Arifin, Bafadal I., Imron A., Sonhadji A. Cultivating character education through transforming school cultural values

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УДК 37(594)



Arifin, Bafadal I., Imron A., Sonhadji A.

This article discusses the transformation of school cultural values in character education. This study aimed to outline the importance regarding the transformation of school cultural values in the management of: a) curriculum and learning, b) students, c) teachers and school practitioners to realize the character education. This study was a qualitative study which employed a case study design. The participants of this study were the principals, teachers, practitioners, and students of Senior High School in Gorontalo Province of Indonesia. The results of the analysis revealed that the habituation of cultural values such as religious values, honesty, togetherness, modesty, and discipline which have formed a systematic and persistent integration with the management of curriculum, of students, of teachers and practitioners, can accomplish the goals of character education that is creating a generation that is emotionally, socially, and spiritually intelligent. 

Keywords: transformation, school culture, values, character education, Gorontalo Province of Indonesia.




Арифин, Бадафал И., Имрон А., Сонхаджи А.

В статье представлена точка зрения на трансформацию культурных ценностей в воспитании личности в школе. Целью данного  исследования является выявление важности изменений в организации школьного образования по нескольким траекториям: а) расписание и обучение, б) обучающиеся, в) учителя и психологи, осознающие важность воспитания личности. Данное исследование – это качественное исследование на основе анализа конкретных ситуаций. Участниками стали директора школ, учителя, психологи и обучающиеся старшей школы в провинции Горонтало. Результаты анализа выявили, что обучение культурным ценностям, таким как религия, честность, единение, скромность и дисциплина сформировали систематическую и непрерывную интеграцию в развитии вышеуказанных траекторий. Всё это может достичь цели воспитания личности, которое создает эмоционально, социально и духовно развитое поколение. 

Ключевые слова: трансформация, школьная культура, ценности, воспитание личности, индонезийская провинция Горонтало.



The Law Number 20 of 2003 on National Education System formulates the functions and objectives of national education that should be used in developing education efforts in Indonesia [13]. Article 3 of the Education Law states “The national education serves to develop the ability and character development and civilization of the nation’s dignity in the context of the intellectual life of the nation, which aims at developing students’ potentials in order to become a man of faith and fear of God Almighty, noble, healthy, knowledgeable, capable, creative, independent, and become a democratic and accountable citizen”. The national education goal is the formulation of Indonesian human qualities that should be developed by each educational unit. Therefore, any educational institution in each region should be able to develop the potential of their students which of course based on cultural values embraced by each school.

School culture is a set of norms or values manifested in behaviors, activities, and symbols in schools to achieve the school’s excellence through continuous improvement [12]. The development of a school’s quality culture should integrate and become the basis for realizing character education that is manifested in the life of learning in schools. In contrast to improving the school’s quality culture, character education values are the criteria that determine the quality of the child’s actions. As a defining criterion, character values can be a foothold for the development of a more advanced learning. The meaningfulness of learning based on the habituation of character value values will build a school-friendly cultural paradigm that always triggers the scholarship and behavior of all school citizens and apply it contextually in an effort to realize character education in every educational unit.

Character education is one of the government’s big programs in the world of education today, but still, according to A.A. Hidayat [1], to apply character education to students, it will be difficult without a good school culture. With an established school culture, anyone entering the school will automatically follow the culture and value of existing values. In essence, character education is an educational system that seeks to instill noble values to all elements in the school that includes the components of science, awareness and motivation to implement these values. In the implementation of character education in schools, all components of the school should be empowered, including the substance of management education itself, namely curriculum management and learning process, student management, school management, infrastructure, school financing and school culture

Research on the transformation of cultural values in realizing character education is important to do because character education is currently one of the major programs of the Indonesian government, one of which should be encouraged in schools to improve the moral of the nation which has been in need of serious handling. Research on character education has been done but it is still general, so the novelty in this study specifically examines the realization of character education based on school culture values which are then transformed into three aspects of the managerial substance of education in the school that is in the management of the learning curriculum, Management of student and management of educators and education personnel. The results of this study are then expected to be one of the references as a pattern for other schools to support and strengthen government programs in improving the character of the nation’s generation of Indonesia.


This study uses a qualitative approach with a case study design. The reasons for using a qualitative approach is because this study puts the main focus on the transformation of cultural values of the school in bringing about character education, which is in the form of a process, events or activities of a person (some people) in dynamically making the process of transformation of cultural values, which can reveal the substance and meaning truth in the study, so it is necessary to do in depth observation with a natural backdrop for understanding the phenomenon or a social phenomenon comprehensively and contextually to describe the empirical reality of the object under study.

In accordance with the approach and the research design used, the instrument used to collect data is the researchers themselves. The presence of the researcher in qualitative research is a must because this type of research prefers findings on observations conducted by researchers at the natural background research directly.

The research was conducted in the province of Gorontalo at the secondary school in MAN Insan Cendekia Gorontalo. The in depth study is directed at the management aspects of the curriculum and learning, student management and the management of teachers and education personnel.

This study used qualitative data in the form of words, behavior or policy of each school culture actors. The data were in the forms of documents, manuscripts, records and others, which concerns the value of school culture values. Sources of data in qualitative research can be obtained from key informants who become the main actors of the object under study associated with the transformation of school culture values. The key informants in this study were the principal data source. Determination of informants in this study used purposive sampling (especially key informants), which then developed to other informants with snowball sampling technique.

To obtain the data the researchers used data collection techniques which are legitimately used in qualitative research. This is commonly found in qualitative research using data collection techniques such as in-depth interviews (indept interview), participant observation, and documentation study.

This study uses data analysis of individual cases .The steps of data analysis together with data collection follow the procedures proposed by M.B. Miles and A.M. Huberman [8]: (1) data reduction, (2) data presentation (3) the conclusion (temporary conclusion, verification and final conclusion). 

Qualitative research has its own characteristics in checking the validity of the data. According to Y.S. Lincoln and E.G. Guba [7] checking the validity of qualitative data can be done through four approaches, namely: degree of confidence (credibility), matches (transferambility), dependence (dependenitas), and assertion (confirmability).

To check the validity of data in this study, the writers dominantly used the following techniques; Continuous observation and triangulation of data. Triangulation activities conducted by researchers used triangulation techniques and data source triangulation of data collection methods. The technique of source triangulation is done by; Information derived from the informant which is cross-checked with information from other informants, both key informants and additional informants. Triangulation technique of data collection method was done by three methods of data collection, that is observation, interview, and documentation study. Triangulation method was also done by the researchers, that is the information extracted by using certain method which is triangulated with other method. For example, the data obtained by interviews was triangulated with observation techniques, interviews were triangulated with document studies. In this case the findings through interview were triangulated with school documentation or any observation results of school activities. Triangulation of resources conducted by researchers include principals with teachers, principals with representatives, with students and other informants.

Finding and Discussion

The transformation of school cultural values on curriculum and learning management

Management of curriculum and learning is one of the substance of education management to achieve maximum learning outcomes of learners. Therefore the regional government especially in the education unit has the authority to seek the development of competency standards of learners, but the development is still guided by established national standards that is by the central government as in the National Education System Act of 2003 article 1 verse 19 explains that the curriculum is a set of plans that contains the objectives, content, subject matter and procedures used as guidelines in the implementation of learning activities to achieve the goals set [13].

Based on the aforementioned explanation, the curriculum used in MAN Insan Cendekia Gorontalo (MAN ICG) is a form of curriculum development which is nationally referred by all Madrasah Aliah under the Ministry of Religious Affairs of Indonesian Republic. The form of development is based on the vision and mission of MAN IC Gorontalo, suited with the needs of the development of students’ learning. Therefore, there is a change or modification, reduction and diversion of hours of student learning found in the structure of the curriculum. The changes of curriculum structure are expected to provide new nuance in the learning process and support the process of the formation of character in students as well as in charge of the mission vision of madrassa that is creating a generation that is noble, having rahman lil 'Alamin Islamic insight, having a national paradigm and locally and globally superior". 

The curriculum load in MAN IC in Gorontalo is a combination of the national curriculum of religious ministry and a curriculum that is modified by the madrasas themselves. The combination is intended to facilitate the madrassa in implementing or transforming the cultural values of character formation, both in the implementation of intra curricular activity and in the teaching and learning activities in the classroom, cocurricular activities or extracurricular activities.

The program of blend of curriculum conducted by MAN IC Gorontalo is in line with the concept of research results proposed by M.A. Lamport and K.L. Cobb [5] in the United States that a structured program utilizing all theoretical approaches will be an approach that enhances character education, more specifically on the multi- Combining theoretical approaches would be more effective than one-theoretical approaches such as cognitive learning alone.

In general the structure of the curriculum in MAN Insan Cendekia for general subjects refers to the 2013 curriculum of the high school level from the Ministry of Education and the culture while Islam subjects as typical characteristics of madrasah are based curriculum of madrassas established by the ministry of religion, including the Koran Hadith, creed morals, Jurisprudence and Islamic cultural history. The local content is Tahfidz. Those subjects contain a material which is directly used to establish morality, which in addition it is also internalized into other. In turns, those values will be expressed in the life behavior both at the school and dormitory life.

The content and development of this curriculum is outlined in a document on the manual of madrasah guidance that the MAN ICG runs the national curriculum as determined by the government which is furtherly modified by the madrasah in terms of its vision, mission and objectives of the madrasah. The modification of curriculum, occurs in in the form of strengthening the basic concept of science and technology mastery (basic knowledge of science and technology) and the typical curriculum of dormitory field. 

The management of curriculum with the value of cultural value is of course very important [2]. Regardless of sizes, types or origins, curriculum is considered the heart and soul of all educational institutions. Lamentably, it is a widely accepted notion in academia that it is disintegrated in that at least as well as isolated considerations that are given to the various critical elements such as institutional leadership, social trends, industry factors and the role of the government. 

Learning is done inspiratively, fun, interactive, challenging, motivating and giving space for creativity initiative and independence of children according to their potential, talent interest and their need to grow optimally. The curriculum development emphasizes the experience of learners through observation, questioning, reasoning, and observation based learning, supported by the active participation of parents, the mass media and the environment.

The curriculum which is currently used in MAN ICG on any subjects has already listed the load values underlying the formation of character. The values are listed in the core competencies of each subject. The core competencies are listed in the lesson plan designed by the teacher in charge of teaching the subjects. The expected goal is that after studying all the material, students are expected to have an understanding and ability to implement these values in their daily life. The values that are expected to be elaborated in the core competency is the religious values as listed in the core competency 1 (KI 1), the value of social attitudes such as honest, discipline, responsible, caring, polite, friendly environment, cooperative, peace-loving, responsive and proactive on core competency 2 (KI 2), the value of knowledge in core competency 3 (KI3), and there is value independence on Core Competency 4 (KI4). As stated by P. Suparno [11], one of the approaches used in character education curriculum is to integrate the values in each subject and therefore it becomes the responsibility of all teachers. 

Internalizing cultural values of the school in teaching and learning has become a culture in MAN IC Gorontalo. Before starting the existing teaching and learning, there are activities that are familiar to students of madrasah. The program of moral formation in MAN IC Gorontalo is well programmed. Before entering school hours, there is a habit of Tahfidz Quran from 06.30 to 07.00. This activity is done regularly every morning before getting subjects except Monday because there is a flag ceremony. Tahfidz is done to facilitate the memorization of Koran by students, carried out repeatedly and continuously because something that is done on a regular basis will facilitate memorization and making a habit that shape the culture.

Similarly, reading a prayer before the course starts and pray once completed is applied to all subjects which aims at making it not only as a habit but it is also expected that the students and teachers of subjects still leaned all his efforts to God so that the knowledge they get will be useful. Thus the transformation of religious values in the learning activities always run well and it becomes a culture that is no longer becomes a compulsion in MAN ICG.

Based on the findings of the research, which is similar to D.L. Prestwich [10], the curriculum and character education programs in schools are designed effectively according to individual needs, with core principles such as honesty, respect, self-discipline and perseverance. Teachers have a great responsibility in the development of effective character education curriculum. In addition, parents and community’s involvement is also an important component in the success of the character education program

The transformation of school culture values on student management to achieve character education

Various types of activities are designed and implemented in the students’ life of MAN Insan cendekia Gorontalo to foster basic values as implied in the vision and mission of the madrasas. The main value is built based on the vision of madrassa that is to create a generation that is noble, having rahman lil 'Alamin Islamic insight, having a national paradigm, and locally and globally superior. The vision is then translated into various forms of student activities in all aspects of life in MAN ICG including those living in a dorm or those participating in extracurricular activities. All these have been programmed by the School Organization to realize the establishment of character education

T. Lickona [6] states that character education is a programmed process to help a person understand, observe, and perform basic ethical values in his or her life. As it can be argued, there is a similarity of concept between Lickona’s opinion and coaching activity that has been built in MAN Insan Cendekia Gorontalo that character education training starts from understanding of values that have been socialized through the vision of school mission and then implemented through various school programs to help Equip ethical values to learners.

Fostering the development of students in MAN IC is one of the particular concerns. It ranges from admissions, guidance during the course of study until the students graduate. The criterion for admission of students in MAN IC is based on the consideration of students’ academic achievement in the previous school. In addition, it also considers students’ other capabilities associated with religious values. It is on the basis that talent and student achievement should be rewarded, and MAN ICG has the authority to accommodate and develop that ability.

New students who have been accepted in MAN ICG will be identified, mapped and developed on their basic capabilities through matriculation program. Matriculation is given to new students four times in a week aiming to explore the potential of new students associated with his potency that is previously brought from junior high school. In addition, matriculation activity aims to develop a basic ability of students to specific subjects, introducing facilities and instructional media and learning process. This was done to facilitate the students in addition to undergo a learning process as well as the initial capital in coaching morals in MAN ICG.

Activities undertaken at MAN IC Gorontalo in an effort to explore and motivate new learners, are in line with that expressed by S. Kosir [4] in his research that some schools and colleges are very focused in the formation of new student characters so they form programs that can motivate and equip students with examples and methods on how to encourage students to learn, equipping skills and activities at seminars and workshops. Even those activities become part of the course and become a compulsory curriculum for each new learner to follow.

Outside the intracurricular hours, the ICG MAN has designed a schedule of activities that will guide the students in carrying out its activities for the campus MAN Insan Cendikia Gorontalo. Based on the schedule of these activities, it can be interpreted that the IC Gorontalo MAN has designed the best possible time, no time wasted, all filled with activities that are beneficial for the development of personality of students. Cargo payload activities material loaded with Islam as ideology held in Madrasah. Preparation of the agenda of the students is based on the student’s personality development needs especially in the students’ character formation.

The establishment of students’ agenda apart from intracurricular hours aims at having a good take advantage of every moment by adjusting the activity of worship of Muslims. Student agenda is expected to be students’ daily patron to form cultural processes with Islamic basic values that have been assigned along the religious values, independence, discipline, commitment, simplicity and honesty. The process of embedding this value of course begins with socialization. The socialization of madrasah cultural values is an important thing to be done so that students have the same understanding about Islamic value that will be developed and how the process of its implementation. The socialization process is carried out by madrasah during the learning process in the classroom or in some official events such as the ceremony as well and in the dorm life.

Character development activities especially the effort of embedding the values of Islam are the main focus on MAN ICG. As stated by the teacher, “the most fundamental is to familiarize our children to always pray five times a day, which means that they do not only pray, but it should be understood as their obligations which can be done in congregation, as we expect this habituation can be embedded, carried on, so once they hear the azan they will directly go to the mosque to pray, because if they are used to praying together, they would be able to maintain their faith”. This indicates that MAN Insan Cendekia Gorontalo highly emphasizes the cultivation of religious values in students, whether it’s devotional worship or mandatory sunnah. Habituation is always embedded in various aspects, including dorm life, learning activity and outside the campus or blend in with the surrounding community to pass on the knowledge they have.

The activity transforming Islamic values is taking place continuously in MAN ICG. At certain moments such as the Holy month of Ramadan, the intensity of worship is increased such as Al-Quran recitation after doing the five daily prayers and there is also Duha prayer and afternoon study before 5 pm while waiting for the time to break the fast. In addition, students also do competitions on cleanliness and beauty of the rooms, organize and coordinate the donation and charity to help the poor.

Character education conducted at MAN IC Gorontalo is a process of attitude and behavior formation in learners based on cultural values of school in line with the four characteristic of character education formulated by a founder of character education from Germany named Foerster (cited by D.A. Koesoema [3]) that: A) Character education emphasizes every action based on normative values. Learners respect and refer to the norm. B) The existence of coherence that foster self-confidence and courage in the students. C) The existence of autonomy, i.e. students understand and implement the rules from the outside to be the values for his personality. C) Firmness and loyalty. Persistence is the endurance of the students to exercise good deeds and loyalty is the basis of respect for the chosen commitment.

The management of teachers and education personnel in creating character education

The effort of characters strengthening on educators and education personnel at MAN Insan Cendekia Gorontalo is given serious attention both from the Office of the ministry of religion and from the internal party if this Islamic school (Madrasah). This strengthening effort and development has been established since the early beginning of the recruitment of human resources. MAN Insan cendekia has a strong standard on the formation of character values that serve as a condition for acceptance of educators and education personnel. The standard of teachers and education personnel to be as teachers and education personnel are as follows; moslem, high morality, physically and mentally healthy, have a high commitment, capable of reading the Quran fluently, skilled at ICT (information and communication technology) and not being litigants in court.

In order to increase the competence of human resources for carrying out its mission, MAN IC refers to the “five basic values of a culture of employee” from the ministry of religion of Gorontalo Territory namely integrity, professionalism, innovation, responsibility and exemplary. They are the basis for development and training for educators and education personnel in MAN IC Gorontalo. The findings of this study are similar to those of D.L. Prestwich [10], which also asserted that teachers have a great responsibility to present an effective character education curriculum, requiring formal training.

The institution itself also does some activity to renew or improve the knowledge of teachers, usually in the form of training programs, workshops or meetings between teachers. The activities are parts of madrasah program to constantly update and improve their knowledge and competence for education personnel in MAN Insan cendekia Gorontalo. Madrasah routinely does activities to expand knowledge development for educators. Teacher knowledge development activities involve all teachers and dormitory coaches of MAN Insan cendikia Gorontalo which was held in internally in MAN Insan Cendekia Gorontalo by inviting speakers outside, either education experts or from Ministry of Religion of Gorontalo.

In addition to training activities, there are other activities which are culturally embedded and they are also associated with the development of character in MAN Insan Cendekia Gorontalo namely regular studies or regular discussion. As revealed by the head of Madrasah, it is said that the school always do Friday morning discussion in which teachers become the presenter one after another. However, during Ramadan the Friday discussion is off for a while and it is replaced by safari Ramadan. Friday discussion is a study that is routinely held every week and it has already been culturally embedded in MAN IC Gorontalo long time ago. This study is considered as a form of spiritual refreshment for teachers and employees.

Other regular activity that has been culturally embedded which builds character values in MAN IC Gorontalo is in the form of family gathering. Such activity like the family gathering is a forum to strengthen the friendship and kinship for residents of MAN IC especially teachers, employees and their families. In these activities, madrasah citizens are always enlightened for every activity because every activity they do is always accompanied by spiritual spray or in the form of material that can evoke the spirit of worship to perform its role as educators and role models for families and students.

Teacher’s capacity building activities, both in the form of formal training and non-formal activities such as religious activities and family activities, are important to be encouraged as A.J. Milson and L.M. Mehlig [9] founding his research report that however, teachers attending training at affiliated institutions as in religious institutions will have the ability and more confidence in instilling the values of character, while teachers who rarely attend training, usually have lack of confidence in dealing with children who have character problems.

Teachers and employees at MAN IC Gorontalo are exemplary in character formation. Therefore, the teacher should be a strong figure which gives positive effect on learners, both in the context of learning in the classroom and in life outside the classroom. In the learning process mainly on the curriculum in 2013, the teacher is an important figure who accompanies students to become facilitators for students. If this pattern can be implemented well by the teachers, then there are some values that can shape the character of habituation if it is implemented on an ongoing basis in the learning process. The values of habituation are curiosity, responsibility, discipline and confidence.

Besides becoming a figure in the classroom, a teacher plays a role as a foster parent. The formation of formators custody or in this case a foster parent is a pattern of development adopting family approach. Foster parent fosters 10 to 11 students per person, but it depends also on the teachers’ workload. Foster parent is a surrogate parent for the student MAN IC Gorontalo. Just as parents at home, the foster parent has a big role in the formation and development of children, both in their academic development and mental development. All forms of the problems faced by the students at the school become part of the sole responsibility of the foster parents.

The explanation of the research findings is related to the character building procedure in MAN IC Gorontalo. This is in line with the opinion of D.A. Koesoema [3], who formulated the character education methodology that to build character education on the students, the thing that must be done by a teacher is to give understanding and convince the child Educated about positive values, and more importantly, teachers should be good examples and good at enforcing those values.

The same thing related to teacher is exemplified by D.L. Prestwich [10] stating that vteachers can teach good and bad characters, for example in action, not only through instructional activities, but teachers can teach character and morality through behavior in daily life. This is done by teachers at MAN IC Gorontalo by positioning themselves as parents who are the role models for learners.


Character education is an educational process that involves all components in the development of learners to shape the personality through understanding, realizing and experiencing their own basic values, namely the ideal values of religion, and moral values. To form characteristic human beings, it must be followed by the activity of seeking recognition, to identify good character, and form a sense of love, and habituation in the form of conducting good morals so that it is not onlythe behavior but it also becomes an inherent character.

The best way to transform the character education in schools is through a holistic approach that integrates character development into every aspect of school life. Vision and mission of the school is the main element that will ensure the sustainability of character education. Vision and mission of the school will give birth to cultural values which then will be elaborated into substance of school management including curriculum and instructional management, student management and management of educators and education personnel.

The transformation of cultural values in the school curriculum and learning management of the embodiment of character education is arranged in the form of integrated curriculum which is mutually continuous with one another, both academic and non-academic curriculum. Curriculum payloads reflect the cultural values of the school which are further transformed in the management and development of student, just as religious values, social values, the values of honesty, simplicity, discipline and self-reliance. These values are then transformed into a student coaching program through various well-scheduled student activities through the supervision of educators and education personnel. Teachers as educators have a high moral burden as an example in giving examples of good actions and behavior in realizing character education in school, so that later learners will be a generation that has noble character to build the nation and state



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Data about the authors:

Arifin – Master of Education, Lecturer of Education Faculty, State University of Malang (Malang, Indonesia).

Bafadal Ibrahim – Doctor of Education, Professor of Education Faculty, State University of Malang (Malang, Indonesia).

Imron Ali – Doctor of Education, Professor, Head of Education Management Department of Graduate School Faculty, State University of Malang (Malang, Indonesia)

Sonhadji Ahmad – PhD in Education, Professor of Education Faculty, State University of Malang (Malang, Indonesia).

Сведения об авторах:

Арифин – магистр педагогики, преподаватель педагогического факультета Государственного университета Маланга (Маланг, Индонезия).

Бафадал Ибрагим – доктор педагогических наук, профессор педагогического факультета Государственного университета Маланга (Маланг, Индонезия).

Имрон Али – доктор педагогических наук, профессор, заведующий кафедрой управления образования факультета высшей школы Государственного университета Маланга (Маланг, Индонезия).

Сонхаджи Ахмад – доктор философии по педагогике (PhD), профессор педагогического факультета Государственного университета Маланга (Маланг, Индонезия).