with my students, only one resource is at my immediate command: my identity, my selfhood, my sense of this "I" who teaches -- without which I have no sense of the "Thou" who learns.

Here is a secret hidden in plain sight: good teaching cannot be reduced to technique; good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher. In every class I teach, my ability to connect with my students, and to connect them with the subject, depends less on the methods I use than on the degree to which I know and trust my selfhood -- and am willing to make it available and vulnerable in the service of learning.

My evidence for this claim comes, in part, from years of asking students to tell me about their good teachers. As I listen to those stories, it becomes impossible to claim that all good teachers use similar techniques: some lecture nonstop and others speak very little, some stay close to their material and others loose the imagination, some teach with the carrot and others with the stick.

But in every story I have heard, good teachers share one trait: a strong sense of personal identity infuses their work. "Dr. A is really there when she teaches," a student tells me, or "Mr. B has such enthusiasm for his subject," or "You can tell that this is really Prof. C's life." One student I heard about said she could not describe her good teachers because they were so different from each other. But she could describe her bad teachers because they were all the same: "Their words float somewhere in front of their faces, like the balloon speech in cartoons." With one remarkable image she said it all. Bad teachers distance themselves from the subject they are teaching -- and, in the process, from their students.

Good teachers join self, subject, and students in the fabric of life because they teach from an integral and undivided self; they manifest in their own lives, and evoke in their students, a "capacity for connectedness." They are able to weave a complex web of connections between themselves, their subjects, and their students, so that students can learn to weave a world for themselves.

The methods used by these weavers vary widely: lectures, Socratic dialogues, laboratory experiments, collaborative problem-solving, creative chaos. The connections made by good teachers are held not in their methods but in their hearts -- meaning heart in its ancient sense, the place where intellect and emotion and spirit and will converge in the human self. If good teaching cannot be reduced to technique, I no longer need suffer the pain of having my peculiar gift as a teacher crammed into the Procrustean bed of someone else's method and the standards prescribed by it.

That pain is felt throughout education today as we insist upon the method du jour -- leaving people who teach differently feeling devalued, forcing them to measure up to norms not their own. I will never forget one professor who, moments before I was to start a workshop on teaching, unloaded years of pent-up workshop animus on me: "I am an organic chemist. Are you going to spend the next two days telling me that I am supposed to teach organic chemistry through role-playing?" His wry question was not only related to his distinctive discipline but also to his distinctive self: we must find an approach to teaching that respects the diversity of teachers as well as disciplines, which methodological reductionism fails to do.

The capacity for connectedness manifests itself in diverse and wondrous ways -- as many ways as there are forms of personal identity. Two great teachers stand out from my own undergraduate experience. They differed radically from each other in technique, but both were gifted at connecting students, teacher, and subject in a community of learning. One of those teachers assigned a lot of reading in her course on methods of social research and, when we gathered around the seminar table on the first day, said, "Any comments or questions?" She had the courage to wait out our stupefied (and stupefying) silence, minute after minute after minute, gazing around the table with a benign look on her face -- and then, after the passage of a small eternity, to rise, pick up her books, and say, as she walked toward the door, "Class dismissed."

This scenario more or less repeated itself a second time, but by the third time we met, our high SAT scores had kicked in, and we realized that the big dollars we were paying for this education would be wasted if we did not get with the program. So we started doing the reading, making comments, asking questions -- and our teacher proved herself to be a brilliant interlocutor, co-researcher, and guide in the midst of confusions, a "weaver" of connectedness in her own interactive and inimitable way.

My other great mentor taught the history of social thought. He did not know the meaning of silence and he was awkward at interaction; he lectured incessantly while we sat in rows and took notes. Indeed, he became so engaged with his material that he was often impatient with our questions. But his classes were nonetheless permeated with a sense of connectedness and community. How did he manage this alchemy? Partly by giving lectures that went far beyond presenting the data of social theory into staging the drama of social thought. He told stories from the lives of great thinkers as well as explaining their ideas; we could almost see Karl Marx, sitting alone in the British Museum Library, writing Das Kapital.

Through active imagination we were brought into community with the thinker himself, and with the personal and social conditions that stimulated his thought. But the drama of my mentor's lectures went farther still. He would make a strong Marxist statement, and we would transcribe it in our notebooks as if it were holy writ. Then a puzzled look would pass over his face. He would pause, step to one side, turn and look back at the space he had just exited -- and argue with his own statement from an Hegelian point of view! This was not an artificial device but a genuine expression of the intellectual drama that continually occupied this teacher's mind and heart.

"Drama" does not mean histrionics, of course, and remembering that fact can help us name a form of connectedness that is palpable and powerful without being overtly interactive, or even face to face. When I go to the theater, I sometimes feel strongly connected to the action, as if my own life were being portrayed on stage. But I have no desire to raise my hand and respond to the line just spoken, or run up the aisle, jump onto the stage, and join in the action.

Sitting in the audience, I am already on stage "in person," connected in an inward and invisible way that we rarely credit as the powerful form of community that it is. With a good drama, I do not need overt interaction to be "in community" with those characters and their lives. I used to wonder how my mentor, who was so awkward in his face-to-face relations with students, managed to simulate community so well. Now I understand: he was in community without us! Who needs 20-year-olds from the suburbs when you are hanging out constantly with the likes of Marx and Hegel, Durkheim, Weber and Troeltsch? This is "community" of the highest sort -- this capacity for connectedness that allows one to converse with the dead, to speak and listen in an invisible network of relationships that enlarges one's world and enriches one's life. (We should praise, not deride, First Ladies who "talk" with Eleanor Roosevelt; the ability to learn from wise but long-gone souls is nothing less than a classic mark of a liberal education!) Yet my great professor, though he communed more intimately with the great figures of social thought than with the people close at hand, cared deeply about his students.

The passion with which he lectured was not only for his subject, but for us to know his subject. He wanted us to meet and learn from the constant companions of his intellect and imagination, and he made those introductions in a way that was deeply integral to his own nature. He brought us into a form of community that did not require small numbers of students sitting in a circle and learning through dialogue. These two great teachers were polar opposites in substance and in style. But both created the connectedness, the community, that is essential to teaching and learning. They did so by trusting and teaching from true self, from the identity and integrity that is the source of all good work -- and by employing quite different techniques that allowed them to reveal rather than conceal who they were.

Their genius as teachers, and their profound gifts to me, would have been diminished and destroyed had their practice been forced into the Procrustean bed of the method of the moment. The proper place for technique is not to subdue subjectivity, not to mask and distance the self from the work, but -- as one grows in self-knowledge -- to help bring forth and amplify the gifts of self on which good work depends.

Open Your Heart

Your life experiences may well be your greatest asset in teaching character. Go ahead, wow them with an excellent presentation of "Dealing With Temptation." But until they sense that you are in the middle of this battle with them, don’t expect them to take it too seriously. In getting anonymous evaluation from students, some say that they like my personal illustrations best. They don't want me to just teach an impersonal curriculum. They want to see my heart - to share the thrill of my victories and the agony of my defeats. Here are some ways I do it:

Distinguish Appropriate From Inappropriate Sharing
Authenticity doesn’t mean my life is an open book. Some chapters shouldn't be read by others. Total openness could harm anyone’s reputation. A good rule of thumb: don’t share anything you’d be uncomfortable with all the parents and staff knowing. Other chapters are between you and your wife. Don’t share that family argument without the permission of your family. And don’t constantly tell funny stories that involve your kids if they would not appreciate it.

Share Your Weaknesses
When we begin teaching, we instinctively want to impress our students. "If they think I’m a sharp person, they will follow me." True, but only to a certain extent. No one wants to follow a total nerd. But many in your group will never acquire the body of a Greek god, the James Bond way with women, or a perfect SAT score. And many feel they are losers because of it. Even that successful athlete agonizes because he never meets his father’s expectations. Your popular cheerleader may privately agonize over her weight, dangerously teetering on the edge of anorexia nervosa.

Since most youth live in painful awareness of their shortcomings, they delight in knowing that you share some of their shortcomings, yet are still able to succeed in life. I often share my real and perceived shortcomings from my teen years, like that fateful day in 7th grade P.E. when we were instructed to see how many pull-ups we could do. With all eyes upon me, giving it my all, I managed to hang onto the bar without falling. Little, chubby Stevie gutted out exactly zero pull-ups. Most kids know how I felt.

The vast majority are not the top athletes. Once they know I can identify, they want to listen to how I learned to handle my self-esteem, and how this experience led me to better diet and exercise. My struggles with academics (my poor memory made some classes very difficult), relationships (stood up the night of my first prom for another guy), and feelings of inadequacy are some of the most powerful tools I have for identifying with my students.

In a very real sense, students find strength through our weaknesses. Relish in them. Don’t hide them. With my strengths I command their respect. With my weakness I win their hearts. Have you heard any speakers who were transparent? How did their openness affect their impact? I recently heard a man speaking on contentment. It was a good message, but I felt a little detached.

After all, here was a handsome, great communicator with the audience paying rapt attention. What did he know about real problems? But then he answered my unvoiced question by sharing about he and his wife’s unsuccessful struggle to have children. I agonized with him as he related their love for children, and commitment to family. Yet, they fought bitterness when they saw God giving children freely to undeserving, negligent parents, while passing them by. His vulnerability reached out to me, gripped my throat, and sat me on the edge of my seat. I stayed on the edge the rest of his speech.

National speaker David Ring challenges us to quit "belly-aching" by revealing the crippling effects of his childhood polio, and the emotional impact of his mother's death. A comedian relates by sharing his struggles with dyslexia and obesity. What weaknesses can you appropriately share with your youth? Share Your Strengths On the backdrop of our weaknesses, sharing strengths will less likely come across as arrogance.

Against the background of our weaknesses, it’s not prideful to tell students how I disciplined myself to complete college and graduate school, overcame temptations that could have set me back, and made a good choice of friends. Is there a strength you could share in this week’s lesson? Share Your Defeats and Victories Don’t believe everything you read in current success literature

Boost Your Child’s Self Esteem

“Educate and teach your children, because they will live in different moment and different age of you”
Prophet Muhammad SAW

  • Laugh at your child’s jokes
  • Be silly with your child once in a while
  • If your child has a favorite outfit, let her wear it – a lot
  • Don’t spare superlatives (“wow”, “terrific”, “awesome”, etc) when your child excels at something.
  • Don’t make excuses for your child. Let her take the consequences of her actions
  • Understand that sometimes your child may not want to grow up. It’s too scary. Let him be little a little while longer.
  • If your child complains that you’re to crabby, think about it. The kid just might be right
  • Teach your child that the only dumb question is the one never asked
  • Build something together with your child
  • If your child tells you a secret, keep it
  • Don’t promise what you can’t deliver
  • Encourage your child to learn and try new things-but don’t push too hard or too fast
  • Don’t ignore or shy away from tough questions
  • Tell other people about your child’s successes – in front of your child
  • Teach your child to finish projects once they’re started
  • Remember what your child tells you
  • Encourage yor child to explore and solve problems ob his own, rather than you doing things for him all the time
  • Make “looking out for each other” a basic value in your family
  • Teach your child how to apologize
  • When your child’s world has come to an end, just help him get through the day. A new wold will start tomorrow.
  • Don’t be phony around your child. She’ll know it and her trust will be undermined
  • Show your child how to break big tasks down into smaller ones and take one step at a time
  • Let your child know that anybody can have a good idea
  • Don’t accept sloppy work from your child. There is pride in a job well done.
  • Teach your child that the world isn’t much impressed by show-offs and know-it-all
  • Remember that older children don’t like to be babied.
  • Teach your child good manners. It will give her more confidence in social situations.
  • Teach your child ways to have fun without spending money.
  • Don’t patronize your child. She may not know what to call it, but she’ll know what you’re doing and won’t like it.
  • Teach your child to accept help when it’s needed and offered.
  • Encourage your child to start a collection that no one else has.
  • Give your child a vacation from chores once in a while. ( if it’s good for you, it’s good for your child).
  • Teach your child about the power of first impression.
  • Teach your child how to read a map.
  • Don’t over schedule your child. Give him time to be “just a kid”.
  • Steer your child the autograph of someone famous or important to him.
  • Put your child in charge of a family project such as decorating for the holidays.
  • Teach your child that bigger isn’t always better.
  • Teach your child to take care of his own clothes. It will give both of you greater independence.
  • Give your child some tools of her own
  • If your child volunteers you for something, don’t back out.
  • Teach your child how to be alone without being lonely.
  • Let your child decorate the door to his room as a way to express individuality.
  • Teach your child to check for accuracy.
  • Let your child manage some of her own money.
  • Don’t make light of your child’s crush on someone else.
  • Teach your child to read music.
  • Don’t intrude when your child is in the bathroom.
  • Emphasize the importance of an education to a successful and fulfilling life.
  • Encourage your child to write an illustrated autobiography. It helps validate her as a distinct individual
  • Save your child’s ribbons, awards, and trophies.
  • Don’t shield your child from family problems.
  • Never use abusive phrases such as “you brat” or “you’re no good” with your child.
  • Encourage your child to learn a foreign language at an early age. Better yet, learn it along with your child.
  • Help your child make a junk art sculpture out of broken or discarded toys.
  • Don’t dress your children for your tastes. Let them dress for the real world in which they life.
  • Teach your child how to make introductions.
  • Teach your child how to count change.
  • If possible, stay out of sibling issues. Thing usually work out best when kids work them out for themselves.
  • Watch for signs that your child may be a victim of abuse, bullying, or extortion outside the home.
  • Let your children know they will be cared for if something happens to you.
    If your child does something really good, Don’t forget it right away

    Source :Robert D. Ramsey, Ed. D., 2003, 501 ways to boost your child’s self esteem, McGraw-hill Companies.

The Power of People Stories(Why use people stories?)

They’re easy to prepare. Although people stories may look like too many words on your lesson plan, they are so easy to remember that jotting down “Story of Mel Gibson” might be enough to remind me of the entire story.

They’re hard for students to forget. My 10-year-old twins are dyslexic and have exceptionally poor rote memories, yet I’m amazed at how they come home from Sunday School excitedly repeating in detail the stories that their teachers use. Even your poorest students may have remarkable memories for stories.

We love speakers who use them well Have any of you heard Ken Davis speak? I once watched him take thousands of worn-out teens, hook them to his message, and hold them in the palm of his hand for 40 minutes. He’s as good a communicator as I’ve ever heard for teens. Here's what Ken says about illustrations: "If we are to communicate effectively, we must realize that even the most logical speech in the universe will be of no value unless someone listens.

Illustrations and anecdotes are the glitter and sparkle that make people want to listen to our message." (1) "All great communicators master the art of using illustrations." (2) Chris King, editor/author of “Powerful Presentations,” wrote an article telling the difference between a good presenter and a great one. One of her five points is: "Great presenters have and tell great stories. Become an excellent storyteller, and you will be ‘Great.’"

Think of your favorite speakers. What do you remember most from their presentations - their explanations, their outlines, or their stories? I always remember their stories. Stories are vital in educating for character.

Educators are typically trained to move students from the known to the unknown. Thus, many character lessons I review excel at helping students, for example, to define lying and recognize lying. Yet, after the lesson, the students are no more motivated to stop lying than they were at the beginning of the lesson. Why? Because to successfully educate in character, we must move students past knowing the good into desiring the good and doing the good.

People stories go beyond transferring knowledge to motivating students on the feeling and volitional levels. As character education guru Thomas Lickona says: “We can motivate students to think about character – and the sort of character they’d like to possess – by exposing them to persons of character.”

(4) Note how the most popular books use stories. Great writers know that we love and respond to stories. For example, take the book How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Proclaimed the mother of self-help books on relationships, it has sold over fifteen million copies. Although first published way back in 1937, this publishing phenomenon is still ranked #125 in Amazon sales, almost 70 years after its original publication! What makes it so enduring and life changing? I believe that, to a large part, it’s his effective use of people stories.

According to Carnegie, “Readers of my books are soon aware of my use of the anecdote as a means of developing the main points of my message. The rules from How to Win Friends and Influence People can be listed on one and a half pages. The other two hundred and thirty pages of the book are filled with stories and illustrations to pint up how others have used these rules with wholesome effect.”

(5) Thus, Carnegie advises speakers: “The speaker should attempt to make only a few points and to illustrate them with concrete cases. Such a method of speech-building can hardly fail to get and hold attention.”

(6) Look at one of John Maxwell’s best-selling leadership books. If I highlighted the stories, you’d find that his books tend to consist of stories organized by an outline. Why are the Chicken Soup books best sellers? They consist of short, readable stories. Peruse popular magazines. People Magazine, Teen People, Readers Digest, Biography Magazine, sell people stories. Note the power of the anecdote over the power of evidence and logic among students. In case you haven’t noticed, the part of the teen brain that responds to logic must be roughly the size of a flea’s eyelash.

This explains why, rather than acting on the scientific evidence that finds 13,000 lives saved each year by wearing seatbelts, many teens prefer to believe the one counterexample they’ve heard – “My uncle Otis died because he wore his seatbelt.” For teens, the power of the anecdote tends to win over the power of sound research.

Instead of acting on the overwhelming evidence that Marijuana is addictive (e.g., if it’s not addictive, why do tons of users exhibit all the characteristics of addiction; and why do over 150,000 people each year pay thousands of dollars to enter treatment facilities to try to get off of Marijuana, if they in fact aren’t addicted and can simply stop on their own?), teens prefer to trust the advice of a peer “expert” who says he smokes weed but isn’t addicted. Again, for most teens, the people story wins over sound research.

Does this mean that we should ignore research and use solely people stories? No! We’re responsible to move students toward understanding the value of sound research. So, let’s begin by showing statistics that honest people do better in the business world than liars and cheats. Then, follow those stats with examples from your own life and the lives of others. Top educators employ great people stories.

William J. Poorvu, who heads Harvard Business School’s real estate program, notes that HBS: “emphasizes the use of cases in the classroom – small “slice of life” stories about real people in real business situations.”

(7) No wonder! Case studies of real people are interesting, easy to remember, and guard us against the tendency to reduce life and business to a set of simplistic formulas.Motivated to use more people stories? Let’s reflect next on the types of people stories that work best with our students.

Eleven Principles of Effective Character Education

There is no single script for effective character education, but there are some important basic principles. The following eleven principles serve as criteria that schools and other groups can use to plan a character education effort. They can be used in conjunction with CEP's Character Education Quality Standards to evaluate available character education programs, books, and curriculum resources.

Principle 1 Promotes core ethical values as the basis of good character.
Principle 2 Defines "character" comprehensively to include thinking, feeling, and behavior. Principle 3 Uses a comprehensive, intentional, proactive, and effective approach to character development.
Principle 4 Creates a caring school community.
Principle 5 Provides students with opportunities for moral action.
Principle 6 Includes a meaningful and challenging academic curriculum that respects all learners, develops their character, and helps them to succeed.
Principle 7 Strives to foster students self motivation.
Principle 8 Engages the school staff as a learning and moral community that shares responsibility for character education and attempts to adhere to the same core values that guide the education of students.
Principle 9 Fosters shared moral leadership and long range support of the character education initiative.
Principle 10 Engages families and community members as partners in the character-building effort.
Principle 11 Evaluates the character of the school, the school staff's functioning as character educators, and the extent to which students manifest good character.

Kecerdasan Emosi Bekal Terpenting Anak

Mother And Baby Thu, 24 Feb 2005 16:28:00 WIB

Kecerdasan emosi kini menjadi perhatian dan prioritas. Kecerdasan emosi adalah bekal terpenting dalam mempersiapkan anak menyongsong masa depan, karena dengannya seseorang akan dapat berhasil dalam menghadapi segala macam tantangan, termasuk tantangan untuk berhasil secara akademis. Selain itu, kecerdasan emosi juga sangat penting dalam hubungan pola asuh anak dengan orang tua. Hasil studi Dr. Marvin Berkowitz dari University of Missouri- St. Louis, yang diterbitkan dalam sebuah sebuah buletin, Character Educator, oleh Character Education Partnership, dijelaskan tentang keberhasilan kecerdasan emosi terhadap keberhasilan akademik.

Dalam penelitian tersebut, dijelaskan tentang peningkatan motivasi siswa sekolah dalam meraih prestasi akademik pada sekolah-sekolah yang menerapkan pendidikan karakter. Kelas-kelas yang secara komprehensif terlibat dalam pendidikan karakter menunjukan penurunan drastis pada perilaku negatif siswa yang dapat menghambat keberhasilan akademik.Pendidikan karakter adalah pendidikan budi pekerti plus, yaitu yang melibatkan aspek pengetahuan (cognitive), perasaan (feeling), dan tindakan (action).

Menurut Thomas Lickona, tanpa ketiga aspek ini, maka pendidikan karakter tidak akan efektif, dan pelaksanaannya pun harus dilakukan secara sistematis dan berkelanjutan. Dengan pendidikan karakter, seorang anak akan menjadi cerdas emosinya. Anak-anak yang mempunyai masalah dalam kecerdasan emosinya, akan mengalami kesulitan belajar, bergaul dan tidak dapat mengontrol emosinya.

Anak-anak yang bermasalah ini sudah dapat dilihat sejak usia pra-sekolah, dan kalau tidak ditangani akan terbawa sampai usia dewasa. Sebaliknya para remaja yang berkarakter atau mempunyai kecerdasan emosi tinggi akan terhindar dari masalah-masalah umum yang dihadapi oleh remaja seperti kenakalan, tawuran, narkoba, miras, perilaku seks bebas, dan sebagainya.Pendidikan karakter di sekolah sangat diperlukan, walaupun dasar dari pendidikan karakter adalah di dalam keluarga. Kalau seorang anak mendapatkan pendidikan karakter yang baik dari keluarganya, anak tersebut akan berkarakter baik selanjutnya.

Namun banyak orang tua yang lebih mementingkan aspek kecerdasan otak ketimbang pendidikan karakter.Kecerdasan emosi atau Emotional Intelligence (EI) adalah kemampuan seseorang untuk mengendalikan emosinya. EI dengan indikator rasa empati, kemampuan mengekspresikan dan memahami diri, beradaptasi, bekerja dalam tim, berbagi dan sebagainya, sangatlah penting untuk meningkatkan kualitas perilaku cerdas seseorang ditengah masyarakat, maupun dunia kerja.

Penelitian menunjukkan, kesuksesan diraih oleh mereka yang memiliki kecerdasan emosi baik dibanding orang-orang yang hanya bermodalkan IQ tinggi. Namun di abad 21 ini, kecerdasan emosi rata-rata manusia semakin turun. Guru Besar Psikologi Universitas Indonesia, Sarlito Sarwono dalam penjelasannya di acara Workshop Hidup Sehat, menuturkan menurunnya kecerdasan emosi mayoritas penduduk dunia, disebabkan karena perubahan nilai sosial dimasyarakat, berkurangnya waktu orang tua untuk mengasuh anaknya, sistem pendidikan yang terlalu memperhatikan kecerdasan intelektual, peningkatan angka perceraian, dan pengaruh media elektronik."Anak itu membutuhkan pujian, sebagaimana ia juga ia membutuhkan hukuman.

Pujian seperti apa yang dibutuhkan mereka ? Pujian yang tulus. Hindari memberi kuliah, hindari marah, hindari teriak, hindari pengulangan masalah atau mengungkit-ungkit masalah", ujar Sarlito. Sarlito menjelaskan orang tua sangat berperan untuk mengembangkan kecerdasan emosi anak dengan cara menanamkan nilai-nilai pentingnya berbagi, saling menyayangi, membangun disiplin, berkomunikasi secara efektif, sehingga merangsang kemampuan anak untuk mendengar, mengerti dan berpikir.Menemani anak menjelang tidur, saling memaafkan dan mengembangkan minat membaca pada anak, juga dapat meningkatkan kecerdasan emosi anak.(Idh/Bahan Fokus dan Pustaka Cerdas)
Sumber: Tabloid Ibu Anak

Menjadi diri sendiri atau seperti kemauan kita?

Kemarin saya bertemu seorang kawan di sebuah acara dia bercerita banyak tentang anaknya, yang menurutnya sering susah disuruh belajar, sering susah disuruh les kumon, nggak serius kalo belajar, males les piano dan segudang keburukan lain.Lalu saya balik bertanya, sudahkah buat kesepakatan dengan anak waktu untuk belajar? Les kumon, les piano atas kemauan siapa?Dengan santai dan tanpa bersalah teman saya menjawab, saya khan pengin anak saya juga bisa mahir main musik jadi juara kelas, khan saya sudah capek cari biaya, masak dia gak mau berprestasi. Coba jeng bayangin saja…anak tetangga saya itu rajin-rajin….pinter-pinter….penurut, gak kayak anak saya…bandel…Saya kembali tersenyum….saya tidak berkomentar banyak terhadap kawan saya tersebut karena sebelum saya sempat berkomentar sudah ada tamu lain yang sama menghadiri acara tersebut. Namun saya jadi berfikir dan tergelitik untuk menulis di blog ini, mudah-mudahan kawan saya membaca blog ini dan mulai sadar atas sikapnya.

Seringkali kita memaksa anak kita menjadi juara ini, pandai ini dan ahli itu, kita tidak pernah memperhatikan apa sebenarnya yang anak kita inginkan, semakin tinggi pendidikan dan kedudukan seseorang banyak yang berfikir ‘anaknya harus sukses seperti dia’. Kita seringkali lupa bahwa anak kita punya keinginan sendiri, punya dunia sendiri. Bukankah anak kita lahir sebagai pribadi yang unik? pribadi-pribadi yang istimewa? Pernahkah kita membiarkan anak kita berbahagia bermain, mengikuti kesenangan dan keinginannya?Mendidik anak menjadi yang terbaik adalah kewajiban para orang tua, namun bukan berarti menjadi diri kita.Kalau anak susah dan gak mau belajar pastilah ada sebabnya, bisa jadi dia tidak tahu kenapa dia harus belajar, kenapa dia tidak boleh bermain.

Pernahkah kita jelaskan kepada anak kenapa anak kita harus belajar? Jika sudah alhamdulillah, berarti kita sudah menjadi orang tua yang baik, namun jika belum sebaiknya kita belajar lagi bagaimana mendidik anak kita agar mau belajar. Kenapa tidak kita buat kesepakatan supaya anak kita dengan rela belajar tanpa kita suruh?Kemudian soal les, kita tidak perlu memaksa anak kita ikut les ataupun kursus yang sebenarnya tidak diminati oleh anak kita hanya sekedar untuk gengsi kita…atau supaya ini dan itu, tanyakan dulu pada anak kita, lihat juga kemampuan dan bakatnya, jangan sampai anak kita terlalu sibuk dan tidak punya waktu untuk bermain.

Ada orang tua yang karena kesibukannya bekerja ingin anaknya ikut sibuk, sehingga dari pagi hingga petang anaknya diberi kesibukan berbagai kursus. Kenapa anak yang harsu jadi korban karena kita sibuk? Bukankah dunia anak adalah dunia bermain yang menyenangkan?Kita kembali pada diri kita masing-masing, sudah benarkah kita mendidik putra putri kita, dan jangan paksa mereka menjadi diri kita karena mereka bisa menjadi diri mereka sendiri.

Membentuk Karakter Cara Islam

oleh: Anis Matta

Anda pernah mendengar kata “split personality”? atau kepribadian yang terpecah? Maka semua itu berhubungan dengan proses pembentukan karakter seorang manusia. Karakter yang ada di dalam dirinya. Maka buku ini akan menjelaskan hal-hal yang berkaitan dengan karakter manusia dan proses pembentukannya, serta langkah-langkah apa yang harus dilakukan untuk membentuk karakter cara islam.

Krisis Moral dan Kepribadian
Kita hidup dalam sebuah dunia yang gelap, dimana setiap orang meraba-raba, namun tidak menemukan denyut nurani, tidak merasakan sentuhan kasih, dan tidak melihat sorot mata persahabatan yang tulus, dalam hal ini masyarakat mungkin mengalami krisis moral. Krisis moral dapat ditandai oleh dua gejala yaitu tirani dan keterasingan. Tirani merupakan gejala dari rusaknya perilaku sosial, sedangkan keterasingan menandai rusaknya hubungan sosial.

Penyebab terjadinya krisis moral adalah :
  • Adanya penyimpangan pemikiran dalam sejarah pemikiran manusia yang menyebabkan paradoks antarnilai, misalnya etika dan estetika
  • Hilangnya model kepribadian yang integral, yang memadukan kesalihan dengan kesuksesan, kebaikan dengan kekuatan, dan seterusnya
  • Munculnya antagonisme dalam pendidikan moral
  • Lemahnya peranan lembaga sosial yang menjadi basis pendidikan moral
    Krisis moral ini menimbulkan begitu banyak ketidakseimbangan di dalam masyarakat yang tentunya tidak membuat masyarakat bahagia. Maka solusi yang sangat tepat bagi masalah ini hanya satu yaitu : Kembali menempuh jalan Allah, kembali kepada jalan islam. “Maka, barangsiapa mengikuti petunjuk-Ku, niscaya tidak ada kekhawatiran atas mereka, dan tidak pula mereka bersedih hati.” (QS. Al-Baqarah : 38)

Akhlak Dalam Semua Sisi Kehidupan
Akhlak adalah nilai pemikiran yang telah menjadi sikap mental yang mengakar dalam jiwa, lalu tampak dalam bentuk tindakan dan perilaku yang bersifat tetap, natural, dan refleks. Jadi, jika nilai islam mencakup semua sektor kehidupan manusia, maka perintah beramal shalih pun mencakup semua sektor kehidupan manusia itu.

Akhlak = Iman + Amal Shalih

Maka akhlak Laa Ilaaha Illallaah sebagai kumpulan nilai kebenaran, kebaikan, dan keindahan memasuki individu manusia dan merekonstruksi visi, membangun mentalitas, serta membentuk akhlak dan karakternya. Demikianlah, Laa Ilaaha Illallaah sebagai kumpulan nilai kebenaran, kebaikan, dan keindahan memasuki masyarakat manusia dan mereformasi sistem, serta membangun budaya dan mengembangkan peradabannya.
Walaupun islam merinci satuan akhlak terpuji, namun dengan pengamatan mendalam, kita menemukan satuan tersebut sesungguhnya mengakar pada induk karakter tertentu. Sedangkan akhlak tercela seperti penyakit syubhat dan syahwat, sama bersumber dari kelemahan akal dan jiwa.

Pembentukan prilaku
Faktor-faktor pembentuk perilaku antara lain :
Faktor internal :
Instink biologis, seperti lapar, dorongan makan yang berlebihan dan berlangsung lama akan menimbulkan sifat rakus, maka sifat itu akan menjadi perilaku tetapnya, dan seterusnya
Kebutuhan psikologis, seperti rasa aman, penghargaan, penerimaan, dan aktualisasi diri
Kebutuhan pemikiran, yaitu akumulasi informasi yang membentuk cara berfikir seseorang seperti mitos, agama, dan sebagainya
Faktor eksternal
Lingkungan keluarga
Lingkungan sosial
Lingkungan pendidikan

Islam membagi akhlak menjadi dua yaitu :
fitriyah, yaitu sifat bawaan yang melekat dalam fitrah seseorang yang dengannya ia diciptakan, baik sifat fisik maupun jiwa.
Muktasabah, yaitu sifat yang sebelumnya tidak ada namun diperoleh melalui lingkungan alam dan sosial, pendidikan, pelatihan, dan pengalaman

Proses pembelajaran
Dalam konsep Islam, karakter tidak sekali terbentuk, lalu tertutup, tetapi terbuka bagi semua bentuk perbaikan, pengembangan, dan penyempurnaan, sebab sumber karakter perolehan ada dan bersifat tetap. Karenanya orang yang membawa sifat kasar bisa memperoleh sifat lembut, setelah melalui mekanisme latihan. Namun, sumber karakter itu hanya bisa bekerja efektif jika kesiapan dasar seseorang berpadu dengan kemauan kuat untuk berubah dan berkembang, dan latihan yang sistematis.

Tahapan perkembangan perilaku
Tahap I (0 – 10 tahun)
Perilaku lahiriyah, metode pengembangannya adalah pengarahan, pembiasaan, keteladanan, penguatan (imbalan) dan pelemahan (hukuman), indoktrinasi
Tahap II ( 11 – 15 tahun)
Perilaku kesadaran, metode pengambangannya adalah penanaman nilai melalui dialog, pembimbingan, dan pelibatan
Tahap III ( 15 tahun ke atas)
Kontrol internal atas perilaku, metode pengembangannya adalah perumusan visi dan misi hidup, dan penguatan tanggung jawab kepada Allah swt

Ambivalensi Kejiwaan Manusia
Ambivalensi adalah dua garis jiwa yang berbeda bahkan berlawanan, namun saling berhadapan. Fungsinya :
Merekatkan sisi-sisi kepribadian manusia tetap utuh
Memperluas wilayah kepribadian manusia dengan tetap menjaga pusat keseimbangannya
Menjaga dinamika perkembangan jiwa manusia
Seseorang akan memiliki tingkat kesehatan mental yang baik, jika garis jiwa yang ambivalen berjalan dan bergerak secara harmonis, seakan simfoni indah orkestra handal. Maka langkah yang harus ditempuh agar simfoni tersebut mengalun indah dan harmonis adalah :
  • Atur posisi dan komposisi garis jiwa itu secara benar, dan hilangkan semua kecenderungan jiwa yang salah
  • Berikan atau tentukan arah kecenderungan jiwa secara benar dan natural.
  • Lihat ekspresinya dalam bentuk sikap dan perilaku kesehariannya
  • Garis jiwa yang ambivalen ada dalam diri manusia sejak ia lahir sampai ia mati, melekat, dan mewarnai semua sisi kehidupannya. Walaupun demikian, tetap ada perbedaan mendasar tentang objek dan alasan yang melahirkan garis jiwa menjadi perilaku, pada tahapan usia yang berbeda pula.

Pembentukan Kepribadian
Kepribadian terbentuk setelah melalui proses :
Adanya nilai yang diserap seseorang dari berbagai sumber, mungkin agama, ideologi, dan sebagainya. Nilai membentuk pola pikir seseorang yang secara keseluruhan ke luar dalam bentuk rumusan visinya. Visi turun ke wilayah hati dan membentuk suasana jiwa yang secara keseluruhan keluar dalam bentuk mentalitas. Mentalitas mengalir memasuki wilayah fisik dan melahirkan tindakan yang secara keseluruhan disebut sikap. Sikap yang dominan dalam diri seseorang secara kumulatif mencitrai dirinya adalah kepribadian

Tiga langkah merubah karakter
Terapi kognitif
Cara yang paling efektif untuk memperbaiki karakter dan mengembangkannya adalah dengan memperbaiki cara berfikir
Langkah :

  1. Pengosongan, berarti mengosongkan benak kita dari berbagai bentuk pemikiran yang salah, menyimpang, tidak berdasar, baik dari segi agama maupun akal yang lurus
  2. Pengisian, berarti mengisi kembali benak kita dengan nilai-nilai baru dari sumber keagamaan kita, yang membentuk kesadaran baru, logika baru, arah baru, dan lensa baru dalam cara memandang berbagai masalah
  3. Kontrol, berarti kita harus mengontrol pikiran-pikiran baru yang melintas dalam benak kita, sebelum berkembang menjadi gagasan yang utuh
  4. Doa, berarti bahwa kita mengharapkan unsur pencerahan Ilahi dalam cara berfikir kita

Terapi mental
Warna perasaan kita adalah cermin bagi tindakan kita. Tindakan yang harmonis akan mengukir lahir dari warna perasaan yang kuat dan harmonis
Langkah :

  1. Pengarahan, berarti perasaan-perasaan kita harus diberi arah yang jelas, yaitu arah yang akan menentukan motifnya. Setiap perasaan haruslah mempunyai alasan lahir yang jelas. Itu hanya mungkin jika perasaan dikaitkan secara kuat dengan pikiran kita
  2. Penguatan, berarti kita harus menemukan sejumlah sumber tertentu yang akan menguatkan perasaan itu dalam jiwa kita. Ini secara langsung terkait dengan unsur keyakinan, kemauan, dan tekad yang dalam yang memenuhi jiwa, sebelum kita melakukan suatu tindakan.
  3. Kontrol, berarti kita harus memunculkan kekuatan tertentu dalam diri yang berfungsi mengendalikan semua warna perasaan diri kita
  4. Doa, berarti kita mengharapkan adanya dorongan Ilahiyah yang berfungsi membantu semua proses pengarahan, penguatan, dan pengendalian bagi mental kita

Perbaikan fisik
Sebagaimana ahli kesehatan mengatakan bahwa dasar-dasar kesehatan itu tercipta melalui perpaduan yang baik antara tiga unsur :
Gizi makanan yang baik dan mencukupi kebutuhan
Olahraga yang teratur dalam kadar yang cukup
Istirahat yang cukup dan memenuhi kebutuhan relaksasi tubuh

Hadist riwayat Imam Ahmad :
Rasulullah berkata, “Inginkah kalian kuberitahu tentang siapa dari kalian yang paling kucintai dan akan duduk di majelis terdekat denganku di hari kiamat?”
Kemudian Rasul mengulanginya sampai tiga kali, dan sahabat menjawab “Iya, ya rasulullah !” Lalu rasul bersabda, “Orang yang paling baik akhlaknya.”


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