Written by Saadia Haq (Author of The Human Lens) and Eva Fatmawaty
Indonesia has seen substantial rise in school violence incidents and the government’s record of addressing this issue is debatable. The violence perpetuated within the premises of an educational institution has many root-causes. Overall, the parents, teachers, school authorities and friends have their share in influencing school violence.
Then bullying makes a huge factor where certain school going bullies try to dominate and tame other students resulting in minor to catastrophic results like last month’s girl child assault in religious class.
Every bully-child has a history within his own childhood growing years that influence his or her personality shaping into a bully. It is important to understand that a child’s first learning institution is “home” and primary teachers and role modes are “parents.” Also a father and mother are the first educators for their child at home. While becoming parents is natural relatively easier, good parenting skills are harder to learn and implement. Whatever children learn it’s a reflection of what they saw or heard from their primary teachers: i.e. parents.
The latest studies on School violence and research studies on child management have come up with mechanisms for discipline children by positive methods instead of the age old methodology of the using the rod. The “Positive Discipline” methodology is based in research on children’s healthy development and founded on child rights principles.
Positive discipline is not permissiveness nor is it about punishment. It is about long -term solutions that develop children’s own self-discipline and their life-long skills. Positive discipline is about teaching non-violence, empathy, self-respect, human rights and respect for others. It focuses on capacity building of parents and secondary role models of children i.e. teachers.
In Indonesia, adhering to child rights needs, the Positive Discipline programme was initiated in late 2012 and since then, teachers at 16 primary and junior high schools have participated in different training workshops. The approach has been done into partnership with UNICEF, Save The Children and Learn Without Fear Campaign, Plan International.
The program has also been introduced into the troublesome province of West Papua that has an appalling human rights atrocities and conflict record heavily censored by the Indonesian government.
At home, for parents this programme brings innovative mechanisms. How so? The Positive Discipline for parents includes:
- It is an in-built mechanism as a universal program for the typical families facing typical challenges, rather than just focusing on “high-risk” families.
- It is based in attachment, relationships and communication, rather than rewards and punishments.
- It helps to build on parents’ strengths
- It is encompassing all stages of childhood, from birth to adolescence.
- It helps parents learn how to problem-solve across a wide range of situations, rather than prescribing “what to do when”.
- It comes from a child rights perspective, so it focuses on enhancing mutual respect between parents and children.
- It is originated as a culturally inclusive approach and mainstreamed as “parenting universals”.
In schools and classrooms, the students are under the supervision of their teachers. For the teachers, the Positive Discipline approach includes a variety of strategies:
- It is s based on established pedagogical principles, as well as child rights principles.
- It considers the long-term impact of the teaching relationship on children’s lives and attitudes toward learning.
- It helps teachers learn how to provide effective mentorship within a safe learning environment.
- It provides relevant information about children’s neurological, intellectual and social development from birth to adolescence.
- It recognizes the importance of individual differences in children’s experiences, temperaments and information processing.
- It focuses on problem-solving rather than rewards and punishment
Any form of violence has a very long-lasting and consequential effect on a child’s mind. And there is no doubt that parents and the teachers have a strong role and responsibility in guiding the children towards becoming positive persons and attain skills to behave in socially acceptable ways.
Through programs like “Positive Discipline” it is hoped that more and more parents and teachers will be enabled to guide children in many constructive ways that are counter strategies for the eradication of school violence from the society. Indonesia has taken its initial steps that will help address the concerns of violence against children in a long run to come.