Living in Harmony with Living Values Education

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Diversity is inherent in Indonesian identity. However, in recent years, the anti-diversity atmosphere has increased as political dynamics have led to societal polarization. The current polarization is still very pronounced, mainly in social media timelines, especially those related to religious and ethnic sentiments. For this reason, an educational method is needed to support and strengthen the conditions of harmony in diversity.

Living Values ​​Education (LVE) is considered one of the appropriate educational methods and programs to educate children and the young generation to appreciate differences. LVE is an educational program that offers training and practical methodologies for educators, facilitators, social workers, parents and child caregivers to help them provide opportunities for children and young people to explore and develop universal values ​​such as peace, respect, compassion, cooperation, happiness, honesty, humility, responsibility, simplicity, tolerance, freedom, and unity.

In the discussion on Values ​​Education Methods for Harmony in Diversity on Thursday, July 15, 2021, Taka Gani (Association for Living Values ​​Education Coordinator for Indonesia)—one of the resource persons, said that the LVE program had applied in many educational institutions and social institutions in more than 100 countries. Besides being used in formal and informal education, Living Values ​​Education also has particular materials for children victims of war or conflict, earthquake survivors, street children, children in drug rehabilitation and children in juvenile prisons.

LVE believes that universal values ​​and positive qualities exist in everyone, including intolerant and anti-diversity people. "Universal values ​​are like seeds in everyone, sometimes hidden by painful experiences. For that, LVE uses the word 'dig'. Digging to cultivate positive values ​​because values ​​already exist in everyone," said Taka.

LVE has a basic view that every child, including adults, has five basic emotional needs that must be fulfilled, whether in the learning environment, at home, in society, or wherever they are.

"Every child needs to feel safe, valued, respected, understood, and loved," said Iqbal Hasanuddin (LVE Trainer and Philosophy Lecturer at UIN Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta), the second resource person of the discussion.

Iqbal continued that if one or more of the five basic needs are not fulfilled, negative feelings will arise, such as feeling insecure or afraid, not being appreciated, worthless, and other negative emotions.

These negative emotions fuel children, teenagers, or adults to behave negatively, such as intolerance, anger to fights, embarrassment to speak.

"On the other hand, if we create a school culture based on love, understanding, privilege, respect, security through actions, rules, learning methods which is developed by teachers and staff in the school environment, it will make children fulfil their five basic needs," explained Iqbal.

The third resource person, Bahrissalim (Director of Madrasah Development), said that the definition of education is an activity to prepare future generations. In essence, education is to grow character by getting used to it every day to become a culture. What he got in the LVE Training, which he had attended with his colleagues at school, was closely related to the definition of education.

"That's how we teachers grow the characters (positive values) that already exist in the children. But more importantly, how to cultivate these values ​​from us as educators so that the children imitate us," said Bahrissalim.

Bahris continued that every child cares about values ​​and can work and learn if given the opportunity. For this reason, he encourages every teacher to understand the paradigm or provide opportunities for students so that they can grow and develop positive behaviour and quality.

Therefore, Bahrissalim said that the Active Listening technique taught in the LVE Training to teachers is very important in its role as soft skills for teachers to explore and liven up the values ​​and qualities in each student.

With teachers doing active listening activities, students will feel appreciated, understood or fulfilled their five basic emotional needs. By feeling valued, they will also enjoy and be positive towards their friends and others around them.

For information, the discussion entitled Methods of Value Education for Harmony in Diversity was organized by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF Indonesia) and INDEKS (Institute for Democracy and Social Welfare) and supported by the Ministry of Law and Human Rights of the Republic of Indonesia. This discussion consists of two sessions. Session I presented resource persons Taka Gani, Bahrissalim, and Iqbal Hasanuddin, whose views have been explained above. As for Session II, this discussion presented Nanang Sunandar (Executive Director of the INDEKS), Muqowim (Lecturer at Sunan Kalijaga State Islamic University, Yogyakarta), and Rani Anggraeni Dewi (Founder of the Indonesia Bahagia Foundation). Mathelda Christy Titihalawa moderated this discussion.

While in Session I, the resource persons introduced more about what LVE is, then the resource persons in Session II talked more about how LVE might create harmony in diversity.

Nanang Sundar, in his presentation entitled "The Relevance of Values ​​Education Methods in Efforts for Social Inclusion and Enforcement of Human Rights", said that Indonesia in recent years had a lower civil liberties score even though human rights instruments had been ratified and became law.

"One of our problems is intolerance. Our society is not friendly with differences or diversity. Many are afraid and suspicious, leading to aggressive actions to the point of taking victims. The most prominent cases are cases of violations of freedom of religion and belief as well as violations of freedom of opinion and expression," explained Nanang.

For this reason, it is necessary to campaign for the importance of tolerance and respect for the freedom and rights of citizens. In general, there are two approaches to human rights advocacy. First, rights-based (a rights-based approach through law or regulation). Second, values-based (value-based approach).

"The values-based approach emphasizes awareness. If you look at the plot, this approach starts from a very personal level to inter-personal or between individuals who interact with each other. If more and more people interact, it will form a social order so that peacebuilding or harmony will be created," said Nanang.

Nanang continued, LVE in the context of efforts to create peacebuilding or harmony in the diversity targets to change individual and community behaviour. He said this could be done in two ways. First, campaign activities or direct outreach to the public through discussions, seminars, publications or social media. Second, training key people, such as community leaders, teachers, leaders, is expected to drive change.

The resource person of Session II, Muqowim, conveyed how values-based diversity in harmony through the LVE approach was applied in educational institutions. "Values-based education is to produce men of action. It does not mean that knowledge is not important, but that it is the application of knowledge is more highlighted," said Muqowim.

Meanwhile, the last resource person, Rani Anggraeni Dewi, who also works as a Couple Relationship Therapist and Pre-marital consultant, conveyed how values-based diversity in harmony through the LVE approach was applied in the family institutions.