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Posted on November 23, 2012 4:07 am
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Yasar Bodur
Yasar Bodur
Reps: 614
Don’t Hold Hands
Ade and Elsa are two 7th grade girls from Indonesia who joined our school couple months ago. I teach them Physical Science. They have well-developed English skills. Although they have an accent, they can communicate with teachers and fellow students. I am very sensitive to the needs of newly-arrived immigrant students, so I paid close attention when I heard rumors from other students about them. Students started spreading that Ade and Elsa were in a lesbian relationship. Apparently Ade and Elsa heard about the rumors; they came to me in tears. I asked them to tell me what was going on. What I found out was very interesting. Ade and Elsa have known each other since they were small children and they have always been best friends. Their families decided to move to the US together. Their fathers applied for jobs in the same company. They both received offers and moved together. Ade and Elsa were excited about going to the same school in US and continuing their friendship. In Indonesia, same-gender friends holding hands is very common and indicates friendship. When children at our school saw Ade and Elsa holding hands they thought that Ade and Elsa were in a lesbian relationship. I have to do something about this. I see two options before me: I will explain to the children in my classes that friends holding hands in some cultures is completely normal, or I will tell Ade and Elsa to not hold hands to avoid these rumors. The second option seems culturally insensitive, but if Ade and Elsa continue holding hands, rumors will continue even if I explain to my students the cultural side of their friendship. What should I do? If you have an original solution to this issue, please advice.
 
     
     
 
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Solution 1
Posted November 27, 2012 10:44 am

Adam Vandenhouten
Adam Vandenhouten
Reps: 97
This is such a sensitive subject and I can see how you are having trouble finding the right thing to say. Maybe there is a way to do a group lesson where the students have to hold hands, just touch hands, or something along those lines. Then, you may be able to tie into the lesson the fact that just because their hands are touching does not mean that the students like each other. Ask the students how they would feel if someone spread a rumor that they liked each other just because they were seen holding hands during the lesson. There are many other things that teenagers do that could be seen as liking each other such as hitting in a flirting way, hugging, etc. Ask if these things automatically mean the students are in a relationship. I have seen girls hug all the time who are just friends but that does not mean they are "together". Also, somehow tying in information about other cultural practices into your already prepared lessons could be beneficial as well.
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Comments posted for this solution

Kimberly Spicer
Kimberly Spicer
Reps: 71
This is definitely a different type of solution that many would not think of on the fly. I like the idea of creating a game or lesson where the students hold hands. This shows that it's really not that scary to hold someone's hand when you aren't in a relationship with him/her. I would also have a few things that we do in our culture that seems uncomfortable in other cultures.
  Posted on: May 23, 2013 11:24 am

Kayla Mullins
Kayla Mullins
Reps: 89
I did not think about having the students hold hands and learn about the process of communicating with someone through social interactions. During this activity you can explain that various cultures interact in various ways. This can be through touch, eye contact, movements etc. It does not have to be through vocal communication. It would also help to incorporate a lesson where the students research cultures and identify different ways of communication.
-Kayla Mullins
  Posted on: September 1, 2014 10:10 pm

Ashley Noe
Ashley Noe
Reps: 99
That is a great solution.
  Posted on: March 1, 2015 3:19 am

emuZuW
emuZuW
Reps: 69
I really like this idea of using the gestures in a class lesson. This made me think of other ideas and ways of using your suggestion which will help me come up with a solution to piggyback off of what you said. :)
  Posted on: May 19, 2015 9:07 pm

Sarah Davis
Sarah Davis
Reps: 69
I like the idea of using gestures in a lesson to explain different cultures. This provides a visual for all students, as well as, social interactions among students. This would allow for other students to understand the differences among cultures and why it is important to be sensitive to them.
  Posted on: May 20, 2015 2:08 am

deTusa
deTusa
Reps: 74
I think it's a good idea to have them do an activity where they have to hold hands and then explain to them that just because they are holding hands doesn't mean they "like" each other. Students can be very cruel and trying to fix this problem without offending the two girls is the best way to handle the situation.
  Posted on: May 21, 2015 2:27 pm

Chris Clark
Chris Clark
Reps: 70
You could even explore other cultures' ways of showing romantic affection and draw parallels between those and what "just friends" do in America. I think that could be a very interesting way to have students explore not only other cultures, but develop a deeper understanding of their own. Many people (even adults) don't really have an accurate idea of what their culture is. They view their culture as being the "right" or "main" one in the world, and all others as being "wrong" or, at the very least, somehow inferior to theirs. Therefore, I think teaching students how to view their own culture from a different perspective could be a powerful tool.
  Posted on: May 21, 2015 7:01 pm

HyZery
HyZery
Reps: 70
I also think that a lesson incorporating gestures would be an appropriate solution. Perhaps students would be more understanding if they had this type of concrete example of the meaning of physical interactions. It would also show the girls American and other cultural gestures that might be perceived as inappropriate in their culture are accepted here.
  Posted on: May 24, 2015 11:00 am

Rebecca Ritch
Rebecca Ritch
Reps: 70
I think it is a great activity to have the students hold hands and explain how they feel and what holding hands means to them. I think having a conversation about communication and how spreading rumors can really hurt others. Maybe the students could play a game of telephone, where one rumor is spread, and the students could see how that one rumor turns into a slightly different rumor. Then as a class they could discuss how spreading rumors can change, how they can be hurtful, and how they could be mistaken for something that isn't true.
  Posted on: May 24, 2015 7:36 pm

Katy Fitzgibbons
Katy Fitzgibbons
Reps: 71
I think having the other students hold each other's hands would be a great anticipatory activity to help facilitate discussion about the issue. Also, I do feel that it is warranted for the teacher to explain to the two immigrant students why so many of the other students are taking their actions a certain way. This issue invites discussions about different cultures. I like how it was previously mentioned that the teacher could utilize hugging as a familiar example to illustrate this difference in culture to the students. The teacher could explain how just because two individuals of the same sex engage in hugging, does not mean that everyone assumes that they are homosexual. Moreover, the discussion could invite conversation regarding discrimination towards individuals who identify themselves as homosexual.
  Posted on: May 24, 2015 9:58 pm

Brad McMahon
Brad McMahon
Reps: 71
I really like the comparison you made with hugging. Doesn't everyone hug each other now? Years ago, it may have been strange to see two unrelated men hug in public, but most don't think anything of it now. I think that is interesting to point out to students and could be incorporated into a lesson about culture and how culture changes over time.
  Posted on: May 26, 2015 2:39 am

Kateline Vaughn
Kateline Vaughn
Reps: 106
I really like this solution, especially incorporating hugging. This allows students to break stereotypes of holding hands and compare it to something else. It would also be beneficial to tie the lesson into other cultures around the world.
  Posted on: September 2, 2015 5:22 pm

PumuMu
PumuMu
Reps: 203
I really like this solutions and think I maybe use it if i come across this problem.
  Posted on: October 13, 2015 6:22 pm

nydyra
nydyra
Reps: 202
Teaching about cultures is a great and safe way to open up the minds of students.
  Posted on: October 17, 2015 7:12 am

aNaMeJ
aNaMeJ
Reps: 201
Great idea!
  Posted on: October 3, 2017 10:35 pm

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Solution 2
Posted February 11, 2013 1:11 pm

Brittany Cantwell
Brittany Cantwell
Reps: 27
For this situation, I would say you should incorporate both options. Tell the two girls why people are saying what they are saying, but also explain to them that in their culture it is normal so if they still choose to do so that is okay. Also I would recommend explaining to the class that in other cultures it is normal, however, no one should be spreading rumors about the two girls. You could incorporate this into a learning experience, and pull other types of 'different' traditions and teach them to the class. It might also be fun to tell them what we do in America, that other countries would laugh at or judge.
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Comments posted for this solution

yheraZ
yheraZ
Reps: 68
I agree with you. I thought this would be a great opportunity to work in a lesson about how other cultures express friendships, it may even be helpful to show a few videos on this and have students complete an assignment about where they did a little research and made a presentation on a culture besides their own and how they expressed friendship. I also like the suggestion about telling the students about some of our own traditions and how other cultures disapprove of them in different ways.
  Posted on: May 21, 2013 6:54 pm

Monique Cook
Monique Cook
Reps: 70
Showing the students how other countries view us, and some of the things we do would be a great wake up call. I visited China for a month and the people asked many question about our fashion, hair, school systems, and everything imaginable. Hearing people question your culture really makes you think about yourself and the way you do things and wonder is there a right or wrong?
  Posted on: May 25, 2013 8:46 pm

Elizabeth Nicole Payne
Elizabeth Nicole Payne
Reps: 22
I agree that a learning opportunity is here. Also, your suggestion of telling students things that we do that other countries may judge or laugh at is a great idea!

Great post!
  Posted on: June 28, 2013 1:00 pm

upyNuX
upyNuX
Reps: 100
I think it is a great idea to talk with the class about the things we do in America that other cultures would look down upon. Help students to put themselves in the girls' shoes.
  Posted on: August 27, 2013 10:55 pm

Alicia Garcia
Alicia Garcia
Reps: 69
I agree. This solution was spot on. I would also include in my explanation to my students that in Arabic countries it is also common for adult men who are friends to hold hands.
  Posted on: June 8, 2014 7:26 pm

Ashley Noe
Ashley Noe
Reps: 99
That is what I would do as well.
  Posted on: March 1, 2015 8:16 pm

vabehe
vabehe
Reps: 69
I like the idea of having students think about things we do as Americans that are normal to us that seem strange and foreign to people in other parts of the world. I live in Africa for a year and when a woman came up to hold my hand, initially it made me really uncomfortable, but then when I realized it was a sign of trust and friendship, I welcomed it and even initiated it sometimes. I think having them do exercises to prove that holding hands, hugging or other forms of physical contact does not mean you are gay would be beneficial.
  Posted on: May 20, 2015 1:01 am

deTusa
deTusa
Reps: 74
I too think you should address both sides of the situation. Both groups of students need to know why the picking and picking on is occurring. They both need to be educated as to why picking on others is not the solution and understand why the girls are holding hands and what it means to them.
  Posted on: May 21, 2015 2:29 pm

Chris Clark
Chris Clark
Reps: 70
I like your solution quite a bit. I didn't really consider the confusion the girls might experience, and the necessity to explain that to them. The girls are new to the American culture, and they are unfamiliar with what that culture associates with romantic feeling. Therefore, strictly from an education standpoint, it makes sense to explain it to them, without any kind of judgement being attached to it.
  Posted on: May 21, 2015 8:48 pm

Amanda Morris
Amanda Morris
Reps: 70
I like the idea of incorporating it into a lesson. I think it would be a great learning opportunity to teach students different cultures and their belief. I think the students would enjoy comparing and contrasting the different cultural beliefs. This would also explain to the girls why other assumed they were lesbians.
  Posted on: May 21, 2015 10:08 pm

Katy Fitzgibbons
Katy Fitzgibbons
Reps: 71
I thought this solution had several positive features to it. First, the teachers would be facilitating discussion and critical thinking over different cultures. These discussions could invite how different cultures express such common ideas a friendship and respect. Moreover, I think that these discussions should incorporate conversation regarding why there is so much discrimination against homosexuality. Whether the students disagree with it or not does not give them a reason to possibly ridicule individuals who may identify themselves as homosexual.
  Posted on: May 24, 2015 10:02 pm

Brad McMahon
Brad McMahon
Reps: 71
I completely agree with your suggestion. I think it is equally important to educate the two girls on US culture as it is to educate the other students on different world cultures. I think not explaining to the girls why the other students were reacting the way they were would just allow them to be blindsided by this reaction again in the future. I think that not educating the rest of the students of different cultural interpretations of actions would be doing the rest of the students a disservice as well.
  Posted on: May 26, 2015 2:41 am

aQanaD
aQanaD
Reps: 67
Considering that this is a cultural issues class, I believe your solution is a good one. In this case, all parties are unsure of each other's culture. Having a lesson on the various types of gestures from cultures is effective. Once given the information as to WHY the rumors started, as well as having the other students who started the rumors understand why the girls were holding hands, students can make their choice from there.
Many schools in our county band holding hand all together. That could always be an option.
  Posted on: May 27, 2015 5:27 pm

ezajaV
ezajaV
Reps: 102
I really like the idea of incorporating this into a lesson about different cultures. The idea of telling the students that other countries laugh or judge us for some of the things we do is a great idea.
  Posted on: August 31, 2015 12:05 pm

PumuMu
PumuMu
Reps: 203
I really like putting the culture into the lesson. Great idea
  Posted on: October 13, 2015 6:23 pm

ezyHes
ezyHes
Reps: 101
I really like the idea of teaching BOTH cultures, the Americans and the two girls, the reasons why or why not holding hands is good/bad.
  Posted on: March 5, 2016 6:43 pm

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Solution 3
Posted May 21, 2014 9:32 pm

Rachel Walker
Rachel Walker
Reps: 60
I would first meet with the girls and explain how the action of them holding hands is being misconstrued because of the current American culture they are in. I wouldn't tell them not to hold hands anymore because I believe that is a decision that they should make on their own. I would also recommend something similar to what the other solutions have said about incorporating information about displays of friendship in other countries or cultures. However instead of having it as a teacher-centered lesson I would do it as a student project. Students could be put into pairs or trios and they would be given a country or culture. Then the student groups would be required to research and present to the class how friendship is viewed, valued, and practiced in their assigned country or culture. I think this would help to build awareness about how something simple like friendship its expression can vary from country to country or culture to culture.
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Comments posted for this solution

HyraLe
HyraLe
Reps: 73
I also stated that there should be some information given on what other cultures do as well. I really like the idea of it being student centered. If the girls are not too shy I thought it would be a great idea to share something else their culture does with the students. This also could work both ways because a student from America could also share something their culture does and is accepted.
  Posted on: October 27, 2014 3:18 am

vabehe
vabehe
Reps: 69
I love the idea of having it be student centered. If the girls themselves could somehow be involved and allow the other students to get to know them (and their culture) I believe some of the rumors would stop and the students would be more sensitive of the girls cultural differences.
  Posted on: May 20, 2015 1:02 am

yBySuL
yBySuL
Reps: 70
I like the suggestion of initiating a group project among the students to research other cultures' views and practices of friendship. It would be a huge learning opportunity and allowing a team effort to be demonstrated. If the girls continue to hold hands it will be by their choice. The group project will show the students that they should not judge anyone.
  Posted on: May 24, 2015 10:09 pm

PumuMu
PumuMu
Reps: 203
Great idea
  Posted on: October 13, 2015 6:23 pm

uWuXyj
uWuXyj
Reps: 232
I really like how this solution is respectful towards the girls, so they know they are not doing anything wrong, and I like that the students can see how friendship works in different cultures. This is a strong project to see things from a different point of view and accept people who do not act exactly like them.
  Posted on: February 25, 2017 11:28 pm

Gapasa
Gapasa
Reps: 204
I think this is a great solution!
  Posted on: March 5, 2017 5:12 pm

Gapasa
Gapasa
Reps: 204
I think this is a great solution!
  Posted on: March 5, 2017 5:13 pm

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Solution 4
Posted December 1, 2012 1:31 pm

Sha'keela McClendon
Sha'keela McClendon
Reps: 141
Instead of doing both options I would just do the first option. Telling 7th graders to stop holding hands is a little much. I would give a lesson on how different cultures show their affection of friendship. Even American girls hold hands or lock arms, that doesn't mean that these females are "together". Ask the students in the class how they show their friendship with their best friends? There are all different types of affection and Ade and Elsa just show their love for one another by holding hands.
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Comments posted for this solution

Colleen Keller
Colleen Keller
Reps: 92
I like that you did not want for the girls to stop being who they are. I also thought the solutions of bringing it back to the student who were saying unkind things was a fabulous idea. It always makes people second guess themselves if the shoe was on the other foot, and as teachers it is very important for us to do this on a regular basis in order to teach them empathy.
  Posted on: May 22, 2013 9:38 pm

yVyLyG
yVyLyG
Reps: 69
I also agree that telling the girls to stop holding hands is inappropriate. They obviously understand that their action is what is causing the rumors, and if they continue to do so they are making the decision for themselves. Even if it would temporally stop the rumors, it would not remedy that lack of understanding being demonstrated by the other students. Instead, it would stifle an innocent act of friendship and encourage halting behaviors that may indicate homosexuality (which would then put a negative connotation on that as well). Education would be the best appropriate solution.
  Posted on: May 26, 2013 10:19 pm

yJaGus
yJaGus
Reps: 106
That is a great way to look at it. Pointing out how you express your friendship will bring into consideration that we all have different things that make us comfortable and are apart of our culture. Comparing different cultures and how they express their love and friendship is a great learning opportunity and may help someone to think before they act.
  Posted on: September 7, 2013 12:55 pm

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Solution 5
Posted May 23, 2013 6:12 pm

vezaMu
vezaMu
Reps: 85
I would consult with the counselor and probably sit down with the girls and the counselor to talk with them about cultural assumptions in the United States. I would make sure that the girls did not feel that they had done anything wrong but still make them aware of some cultural differences of affection so that they are informed. I think addressing the topic to the entire class could cause embarrassment for the girls; however, I would speak with any students that I heard making comments and alert other teachers and the administration of the issue so that the rumors can be put to a stop.
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Comments posted for this solution

qyzeha
qyzeha
Reps: 105
I agree that involving the counselor is a great idea. The counselor and the teacher can explain to the girls that this behavior is not something the other students are used to. I also completely agree that the girls need to be reassured that they have not done anything wrong, and that it is not right that the other students are making fun of them.
  Posted on: June 4, 2013 4:03 pm

Ashley Smith
Ashley Smith
Reps: 107
I think involving the school guidance counselor is a great idea! Every student would be able to discuss their own actions and feelings in a safe environment. I think the counselor would be presented with a great opportunity to discuss characters traits, such as respect for others and acceptance for different cultures. The students could brainstorm various ways to solve problems from cultural differences. With the presence of school personnel, I think students would be asked to share apologies with the two girls after the discussion concluded.
  Posted on: August 30, 2014 1:15 am

yXeBeX
yXeBeX
Reps: 114
I agree that getting the counselor involved is a great option for this problem. Maybe simply sitting down with the girls and explaining that their holding hands sends out a different message here in the states then what they are used to back home. I think you also need to be careful to not make the issue too big of a deal. Drawing too much attention to this issue could only make matters worse and subject them to more criticism and ridicule from other students.
  Posted on: October 7, 2014 9:19 pm

HyraLe
HyraLe
Reps: 73
I agree with this solution. Talking to a counselor would be the thing to do because this would be in a private setting and the girls could get educated on some things that are "accepted" in this country, while at the same time if they had an questions they could ask the counselor in private. The counselor is also the one to provide comfort and support for them.
  Posted on: October 27, 2014 3:15 am

Kaitlin Stringer
Kaitlin Stringer
Reps: 116
I think it is a great idea to involve a counselor. I also think it would be a great idea to involve a counselor when talking to the girls who started the rumor. The counselor might be able to explain to the girls why these rumors are hurtful and are definitely not acceptable at school.
  Posted on: May 19, 2015 8:31 pm

yBySuL
yBySuL
Reps: 70
Approaching the students who were making the assumptions could be helpful by explaining to them one-to-one about the different cultures and maybe suggest some research on the topic to these students. Also let them know that rumors are wrong to initiate.
  Posted on: May 24, 2015 10:15 pm

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Solution 6
Posted July 1, 2013 2:21 pm

Mallory Kirkland
Mallory Kirkland
Reps: 26
My students and I were watching a documentary, and the men in the culture greeted each other with kisses on the cheek. The kids in the class were appalled that two men would kiss, even if they were just friends or family. So, we did sit down and have a conversation about culture and how people act differently in different countries. We went through how people greet each other around the world and how it is not weird for men to kiss in certain cultures.
In this situation, having a culture day could be interesting for the students. You could explore food, traditions, greetings, language, etc., and the students can see the "norms" of other cultures. I know that this type of material can be tied into content easily, so it would not place the spotlight on the two girls, but the kids would gain a greater understanding into their situation and others for future instances like these.
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Emily Wood
Emily Wood
Reps: 19
I agree with you, Mallory. A "culture day" would be a great way not only Ade and Elsa the opportunity to discuss/explain the norms of their culture but other students could be involved as well. As you stated that this is not closely related to content I feel that this could be tied to a Social Studies standard. This is a wonderful idea!
  Posted on: July 2, 2013 2:49 pm

yZaveh
yZaveh
Reps: 109
The high school I attended had a cultural day where students came together to share aspects of their culture- food, music, dance, etc. It was a great ways for students to learn about one another and how great their differences are!
  Posted on: September 4, 2013 9:03 pm

SaSyXu
SaSyXu
Reps: 105
I really like the idea of "Culture Day." It would be an easy way to have conversations about things that might be uncomfortable to have in a face to face conversation.
  Posted on: September 1, 2014 8:39 pm

uWuXyj
uWuXyj
Reps: 232
I really like how you handled this situation. It was respectful and understanding towards your students and at the end of the day they went home with a valued lesson. You have some great ideas on how to incorporate different cultures into the classroom.
  Posted on: February 25, 2017 11:30 pm

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Solution 7
Posted December 8, 2012 2:21 pm

areli saucedo
areli saucedo
Reps: 119
This is a very delicate subject to speak about. For example, in Spanish Countries is normal to hold hands with your friends and even kiss them on the cheek when you see them. If I were you, I would educate my students about different norms and customs of different cultures. In this lesson, I would not only include Indonesia, but also Spain, Mexico, China, and even the USA. Clearly, there are more benefits in doing this, rather than telling these two girls to stop doing something they have always done.
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Comments posted for this solution

Love Joy
Love Joy
Reps: 78
You are correct because there could be more cultures than just one. Having a cultural diverse discussion could bring about many questions and would help with other questions students may have. I would open the discussion up to questions on other topics and we would research them together to understand and learn together.
  Posted on: May 26, 2013 6:03 pm

Nick Thrower
Nick Thrower
Reps: 67
I worry that educating the classmates alone will not stop the abuse. I think that eventually the two students will stop simply because the mean comments won't stop. We can try and educate our students, but at the same time, it will do very little.
  Posted on: June 13, 2014 3:33 pm

LeHyZa
LeHyZa
Reps: 107
I think educating the students is a necessary thing to do. Certainly some students may not stop their mean comments because those are the type of people they are. However, some students who passed judgement may truly not have known this was a cultural norm in Indonesia. Once students are educated they can decide what to do with their new found knowledge and I think most will acceptance in varying cultural norms.
  Posted on: August 30, 2014 6:58 pm

aHeRaL
aHeRaL
Reps: 112
Certainly it is important to help the American students understand about the culture of the new students Ade and Elsa. However, I believe it is also helpful to discuss appropriate cultural displays of affection to Ade and Elsa. They are new to America and will need help navigating the culture they are now a part of.
  Posted on: August 30, 2014 7:59 pm

Sarah Davis
Sarah Davis
Reps: 69
Educating other students is vital in this situation as a way to understand the traditions in various cultures. I believe that the teacher should also explain to the Ade and Elsa why the other students are beginning rumors about them, not necessarily make them stop if that is comforting/normal in their culture.
  Posted on: May 20, 2015 2:11 am

yzaSeR
yzaSeR
Reps: 68
I like the idea of teaching a lesson about cultures and how they differ across the world. The best way to fight ignorance is with education. If the teacher teaches about how cultures differ, they will hopefully be able to look at their own cultures and self reflect about how their actions could be perceived.
  Posted on: May 20, 2015 1:51 pm

Amanda Morris
Amanda Morris
Reps: 70
I totally agree that there are better ways to fix the problem then just telling the girls to stop holding hands. I believe the best solution is to educate the students on different cultural beliefs. I also think the students would enjoy researching and discussing the differences in different beliefs.
  Posted on: May 21, 2015 10:10 pm

zyWyma
zyWyma
Reps: 70
I really like your point about Spanish culture and how they interact with their friends. I think it is wise to try to educate the students about multiple cultures so that they can see that there are many different ways that people interact around the world. Making the students culturally aware is a much better option than to encourage conformity.
  Posted on: May 25, 2015 1:10 am

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Solution 8
Posted February 10, 2013 11:27 pm

Sara Jernigan
Sara Jernigan
Reps: 78
This is a very sensitive subject to explain to students. Middle school students can be brutal towards one another. I think that doing a lesson on different cultures would be a great way to explain to the other students that this is not abnormal. Make sure to include that in many countries kissing is a sign of friend and not always intimacy. I think if the students are educated on the issue then they will less likely make fun of the two girls for holding hands. However, I would not let the other students know that the reason you are teaching them this lesson is because of the two girls being made fun of because that could make the situation much worse.
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Comments posted for this solution

Brittany Smith
Brittany Smith
Reps: 69
I like that you included other examples of cultural diversity (such as the practice of kissing as a greeting). I definitely think that the teacher should not point out that Ade and Elsa are being bullied, but that he should hold some kind of diversity day where the entire class shares their personal cultural practices. I would also privately counsel the two girls before and help them to understand that U.S. culture sees hand-holding as a romantic gesture. This would help them to understand why they are being teased and would enable them to explain during the diversity day in class what hand-holding means in Indonesia.
  Posted on: May 21, 2013 1:10 am

vezaMu
vezaMu
Reps: 85
I agree. Middle school students can be brutal. A lesson would be great. Students could really benefit. I wonder if some type of interdisciplinary lesson could be done. That way students across the school could be better educated.
  Posted on: May 24, 2013 10:18 am

aTejyh
aTejyh
Reps: 22
I agree that kids can be brutal! But I would explain to the girls that this is a natural reaction to this symbol. I suggested doing an activity to show all the students that they should be ore open-minded to other cultures. This would help them see that different symbols and actions represent different feeling and affection across the world.
  Posted on: June 28, 2013 11:20 am

Amy Fletcher
Amy Fletcher
Reps: 67
You are so right about how mean and brutal middle school students can be. I think that your solution is a great one so that students will understand that we do come from other cultures and we must respect others differences.
  Posted on: May 22, 2014 2:53 am

Megan Teague
Megan Teague
Reps: 55
I like the idea of a lesson on different cultures and their traditions, but I think you would have to be careful to not point out why you are giving the lesson.
  Posted on: May 25, 2014 6:12 am

yBySuL
yBySuL
Reps: 70
I agree students can be awful to one another.The lesson will be beneficial for everyone.
  Posted on: May 24, 2015 10:45 pm

ehyNyn
ehyNyn
Reps: 109
I agree that giving all students a lesson on different cultures would be appropriate. While I would not prevent the two girls from holding hands, I think it would be important for them to understand why students in the United States might think this was "weird" or "inappropriate" because they need to be taught about other cultures, too. To me, this would be a good opportunity to make sure students understand that cultural perspectives are different around the world and give a lesson on practices that might seem "weird" to people of outside cultures.
  Posted on: August 24, 2015 11:47 pm

PumuMu
PumuMu
Reps: 203
I agree with your idea and think its a great one.
  Posted on: October 13, 2015 6:24 pm

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Solution 9
Posted February 17, 2013 8:44 pm

Alisha Williams
Alisha Williams
Reps: 31
Kids can very cruel especially during this age when they are trying their hardest to be liked and fit in with everybody. I think a lot of this has to do with the lack of understanding of Ade and Elsa's backgrounds. I would address the culture differences and the bullying issues at the same time. I would explain to the class that in some cultures, holding hands is a sign of friendship and not anything romantically. This can be a good lesson to do with the students. They will learn about how cultures differ. I would also tell the class that bullying of any kind is not okay. We shouldn't be bullying others just because they are different from us.
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Erin Ashurst
Erin Ashurst
Reps: 73
I agree that most issues like this is from a lack of understanding. I think it is so important to create an effective classroom management plan that creates a safe and respectful environment for students of all backgrounds.
  Posted on: May 22, 2013 8:48 pm

Kyle Chambers
Kyle Chambers
Reps: 68
One of the things that I enjoy most about teaching social studies is the ability to teach about different cultures. Many students do not understand cultures that differ from their own, but it is important to always add a way to build a community in your class that understands different cultures.
  Posted on: May 25, 2013 9:54 pm

Elizabeth Nicole Payne
Elizabeth Nicole Payne
Reps: 22
I agree that the bullying topic should be addressed and students should be explained to that this will not be tolerated. However, incorportating multiple cultures into a lesson will also help each side understand where the other is coming from and that is a great equalizer.

Great post!
  Posted on: June 28, 2013 1:02 pm

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Solution 10
Posted May 23, 2013 7:39 pm

Johnnie Skelton
Johnnie Skelton
Reps: 104
I like the idea of turning the cultural lesson into a class project. Making a comparison of holding hands in Indonesia to gestures that the students are familiar with in the United States (a montage of football players slapping one another on the butt comes to mind) could also be an effective way of helping other students relate to Ade and Elsa.
There are several problems with this scenario, however. First Ade and Elsa are in middle school, and many of their peers have already established which social constructs are acceptable to them and which aren’t, so it is more difficult to help these students develop new ways of looking at social differences than it might be for younger students. Also, a class project would only affect one class, and, presumably, Ade and Elsa rotate between many classes throughout the day. Finally, at the heart of the problem is not that other students think that these girls are lesbians but that they think that there is something wrong with being a lesbian. In order to fully solve Ade and Elsa’s problem, we must first address what is wrong with the way our students view relationships which differ from what they consider normal.
In the short term, a frank discussion with Ade and Elsa about the perceived implications of their actions might be helpful. However, the other students’ response to the girls is only a symptom of the disease. Real social change, at both classroom and regional levels, will require teacher and student collaboration, buy-in, and open-mindedness in order to overcome the way of thinking which has framed Ade and Elsa’s problem.
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vezaMu
vezaMu
Reps: 85
You make excellent points. You are right that the root of the problem is that the students think being a lesbian is a reason to pick on another student. This is definitely a cultural issue at the school. Students are often beginning to realize their sexual orientation during or even before middle school. For example, today at my school's middle school graduation a student reflected on coming out to her middle school teacher. Our school's culture does not find picking on other students for sexual orientation acceptable. Nor do I ever hear, "That's so gay." Which is one of my pet peeves. However, this is sadly not the culture of many schools. And this incident does not only impact Ade and Elsa but also affects gay students at the school who would feel prejudice, harassment, and fear as a result of the harassment that the two girls are experiencing.
  Posted on: May 24, 2013 10:28 am

CI-GSU
CI-GSU
Reps: 39
This is a reason to pick on other students and should not be accepted. This is harrassment and bullying and should be rectified immediately. Culture education is very pertinent in this situation and hopefully would bring understanding.
  Posted on: July 3, 2013 12:10 am

Kateline Vaughn
Kateline Vaughn
Reps: 106
You make an excellent point. The problem is not that the girls are viewed as lesbians. The problem is that people are closed minded and not willing to accept people for who they are. This is something that as adults we need to set a better example for the students in our classes. If we are accepting and open-minded, then are students are going to be more willing to be accepting and open-minded towards their peers.
  Posted on: September 2, 2015 6:02 pm

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Solution 11
Posted May 25, 2013 9:50 pm

Kyle Chambers
Kyle Chambers
Reps: 68
I agree with some of my classmates that there needs to be a combination of both of the solutions. First, I would have a class discussion about how different cultures operate and differ from other cultures like ours. I would even find different areas of our culture that other cultures might find weird. I would also talk with the two girls and explain to them why this problem is occurring. The two young ladies in this scenario might not be aware that holding hands is what's causing the bullying. However, I would not tell the students to stop holding hands as this would be culturally insensitive. Students at this age do not always understand the impact that their words have on others. It is our job as teachers to ensure that every student is provided with a safe environment to learn regardless of the cultural beliefs or background.
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gyjyjy
gyjyjy
Reps: 71
I agree that we do not want to tell the girls to stop holding hands, because that can be culturally insensitive and that could cause them to withdraw more and become even more upset with the matter. I feel that we should explain to the girls that the reason the students were making remarks about them holding hands is because here in there culture it is not common for friends to hold hands like that. I would make sure I provide the girls who were making fun of them for holding hands aware of the fact that different cultures do things differently and we should accept everyone no matter what.
  Posted on: May 26, 2013 4:43 pm

Kris Peebles
Kris Peebles
Reps: 58
This is a great response. I also agree that it is a good idea to inform the girls of the situation. Everyone deserves to know when someone is talking about them--a very common issue in education unfortunately. I enjoyed reading your post.
  Posted on: June 30, 2013 10:29 pm

Jessica Briley
Jessica Briley
Reps: 109
I agree that the girls should not be forced to stop holding hands. They feel comfortable with eachother and they are so lucky to have the other in this new environment. I agree that the teacher should express to the girls why it is such a shock for the other students to see this. The girls may decide themselves that they won't hold hands anymore. Not that they should change, but they might want to do things like Americans do.
  Posted on: August 29, 2013 2:10 pm

Rachel Antis
Rachel Antis
Reps: 205
I agree that a mix of both solutions would be most effective. Incorporating how other cultures treat physical interactions (holding hands, kissing on the cheek to greet one another) can be very eye opening for the students. Ignorance of other cultures practices is what created this problem in the first place. I think that holding hands is their choice and telling them not to would be culturally insensitive.
  Posted on: March 1, 2015 11:08 pm

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Solution 12
Posted November 30, 2012 4:57 pm

Meredith Hein
Meredith Hein
Reps: 139
Instead of deciding between the two options, I would do BOTH. I think it is important for the students from the United States better understand different cultures even if they do not match what goes on in their school. I would also take the girls aside and tell them in a gentle manner, that our culture and age-group can be judgmental when seeing things that don't fit the norms. I would support their friendship and say that what they are doing is not wrong, but that you will try to explain to the class. If that does not help, the girls might try to slowly fade out their hand-holding, or try to realize that it's just a difference of culture and many people are unfortunately wrongly judged on a day-to-day basis.
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Emilee Roberts
Emilee Roberts
Reps: 69
I kind of did both as well. I think that it is important to educate our students about the differences between what is acceptable here and what is acceptable other places in the world. I think that students should be encouraged to ask questions about what they do not know/understand to help cut down on the misunderstandings.
  Posted on: May 22, 2013 1:40 pm

Syjetu
Syjetu
Reps: 70
I agree with both of you. I also thought that it would be beneficial to do both and let the students decide if they wanted to continue holding hands. I think the two girls should know that Americans think that it is “their way or the highway,” so no matter what is said, some still may judge them holding hands. Therefore, it is a cultural lesson for both parties. Then as a teacher, you have done your part in the situation and can let the students decide how to view the situation.
  Posted on: May 23, 2015 10:04 pm

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Solution 13
Posted December 4, 2012 11:53 am

Savanna Hayman
Savanna Hayman
Reps: 104
I think that both options you have are good ones. Telling your students that things are different in the girls' culture is only right, because students will be more understanding if they know that it has nothing to do with being lesbians. I also think that for the two girls, telling them that in this culture, holding hands is more intimate is appropriate. You aren't telling them not go be who they are, only that they are in a different culture now and will have to assimilate somewhat. You're asking both cultures of students to be conscious of the other's culture- I don't feel that is inappropriate at all.
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Jessica Heilman
Jessica Heilman
Reps: 58
I agree. Letting both cultures know is what's best for this situation I believe. Also, leaving the decision to Ade and Elsa as to do what to do in the future would also be a good idea. That way, the ball is in their court. At least they will be aware as to WHY the kids are saying what they are saying.
  Posted on: May 20, 2013 8:47 am

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Solution 14
Posted December 4, 2012 7:32 pm

Jessica DeLaigle
Jessica DeLaigle
Reps: 110
Obviously this girls are very close friends. I think I would try to explain to them that though holding hands in their culture is deemed appropriate that in the United States others may view it as something else. I would NOT make them think they should stop though. I would also introduce friendship in different cultures so the other students in your class could see how some other cultures treat their friends. I would also talk to your students about gossiping and name calling and let them know it's not acceptable.
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Kelly Jackson
Kelly Jackson
Reps: 103
I think you hit all the main issues of this scenario. 1. American students not understanding foreign cultures. 2. Foreign students not understanding American cultures. 3. Bullying. Bullying should not be over-looked in this scenario. I think this should definitely be a topic of conversation as well.
  Posted on: May 25, 2013 3:54 pm

Meredith Bryant
Meredith Bryant
Reps: 106
Just to add to your comment, I think it would be really neat if after the fact (say, introducing the Indonesian culture to your students), have your students actually do some research and get to know other cultures. Show your students that life isn't white or black--it doesn't have to be THEIR culture versus your own. We are all from an array of cultures, so why not enable students to learn about many of them? Doing so might also take the pressure or the social stigma off of these two very young girls.
  Posted on: September 3, 2013 6:12 pm

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Solution 15
Posted December 6, 2012 8:24 pm

Jill Graff
Jill Graff
Reps: 104
I would do both of the things you listed. I would speak to Ade and Elsa personally and tell them about why the kids are saying these things by explaining what it means in our culture. Then I would also have a talk with the students on others cultures to explain why Ade and Elsa are seen holding hand from time to time. Let them share some of their culture with them and let the students see why it is important to them. Also like some others mentioned maybe bring up the bullying issue too because it is really what they are doing, it should be no big deal if they are holding hands, they have that freedom if they want to, just like they have the freedom to hold hands with a boy or whoever.
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Brittany Smith
Brittany Smith
Reps: 69
I really enjoyed your solution. This is indeed bullying, and the teacher should put a stop to it by enlightening the students. I never thought about Ade and Elsa sharing their culture with the rest of the class, but I really think that would be a creative way to share cultural differences among all students. The teacher could possibly have a cultural diversity day so that the two girls are not the only ones addressing this situation, which could be even more embarrassing for them. However, if all the students were to share the cultural practices within their families, Ade and Elsa would not be singled out and the rest of the students would learn about diversity.
  Posted on: May 21, 2013 1:05 am

Stephanie Harmon
Stephanie Harmon
Reps: 84
I do think that it is a good idea to speak to the two girls personally and explain to them why the students are saying the things that they are. That said, I do not think that they should be told to stop holding hands because this expression of friendship is likely a source of comfort for them after uprooting from one country to another. I like the idea of having them share aspects of their culture with the class to enlighten them and I also think that it is important to make sure that the students making the assumptions and spreading the rumors understand that they are being culturally insensitive. I think a discussion about bullying also needs to occur because the spreading of rumors is absolutely inappropriate.
  Posted on: May 25, 2013 4:55 pm

Josh Oglesby
Josh Oglesby
Reps: 69
I also had not considered the option of allowing the girls to present about their culture to their classmates.By giving them the opportunity to provide a voice to the bodies that have been picked on they may can show their classmates that they are human as well and very similar to their peers once all of the cultural layers are peeled back.
  Posted on: May 22, 2014 4:38 pm

Beth Jackson
Beth Jackson
Reps: 71
I agree with this solution. It is important for Ade and Elsa to understand what holding hands means in our culture and what message they are unintentionally sending to their peers. It is also just as important for their peers to understand what holding hands meanings in their culture in order to develop a better understanding of why they are holding hands. Of course, simply explaining the meaning of holding hands will not make the rumors stop, but at least all parties will have gained the understanding of the various meanings and then can make their own choices from then on.
  Posted on: May 24, 2015 6:19 pm

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Solution 16
Posted December 9, 2012 5:09 pm

John Buxton
John Buxton
Reps: 114
Probably, the best solution would be a combination of the two. I would explain to the students that different cultures show friendship in different ways. I would also explain the problem to the girls in a caring way. I wouldn't tell them not to hold hands; I would simply explain to them why the rumors were being started and let them make their own decision about the hand holding.
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VyQaqu
VyQaqu
Reps: 71
I agree with you. It will not be worth anyone's time if the teacher lets them continue to hold hands without letting them know that the handholding is the reason for the rumors. If the girls decide to continue, that is on them, but at least they will have an understanding of why the rumors are going around and can make an informed decision rather than being in the dark.
  Posted on: May 25, 2013 1:54 pm

Heidi Landon
Heidi Landon
Reps: 58
I agree that using a little of both strategies would be very beneficial. Middle school girls do often hug in the hallway and lock arms as they walk together. This could be used to help students identify with what the girls are doing. If we show students the habits of other cultures they would be more likely to understand why these girls are so close. In addition by explaining to the two girls why they are hearing rumors will better understand our culture as well.
  Posted on: May 26, 2013 11:49 pm

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Solution 17
Posted May 23, 2013 8:36 am

Kimberly Spicer
Kimberly Spicer
Reps: 71
I would do both. I would share a video on Indonesian culture that clearly shows and explains that friends hold hands. I would also explain to the girls that in our culture it is not of the norm for two women friends to hold hands often, if at all. I would also explain that there is nothing wrong with what they are doing and they should continue if it makes them happy. I would remind them that 7th grade students are usually very insecure and very judgmental, so the students are really teasing them because it makes them uncomfortable. However, I would not advise them to stop holding hands if it is something that makes them happy. The other students will get used to it and at some point it will not bother them.
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yVyLyG
yVyLyG
Reps: 69
Excellent point, 7th grade students often still lack the maturity to be culturally respectful, and explaining this to the girls may help soften their dismay. In even a year or so, the understanding of the students will increase (one would hope) with age.
  Posted on: May 26, 2013 10:12 pm

yJaGus
yJaGus
Reps: 106
This is an excellent way to look at it. Holding hands to them could be a comforting way to help each other adjust to the new culture and if it is explained to them that holding hands in America represents something besides friendship, then once they get comfortable with where they are they may stop.
  Posted on: September 7, 2013 12:53 pm

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Solution 18
Posted May 25, 2013 1:49 pm

VyQaqu
VyQaqu
Reps: 71
I believe that you are possibly setting up the two students (and their parents) if you do not make them aware that where they live presently, two female students holding hands has a different meaning than where they came from. I do not think that this means you necessarily tell them to stop, but you do make them aware that this is the behavior that is causing the students to make those false accusations. I believe that this a time where students can learn about student differences through a project on their culture. Their Social Studies teacher (as a science teacher, I would collaborate with the Social Studies teacher about this because it would be more relevant in their classroom and it would seem more logical to be in this sort of class) could implement a project in which students are to present 5 things that are special or unique to their culture. This would be a great time to get Ade or Elsa to place in their project that girls holding hands in their culture means something totally different where they are from rather than where they currently live. I believe that through this project, there will be other things that the other students will come up with that could be seen as unique or weird that the teacher could also discuss with the class so that the students could see that they are all not the same and that they need to learn to understand where someone comes from before they make snap judgments.

I would also, perhaps collaborate with the English teacher to have students write a paper or presentation on what it means to be judgmental and about stereotypes. I believe that by having students show their understanding of these concepts mingled in with what is happening in the social studies class will have a great affect. I also believe that any students predominately responsible for these rumors need to be spoken to (along with their parents) by the administration at the school.
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Jordyn Nail
Jordyn Nail
Reps: 108
I like the idea of utilizing the other subject areas, since as a physical science teacher it would be difficult to bring it up without embarrassing the young ladies, but this subject certainly fits into the English and History based subjects.
  Posted on: September 4, 2013 11:28 am

Hope Crosby
Hope Crosby
Reps: 122
Your solution and mine were very similar. I agree its important to let the girls know why other students are making these comments, though you don't have to require them to stop. In addition, having S.S., E/La or Art incorporate cultural projects is also a great idea to enlighten the other students.
  Posted on: September 4, 2013 10:54 pm

ePeHyM
ePeHyM
Reps: 105
I agree the teacher should not necessarily tell the two young ladies to stop but that they should be made aware of the cultural meaning that their actions have in the United States and that it is causing the rumors. The idea of collaborating with the Social Studies and English teacher to create projects about cultural differences and judgement and stereotype would create awareness of other cultures and their norms. However, I would keep in mind that this is middle school a time when students can be viscous and judgmental, and not as open nor receiving of differences. These projects might not produce the desired outcome of making them more aware and may actually cause them to spread more rumors or pick on them.
  Posted on: August 29, 2014 4:41 pm

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Solution 19
Posted June 28, 2013 11:10 am

aTejyh
aTejyh
Reps: 22
I think that you should help both sets of students understand each others culture. I would definitely explain to the students that Ade and Elsa came here from another country and in their country this is a symbol of friendship. Then, I would conference with Ade and Elsa about the views and culture of people in the United States on symbols such as holding hands. Understanding differences in cultures could possibly be a great activity for a class assignment. After understanding the views of students and natural reaction the girls can decide whether or not to continue to show their affection of friendship this way or not.
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tyMaZy
tyMaZy
Reps: 26
I agree that it is important that BOTH parties understand the other's culture. A lot of people commented that he should explain to the girls what holding hands symbolizes in the US, but it is also important for the other students to understand the girls' backgrounds.
  Posted on: July 1, 2013 6:32 pm

CI-GSU
CI-GSU
Reps: 39
It is definitely important to share the understanding and education about both cultures.
  Posted on: July 3, 2013 12:11 am

A Battles
A Battles
Reps: 115
I agree that both groups should understand the other's views. Then let the girls decide if they want to continue to hold hands or not.
  Posted on: September 1, 2013 9:07 am

TuVuze
TuVuze
Reps: 99
A multicultural lesson about how different cultures express friendships could help the students to see different cultural perspectives. Ade and Elsa’s classmates, as well as Ade and Elsa themselves, would be informed of various cultural norms that are present around the world. This can be accomplished through reading stories, watching videos, or having rolep-laying activities that center on different aspects of how individuals express friendship. Ultimately, if there is no policy in place that prohibits students from touching one another (such as a zero tolerance no touching rule), the decision should be left up to Ade and Elsa as to whether or not they still want to continue to hold hands at school.
  Posted on: September 15, 2013 12:21 pm

wendy burns
wendy burns
Reps: 80
I believe a multicultural lesson would be an appropriate way to help the children understand there are different customs around the world.
  Posted on: May 23, 2014 12:26 am

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Solution 20
Posted June 28, 2013 12:58 pm

Elizabeth Nicole Payne
Elizabeth Nicole Payne
Reps: 22
I would do both! I think that it is important to discuss the issue with students in your class to address the cultural issues at stake. As many other solutions have stated incorporating a lesson on muliple cultures would be a great way of showing how friends interact in different cultures. I also, would suggest to my administrator a way to incorporate a school wide multicultural educational lesson in order to get everyone involved. Showing videos,reading stories, or other activities that show different cutoms from different cultures. Also, since the girls came to you I would discuss with them the reason students are spreading rumors and tell them that the best way for the rumors to stop is by stopping holding hands. I know that is probably a ridculous thing but middle school students can be harsh and sometimes you have to play by the rules even if you know they are unfair.
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Jill Elton
Jill Elton
Reps: 108
I agree that the best thing to do would be to have a talk with the two girls, but to also educate the other students about the different, various cultures. As you mentioned, middle school is a tough age. Girls, in particular, can be mean. If the teacher could "get through" to the general school population, maybe they would be willing to see the world through other, various perspectives.
  Posted on: August 31, 2015 12:47 am

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Solution 21
Posted June 13, 2014 2:20 am

Alicia Garcia
Alicia Garcia
Reps: 69
Since the students asked you to explain what was going on I feel you have an obligation to explain the differences in cultural norms to them in a sensitive way. When I was young I had a good friend from Honduras. She spoke excellent English but sometimes there would be a cultural reference, joke or behavior that she just didn’t understand and she would ask for someone to explain it to her. I was often the only person who would completely explain the joke or behavior fully and without speaking to her as if she was foolish for not understanding it. That honesty was a source of connection between us. I believe honesty can also build a bridge of trust between student and teacher although the way we explain things would be different due to the difference in the nature of the relationship. I would not tell them how to behave I would simply explain why the American children are behaving the way they are.
I would also have a talk with the American students and remind them to treat one another with respect. There are always differences in a classroom. Most students I have met understand that it is wrong to treat someone unkindly just because they look different. Often when I have had issues of misunderstanding like this I have been able to ask my class if it is alright to be mean to someone because they are a different color. Generally I get a chorus of “no” as a response. If I then ask them if it alright to make fun of someone because they are from somewhere else in the work they will also respond no. I know this sounds simple and idealistic but I do teach high school and this has actually worked for a little while. I have traveled a bit to other countries so usually I can come up with an example that relates but is different from the exact situation. This allows me to take a little bit of time with students to address issues that are preventing the class from being the community I believe it has to be in order for everyone to feel safe.
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Jordan Nelms
Jordan Nelms
Reps: 104
I too, think I would explain the situation to the girls since they came to the teacher for help. By explaining to them that holding hands is just not common among American friends of that age, maybe that would help shed some light on the situation. I would also explain to them that 7th graders can be very mean and just say nasty things. And I agree, that something should also be said to the American students to help them understand why the girls were holding hands. Great idea!
  Posted on: September 7, 2014 1:11 am

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Solution 22
Posted August 28, 2014 11:24 pm

aheduX
aheduX
Reps: 112
I would begin by explaining to the girls why other students frown up them holding hands. In addition, I would also not disturb their belief of doing this. I would tell them that their culture is important and for them to do as they believe. I would then talk to other students explaining that other cultures believe in doing this to show friendship. Students should not judge others based on their beliefs. The girls or other people with different cultures and beliefs may think that traditions of America have are silly and/or inappropriate to them. I would use this as a teachable moment and let students research different cultures and traditions and present it to the class to help show diversity in our world. It would be neat to let students interview immigrants to see their views of our country when they became to know it.
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Solution 23
Posted June 28, 2013 11:01 am

tyMaZy
tyMaZy
Reps: 26
Hi Yasar,

I think that both options are good. If it were me, I would set aside some time during one class to discuss cultures. Allow students the opportunity to describe their own cultural background and just make sure that either you or one of the students mention the holding hands issue. Make sure it is explained that in Indonesia and other places, holding hands is a normal part of friendship. In America, holding hands is normally indicative of a relationship. This is a good time to bring up a lot of cultural similarities and differences. You could even find something that we do here in America that may seem odd in other cultures. Remind students that we are all equal and how would they feel if something they do on a regular basis was frowned upon in a new place.

Hope this helps!
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Hope Crosby
Hope Crosby
Reps: 122
I really like you idea of presenting cultural differences to all students. I especially like your idea of incorporating some practices that Americans do that are different or unusual to other cultures. What a great way to put the shoe on the other foot.
  Posted on: September 4, 2013 10:57 pm

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Solution 24
Posted December 6, 2012 2:31 pm

Jessica Oglesby
Jessica Oglesby
Reps: 110
I would not tell the two girls to stop holding hands. Holding hands is a security net for these two girls, they feel like they have a lot in common and are safe when they are together. I would begin by telling my students that it is okay for friends to hold hands. I would also explain that the term lesbian is inappropriate and should not be used or discussed in class. I would also talk to the whole group about gossiping and talking about others, I would relate this conversation to bullying and let them know that I have a zero tolerance on this topic.
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Colleen Keller
Colleen Keller
Reps: 92
I really like that solution because it makes the girls feel okay about what they are doing, and it also explains to the other students that they need to use a different choice of words to describe the girls. I like that the girls are made comfortable about the situation, and that the other students are made aware of what they did wrong.
  Posted on: May 22, 2013 9:36 pm

vezaMu
vezaMu
Reps: 85
I agree the two girls should not be made to feel they cannot hold hands. However, I wonder why you explain that the word lesbian is inappropriate and shouldn't be discussed. It is not nice for the students to be gossiping and being insensitive. And I understand that it is a sensitive topic; however, the word lesbian is simply a term for sexual orientation. It is not an insulting word or a bad word. At least at my school, I have students whose parents are lesbian and gay. I would not want them to feel that I was disrespecting or disparaging their families as this type of response could unfortunately make some feel.
  Posted on: May 24, 2013 10:12 am

maTepe
maTepe
Reps: 22
I agree that they should not be told to stop holding hands. I do believe they should realize what will be thought of them if they continue to hold hands. It will be up to them to determine what they will do. I also agree that we should talk with students about name calling, etc. which could also fall into bullying. The key is to address the situation not ignore it.
  Posted on: June 28, 2013 11:13 am

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Solution 25
Posted December 3, 2012 1:48 am

David Sanders
David Sanders
Reps: 143
I believe that the students who dreaming up a lesbian relationship between Ade and Elsa are just being mean spirited seventh graders. It is just a form of prejudice (and perhaps envy) toward the new children. The students know that the pair are not lesbian and just want to pick on the new kids on the block. My lecture would be on bullying other students.
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Nicki Kinner
Nicki Kinner
Reps: 68
I agree that the teacher should lecture, but not about bullying. The lecture should be on different cultures and ideas. Yes, students can be harsh, but what if they do not understand why the girls are holding hands? It is the teachers job to help the students understand and embrace other cultures.
  Posted on: May 21, 2013 11:13 am

PyruNe
PyruNe
Reps: 47
I think that the students are acting out of a sense of discomfort in seeing the two girls holding hands. Having an adult lecture them on the inappropriateness of their comments may aggravate the situation instead of improving it. Some students simply may not realize the true reason the two girls are holding hands and only need to be presented with an explanation concerning their culture to understand that their actions are not appropriate.
  Posted on: June 28, 2013 9:12 pm

Josh Oglesby
Josh Oglesby
Reps: 69
I also agree about the students being uncomfortable with what they see. As a result, the natural tendency is to pick on it or call it out for being different. Especially at this age where kids are very uncomfortable with their bodies anyway students will find anyway possible to shift focus off of themselves and project it on to someone else.
  Posted on: May 22, 2014 4:40 pm

Kaitlin Stringer
Kaitlin Stringer
Reps: 116
We all remember middle school and the rumors that can be started. I think it is important to remind students why bullying is unacceptable, but I think it is also important that we educate the students on different cultures. This way, the class would be able to understand why other cultures act the way they do.
  Posted on: May 19, 2015 8:35 pm

Alyssa Wright
Alyssa Wright
Reps: 69
I did not even think of this as part of the solution. In additon to a culture lesson I think the students need a lesson on bullying.
  Posted on: May 25, 2015 1:40 am

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Solution 26
Posted December 7, 2012 12:33 pm

BreAnna Sinclair
BreAnna Sinclair
Reps: 118
I suggest incoporating a lesson on cultural differences into the classroom. If not in Science, then maybe ask the Social Studies teacher to do so in her classroom. The students could research different ways of representing friendship in other cultures. The teacher could even partner students in pairs and have the pair research a particular country's sign of friendship. The students could present their country to the class by participating in the sign. For example, the students who researched Indonesia, could hold hands during their presentation. This would open the eyes of other students.

I would also suggest talking to Ade and Elsa. I would explain that the other students do not understand their culture and are making judgements based on the American view point. I would explain that it is okay for the students to continue holding hands, but it will probably cause more rumors to spread. This way the students can decide for themselves whether or not to continue holding hands at school.
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Erin Ashurst
Erin Ashurst
Reps: 73
I think it would be possible to incorporate some Social Studies into Physical Science. Cross-circulum teaching is so good for students. I would still let the other teachers what is going on; perhaps they too can incorporate culturally understanding in their classes too.
  Posted on: May 22, 2013 8:52 pm

aTejyh
aTejyh
Reps: 22
I agree with you! I also suggested an activity that will help students understand different cultures. I feel that this could benefit all the students and allow them to see that the natural reaction of the American people is not the reaction from others around the world! I would also explain to the girls that the other students do not view this as a symbol of friendship. Then, allow them to decide of they wanted to continue to show their affection toward each other this way.
  Posted on: June 28, 2013 11:16 am

Mallory Kirkland
Mallory Kirkland
Reps: 26
Incorporating this information into the content would be the best way to go about explaining differences. That way, the girls do not feel like they have a spotlight on them, and the students will learn to respect other cultures from around the world for future instances such as this scenario.
  Posted on: July 1, 2013 2:27 pm

yteduM
yteduM
Reps: 77
I think doing a lesson on friendships in other countries would be a great way for students to realize that the way some people show friendship is different from the way we show friendship in the United States. Hopefully, this will be an eye opener to students. Also, talking to the girls is a great idea. That way your giving them the choice to continue holding hands or not.
  Posted on: June 17, 2015 8:16 pm

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Solution 27
Posted December 7, 2012 6:35 pm

Laine Vilardi
Laine Vilardi
Reps: 119
I think it is time to talk to your students about what other cultures do things we might not be accustomed to, such as same-gender friends holding hands in Indonesia and other countries, I'm sure. Also, be sure to inform students that they are bullying and stereotyping against another cultures beliefs. It might be helpful to find similar things that other cultures do that we don't typically do here in the US, and share them with all the students. I would also explain that even if it's not seen as the norm here now, we are becoming more and more culturally difference every day. We shouldn't judge people by the choices they make because we never know why we make them (in the instance of Ade and Elsa).
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yheraZ
yheraZ
Reps: 68
I agree with you. I thought this would be a great opportunity to work in a lesson about how other cultures express friendships, it may even be helpful to show a few videos on this and have students complete an assignment about where they did a little research and made a presentation on a culture besides their own and how they expressed friendship.
  Posted on: May 21, 2013 6:36 pm

L. Carrell
L. Carrell
Reps: 63
It is important for us to inform our students that when they are laughing at someone because their culutre is diffferent that that is stereotyping and bulleying. We need to teach our students that this behavior is wrong.
  Posted on: May 23, 2013 9:26 pm

Johnnie Skelton
Johnnie Skelton
Reps: 104
L. C., I’m glad that you mentioned bullying, since it is such a huge issue. I mentor seven fifth grade girls, and the majority of our time is spent dealing with bullying (whether they are the victim or the perpetrator). Many schools are adopting a zero tolerance policy regarding bullying, and I think that this situation definitely falls into that category.
  Posted on: May 25, 2013 8:51 am

Krissy Chance-Bailey
Krissy Chance-Bailey
Reps: 65
Bullying is mentioned, but I think it stems more from the lack of knowledge. When something is different even as adults we stare. I think we are in a day and time that honesty is the best remedy for course of action.
  Posted on: June 12, 2014 12:04 pm

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Solution 28
Posted December 7, 2012 9:36 pm

Art Buff
Art Buff
Reps: 111
I do not think that abandoning the first option is very responsible as a teacher at all. To tell two students to not hold hands because it has started rumors is insensitive to them and it seems to be taking the easy way out for you. First explain to Ade and Elsa that holding hands has a different meaning here than it does in Indonesia. They are in middle school so they should have the cognitive ability to understand that some people are going to spread rumors regardless. Second make a presentation on similar and dissimilar customs between America and Indonesia. This will benefit both Ade and Elsa and the rest of the class. Third allow them to make their own decision. If they want to continue to hold hands as a sign of their friendship; let them do so. Finally as spreading rumors of this kind cannot be tolerated. Make it very clear that there will be unfavorable consequences to any person/persons that starts a rumor as to sexual orientation of another student.
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Kelly Jackson
Kelly Jackson
Reps: 103
Yes all these topics should be discussed. I also think that if we discuss Indonesian and American cultures of friendship we should also talk about other cultures as well. Maybe European cultures where kissing on the check is the normal hello. Just to show that just because we don't do it in the American culture doesn't mean that no one is that affectionate.
  Posted on: May 25, 2013 3:57 pm

upyNuX
upyNuX
Reps: 100
I think you make a good point that, unfortunately, in middle school kids are going to find things to tease each other about so part of what needs to be discussed with the girls is the reasons why some kids spread rumors and the reasons why some kids are bullies. The behavior of the other kids cannot be dismissed as "no big deal" but rather needs to be seen as unacceptable. Help the girls to understand that sometimes kids are mean just to be mean and it is not personal. But also acknowledge that it is still just as hurtful and it is still wrong for those students to spread those rumors.
  Posted on: August 27, 2013 10:54 pm

Alicia Garcia
Alicia Garcia
Reps: 69
I agree that this isn't an either or situation. Middle School students can be particularly unkind. It is just a hard age. This also means that you as a teacher really have to be on the spot about keeping kids from being unkind to one another. I personally do not allow students to call each other "gay" as an insult in my class. I point out how ugly it is. Also, I have gay people in my family.

Usually when one student says to another student something like "ugh, that is so gay" I can just point out then and there that I don't think that behavior is acceptable. If they persist by saying something defamatory about homosexuals I usually tell them something about my family and that it isn't a big deal. Students making fun of other kids about being gay is one of the last places we as a culture seem to still tolerate discrimination. We do need to tell the girls why they are being perceived as they are and to educate our classes about cultural norms but we also need to remove the stigma from homosexuality so that it is not a basis for ridicule.
  Posted on: June 13, 2014 2:30 am

yXeBeX
yXeBeX
Reps: 114
Another point to be made is that if these two girls were a boy and a girl, holding hands for them would be inappropriate in school as well. Maybe the angle to take is that PDA of any kind in school is inappropriate, regardless of who is doing it. Explaining it this way may take the pressure off the issue that they are two girls and focus more on the broader issue of what is and is not appropriate at school.
  Posted on: October 7, 2014 9:28 pm

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Solution 29
Posted February 14, 2013 11:59 pm

Jaime Godwin
Jaime Godwin
Reps: 25
I definitely would not advise the girls to stop holding hands; that is an insult to their culture. I would, however, explain to them why the rumors are being spread. I would tell them that it's not common for female friends to hold friends unless there is a deeper relationship. I would also tell them that I would talk to the other students and that they should embrace their culture and to not be embarrassed of their friendship or their culture's customs. I would then explain their culture to the other students. Some of the harassment may continue, but it should be lessened. Also, it may open doors for your other students to become more open and curious to other cultures besides their own.
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Solution 30
Posted May 20, 2013 10:20 pm

Nicki Kinner
Nicki Kinner
Reps: 68
I believe it is very important for the girls to embrace their cultures. It is the teachers job to teach other students about the multiple cultures in the classroom. The teacher could incorporate Indonesian culture into a class lesson. Although, in most school systems students are not allowed to touch another student, this includes holding hands. I believe that if the school has a rule about touching then the girls should not be allowed to hold hands. But, If the school does not have this rule I believe it is the teachers responsibility to teach other students about other cultures that surround them.
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Emilee Roberts
Emilee Roberts
Reps: 69
Even if the school had a "no touching" plan, this is their cultural beleif. I think that their should always be an execption to the rule. In this case, I would educate and encourage the students to ask questions about this new culture!
  Posted on: May 22, 2013 1:42 pm

Kyle Chambers
Kyle Chambers
Reps: 68
I agree somewhat with what Nicki mentioned about school rules. If there is a rule about students touching one another then it should be enforced across the board. I do not view the enforcement of this rule as being culturally insensitive, rather enforcing the rules on all students. If there needs to be a rule change then it should apply to all students.
  Posted on: May 25, 2013 9:58 pm

BeWuXe
BeWuXe
Reps: 117
If the school does have a "no touch" policy then the girls should adhere to these rules. Although hand holding is a part of their culture, not holding hands in school will certainly not break a "mandatory" cultural belief. After all, the hand holding is merely a sign of their friendship, not a rule.
  Posted on: September 1, 2013 8:18 pm

Tiffany Parker
Tiffany Parker
Reps: 69
I agree. The girls should not have to stop participating in their cultures acts of friendship. However, it is extremely important that the teacher incorporate a lesson about cultural differences. I think this would greatly help the situation and make the students feel more comfortable being in a new place!
  Posted on: May 24, 2014 7:37 pm

Kristen Eason
Kristen Eason
Reps: 57
I like you comment! I think this would be a great learning opportunity for students in the entire school to learn more about the culture where the two girls moved. I’m sure everyone will find similarities and differences when comparing and contrasting their own believers to those of the girls. Teachers need to take teachable moments like these to address students about other social self expression.
  Posted on: May 25, 2014 4:34 pm

LeeAnna Elder
LeeAnna Elder
Reps: 75
I agree that both the American and Indonesian cultures need to be taught and respected within the class room I also think students, particullarly the American students need a lesson on bullying.
  Posted on: June 12, 2014 5:29 pm

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Solution 31
Posted May 22, 2013 8:45 pm

Erin Ashurst
Erin Ashurst
Reps: 73
Children can be cruel, and our responsibility as teachers is to create a classroom environment that is safe, respectful, and nurturing. I would first do community building exercises with my students. Activities that promote discussion and sharing would be key. I would do pair and share activities where students in pairs interview each other. Then the students would introduce their partners to the class. Activities like this build community and understanding. Next, I would consider creating a classroom behavior contract. This is when as a class, the students decide what is and isn't acceptable behavior within the classroom. This contract will be posted on the wall. After this, I would have create several group activities to further the classroom community. If Ade and Elsa continue to be bullied after this, I will consult the class behavior contract. Did the students include bullying as unacceptable behavior? Another route I would take in Physical Science, is including projects that teaches students about the geography of various countries. Students would supplement the geography of a country with facts about the country's culture. This would give Ade and Elsa a chance to discuss their culture and allowing other students a chance to learn about other cultures as well. This might sound like sidestepping the issue, but having a strong and culturally sensitive classroom management plan would help prevent issues similar to this.
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Susan Esra
Susan Esra
Reps: 68
I really like your idea of using a classroom contract. Middle schoolers can be so self-centered. They don't often realize how their behavior affects others. Stopping to think if their treatment of others is the way they would like to be treated should help them to make better decisions. Allowing them to be a part of the discussion should help.
  Posted on: May 25, 2014 6:57 pm

zaSyNu
zaSyNu
Reps: 58
I really like your idea of community building within the classroom so the other students can get to know their peers better, and begin to understand them in a different way than as a student from another culture!
  Posted on: September 12, 2014 2:59 am

Chelsea Abbott
Chelsea Abbott
Reps: 112
I think that community building exercises will help strengthen the class. If the class becomes stronger together, the bullies will see on how their rumors are hurting their "friends". I agree that the class should participate in learning about new and other cultures. Middle school can be a hard age because they can often be unaccepting of anything it seems like. Opening their eyes that these two girls are people, just like them, may help put the rumors to end. Also, I see that hand holding is harmless and the girls should be able to continue it to show their friendship. It is what makes them happy.
  Posted on: August 28, 2015 8:54 pm

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Solution 32
Posted May 22, 2013 9:34 pm

Colleen Keller
Colleen Keller
Reps: 92
I don't think they should be told not to hold hands because in their culture this is perfectly normal. I think the biggest thing about growing up is learning to accept people for their differences. This is a skill that needs to be taught at a young age so as they get older they will be more inclined to accept those individuals. I would sit them down and explain to them why people may be coming up with these rumors and how things in the United States are different. I would give them all the information the needed in order to make a decision to continue holding hands or not. This would then allow them to understand why those rumors started, but to make their own choice about whether or not to continue.
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Solution 33
Posted May 24, 2013 10:46 pm

gyjyjy
gyjyjy
Reps: 71
I feel that both of your options are acceptable. I believe I would first pull the two girls into my classroom and discuss what was said and first worry about their feelings. I would discuss that different cultures show feelings of friendship differently around the world and that in the United States it is not as common to hold hands. I would make sure the girls know that they are not doing anything wrong. After my discussion with Ade and Else, I will give a lesson on friendship and how people around the world demonstrate being friends differently. I would then have an open classroom discussion with my students on how they usually demonstrate being friends and things friends do together. I will then divide my kids up into small groups to further research friendships around the world and how different cultures represent being friends. Students will make posters to hang around the school and this will help reach out to other students whom I may not teach.
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Love Joy
Love Joy
Reps: 78
Before I would discuss this topic in too much detail with the girls,I would have a discussion with the parents before proceeding forward with the students. This way you do not get your facts mixed up or mis-communicated. Once you go to the students, you want to have as many solutions as possible without having to put them off until you find more information. Teens are curious and want to know as much as possible. But your activities with the teens are good suggestions to get the message across the school.
  Posted on: May 26, 2013 6:00 pm

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Solution 34
Posted May 25, 2013 3:51 pm

Kelly Jackson
Kelly Jackson
Reps: 103
A varying degree of both would be necessary. I want the rest of the students to know that holding hands is acceptable is some cultures. Students need to realize that they live in a melting pot country where there are hundreds of cultures established and thriving. Americans have different forms of affection that would be taboo in other cultures. In seventh grade students are at the developmental stage where they want to fit with there peers so I can understand how Ade and Elsa are upset and how the other students are making fun of something that is abnormal to them. I think that explaining the concept of other cultures and how two females holding hands is an appropriate behavior could illicit acceptance of this "taboo". It might even catch on as the "thing to do".
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tyMaZy
tyMaZy
Reps: 26
I agree that the students should be informed of various cultures. I think if you point out something that we do on a regular basis as taboo in another country, the students may realize that the girls have no intention of being lesbians, but rather, are doing what is typical in their culture.
  Posted on: June 28, 2013 12:56 pm

yteduM
yteduM
Reps: 77
I agree students in America need to realize that we live in a "melting pot society" and the norm for us is not the norm for everybody. Hopefully this discussion will stop some of the rumors that these girls are facing and people will see that in other countries this is normal.
  Posted on: June 17, 2015 8:38 pm

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Solution 35
Posted June 28, 2013 11:08 am

maTepe
maTepe
Reps: 22
I think that I would do both options mentioned. I would definitely talk with the class about Ade and Elsa culture and what holding hands means in their country. I would meet with the girls and their parents to have a conference. I think that they need to be aware of what people will naturally think of them holding hands in our culture. They can decide then if they want to continue holding hands or stop. I think that by holding hands they are not giving others an opportunity to befriend them. They should be aware that this will cause people to see them differently.
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Meredith Bryant
Meredith Bryant
Reps: 106
I agree in that it's not only important to actually implement BOTH options, but to also include the parents in on the conversation as well. Parents are crucial, especially at the middle school level, for students' success. The more parents know, the better. A lot of the times, parents have influence that we, as teachers, do not--especially in this situation. Since both students are new, chances are that they haven't really gotten to know the school and really understand and get to know you as the teacher. Again, bringing in the parents would show these two girls that not only are you really working to alleviate the situation, but you have a genuine concern for them.
  Posted on: September 3, 2013 6:10 pm

Susan Esra
Susan Esra
Reps: 68
I agree that involving the girls' parents may be a good idea. They are undoubtedly learning to adjust to life in America as well, and hopefully showing an interest in their daughters' lives will help establish a trustful relationship between them and you, the teacher. They can help their daughters decide how to proceed.
  Posted on: May 25, 2014 6:59 pm

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Solution 36
Posted July 2, 2013 2:52 pm

Emily Wood
Emily Wood
Reps: 19
In response to the case listed above, both Ade and Elsa do have the right to hold hand if they wish. However, this could be addressed by pulling the girls to the side to discuss the reality of what they are doing leads others to believe they are a lesbian couple. I would then proceed to discuss this matter with the students when Ade and Elsa are not present. A good explanation of their culture would provide the kids with some insight on the issue. I would remain sensitive to both cultures and address this situation so it does not occur again. This is also a form of bullying which is not acceptable regardless of differing cultures.
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Solution 37
Posted July 3, 2013 12:05 am

CI-GSU
CI-GSU
Reps: 39
I would definitely include and share information about diversity. Students many times are unaware of other cultures and need the education. Teaching others about other customs and even maybe having a period of share time would be useful socially. Also, education about bullying would be necessary because this is a form of bullying because often time students don't even know the full meaning nor do they understand certain meanings about things that they choose to state about others. Therefore, including education about negative behaviors and more positive ones would be necessary in rectifying or at least a start to better understanding.
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Virginia Erbele
Virginia Erbele
Reps: 25
I really like your idea about letting all students share unique aspects of their cultures. That may help take some of the attention off of the two girls. I also think that bullying education is important, I hadn’t thought about that. Especially for students in this age range, there can be a lot of immaturity and bullying regarding differences. However, no matter what students consider different, they should never be allowed to make-fun of or start hurtful rumors.
  Posted on: July 3, 2013 7:55 am

Emily West
Emily West
Reps: 102
I think that including a discussion about bullying is a great idea! Sometimes students make fun of others and they don't really see how it is actually bullying. It would be an eye opener for many of the students that had made comments in the past about the girls. The teacher could also ask students about times when they have been the victim of bullying and how they felt. This would help the students realize the implications of their actions.
  Posted on: September 6, 2013 11:12 pm

Ashley Lawrence
Ashley Lawrence
Reps: 70
I like your stance on explaining diversity. In this education world, teachers have to be very careful about what we say. In some courses, you can have discussions like that. In my course, mathematics, discussions like that never seem appropriate.
  Posted on: May 20, 2015 6:01 pm

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Solution 38
Posted September 2, 2013 5:46 pm

Jordyn Nail
Jordyn Nail
Reps: 108
It's important to realize that this is not a problem situation - it's a great time for a lesson on cultural diversity. I would comfort the two girls and explain to them why the other students thought they were a couple, and also explain to them that the other students were being culturally insensitive and that they should BE WHO THEY ARE. After that, I would take the first 5 minutes of all my classes and explain to all students why making assumptions and spreading rumors was the wrong thing to do. I would use this as a time to teach the U.S. students a lesson about the importance of not being ignorant and making decisions without all the information. It is hard for young children to realize that there is an entire world out there that is completely different than ours, but what better time than this to show them that.
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aHeRaL
aHeRaL
Reps: 112
I agree that one of the primary issues to address in this situation is the rumor itself. This is something typical in the school environment and we as teachers need to take opportunities to help students understand that spread rumors is wrong and hurtful. However, I also think it is a good opportunity to help Elsa and Ade become aware of the new culture they are a part of. As newcomers to America, I am sure they would appreciate help in becoming more well acquainted with the culture of their new country and their classmates.
  Posted on: August 30, 2014 8:02 pm

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Solution 39
Posted September 2, 2013 10:41 pm

Tracy C
Tracy C
Reps: 104
While I would agree that the girls' feelings must be acknowledged and addressed, the bigger picture is addressing the dominant culture of the school. From a principal standpoint, I will address the issue first with my faculty, inviting them to share their thoughts are the girls' issue - believe it or not, teachers do heavily influence the culture of the school. Next, I would give all teachers the charge of incorporating the teaching of cultural differences in their instruction to increase the students' awareness of minority cultures prevalent in our school(e.g. Ade and Elsa). Finally, I would have a private conversation with the girls and their parents in my office to share with them some facts about the American middle school culture that exist in our schools. Also, I will inform them that while I (or my teachers) cannot control what their peers will say, if they wanted to dispel the rumors, they should consider not holding hands while in school. Also, I will emphasize that it was their choice, and that I will continue to support them and other minority cultures by promoting cultural diversity my school.
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Jordyn Nail
Jordyn Nail
Reps: 108
I like your top down approach and I think it would be beneficial to speak with the faculty members first. However, it is likely that you will meet resistance there. How would you ensure that all teachers would actually “incorporate the teaching of cultural differences in their instruction to increase the students' awareness of minority cultures”? Would you offered some training for the teachers so that they are aware of strategies they can use to make their students more culturally aware?
  Posted on: September 4, 2013 11:23 am

Rachel Walker
Rachel Walker
Reps: 60
I like the idea you had about speaking with all of the faculty at the school and not just Ade and Elsa's teachers. It could help to raise awareness throughout the school, because issues similar to this one could be happening in other grades as well. It would also alleviate any pressure that the girls could be feeling by having only their teachers presenting materials about differing cultures and acceptance. We need to acknowledge the diversity in our schools and I think your idea is a great way to do that.
  Posted on: May 21, 2014 9:48 pm

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Solution 40
Posted September 3, 2013 6:06 pm

Meredith Bryant
Meredith Bryant
Reps: 106
I think that you, as a teacher, have the responsibility of teaching young adolescents to be culturally sensitive. I say that, because I know in middle school, I was not. Teaching students about other cultures should be just as important as teaching the standards--it's also about teaching life to our students. If this were me, I would do two things: First, I would talk to each and every one of my classes about Ade and Elsa's culture. I would also take some time in class to research this along with my class so that they can see us learning together. Then, I would talk to both Ade and Elsa away from the other students and explain to them our culture--what the other kids view their holding hands as. Talk with them, discuss it, and answer their questions Lastly, I would bring this to the attention of the other teachers in 7th grade so that they are aware of the situation and what I have done to hopefully, help the problem if nothing else. I think it's important here not to choose just option #1 or #2, but rather to show both parties, both perspectives. Doing so might help lend itself to a more culturally sensitive classroom.
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Solution 41
Posted September 4, 2013 1:03 pm

udydyV
udydyV
Reps: 108
My grandmother always told me, it is not what you are called but you answer to. All of the solutions posted on this site are viable solutions. I agree that students should be taught that different cultures have different cultural norms. However, in the passage it states, "rumors will continue even if I explain to my students the cultural side of their friendship." To me, this implies that Ade and Elsa should be given a lesson in self esteem. They should be told that people, especially young people, will find a way to make fun of them. If it wasn't holding hands, it would be their clothes. If it wasn't their clothes, it would be their accent. What they need to understand is that their self worth as individuals is NOT linked to what others think about them. This is not blaming the victims, but rather preparing them for the life that lies ahead of them. Both in and out of school.
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SaSyXu
SaSyXu
Reps: 105
I really like your post! These girls need to be given a lesson in self-esteem and told that people are going to talk about them no matter what as well as they do not need to worry about what others are saying about them! My mom told me that if people are talking about you, that usually means that they are jealous of you!
  Posted on: September 1, 2014 8:40 pm

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Solution 42
Posted May 18, 2014 8:56 pm

Sara LeClair
Sara LeClair
Reps: 68
First off you have to explain to all the students that it is very stereotypical of them to assume someone is a lesbian just because they are holding hands. Let them know that just because you see something like this, you can never assume something about two people, and you definitely should not be spreading rumors! Make sure students are aware that it is culturally acceptable for these girls to hold hands. Then talk with the girls explaining that personal display of affection is not allowed at public schools. This means girls cannot hold other girls hands, and boys cannot hold other boys hands, and boys and girls cannot hold hands. Make aware that the school policy is that students should keep their hands to themselves at all times, and this should clear up both ends of the spectrum. You can still use this as a learning tool for other students to understand that stereotyping is not okay, and make sure the girls are aware while at school they have to keep their hands to themselves.
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Hannah Nabors
Hannah Nabors
Reps: 68
I like your unique approach to this situation. The PDA rule never crossed my mind here, but it would be an excellent tool for removing the observed behavior of hand holding. In this case, asking the girls to stopping holding hands would not be due to ignorance or cultural bias, but rather school policies and procedures for student safety. I also like that you mentioned education regarding student's ideas of lesbian tendency as a whole (holding hands doesn't equate to homosexuality).
  Posted on: May 24, 2014 6:46 pm

James Moran
James Moran
Reps: 62
I am not sure if holding hands is crossing any public display of affection rules at most schools. If these two students are holding hands out of friendship, then I don't think it is behavior that needs to be discouraged. Also remember that these girls are seventh graders they are still very young. The teacher should encourage students not to make assumption about others.
  Posted on: May 26, 2014 2:09 am

LeeAnna Elder
LeeAnna Elder
Reps: 75
You could try the PDA approach, but then you would have to require that all students not hold hands. At the middle school and high school age students' hormones are raging, and they are already not allowed to kiss, make out et cetera at school. Holding hands is a way for students to experience intimacy for most. In the case of these girls, it is a way of security.
  Posted on: June 12, 2014 5:22 pm

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Solution 43
Posted May 20, 2014 1:36 am

Laura Toft
Laura Toft
Reps: 71
Seeing that this case study is occurring in a middle school makes me adjust my perspective a bit as middle schooler's can tend to be more "vicious". I think that addressing the students and sharing with them this cultural difference is extremely necessary. Not only that, but I would go on to emphasize that it is the student's job at the school to make sure that they are not only welcoming to new students, but that they also represent their families and their country in a positive light to foreigners. Sharing cultural differences from kissing on the cheek when greeting someone to shaking hands or hugging goodbye is something that many other cultures view as uncommon. Share these examples with the class and have them reflect on their findings. While the teasing will probably not stop altogether, by addressing these facts with the children I believe more students will appreciate the new knowledge and stand up for Elsa and Ade.

When comforting the girls, I would apologize for the lack of respect from their fellow classmates and I would go on to explain to them that while they are adapting to a new environment, so are their classmates. In science you learn about plant/animal adaptations and this is a perfect example. While Elsa and Ade do not need to abandon their culture, they will find that once adjusting to their new home that some things are different. I would encourage the girls to share information with the class about their hometown in Indonesia and if they are comfortable answering questions from the students I think that would be pivotal in their social life. Students are quick to judge what is different or unknown. It is our job to make sure we are teaching real life skills and applications to carry our students further in their educational careers.
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Caley Copeland
Caley Copeland
Reps: 69
Laura,
I like your idea of addressing the issue and spreading cultural awareness. It is very important to foster a community of learners in the classroom who can all share a mutual respect for each other and their learning. I also like how you apologized and comforted the girls, a small act of kindness can go a long way in a situation like this.

  Posted on: May 22, 2014 2:46 am

Ashley Mays
Ashley Mays
Reps: 64
Laura, I really enjoyed reading your solution and how you would have handled this situation. I agree that people in general are quick to judge the things in life that they do not understand and/or are different from them. I like how you would address the situation with the students by talking about the different cultural customs such as kissing on the check, hugging, etc. I think this kind of cultural awareness is important in establishing so that our students will respect one another.
  Posted on: May 25, 2014 1:58 am

Megan Teague
Megan Teague
Reps: 55
I like your idea of them sharing about where they came from. Instead of the teacher teaching a lesson on hand holding or all of the sudden talking about other cultures, let they girl share about their backgrounds. This would allow the topic of handholding come up without making it obvious as to why.
  Posted on: June 16, 2014 3:47 am

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Solution 44
Posted May 21, 2014 12:22 am

LeeAnna Elder
LeeAnna Elder
Reps: 75
Americans are slowly evolving when it comes to acceptance of cultural differences and knowledge. If the rumors continue to spread and Ade and Elsa have emotional distress at any level this can be considered bullying. There is a no bullying law, and when broken by a student, incarceration can occur. I would start by talking with my administration and counselor to develop a plan of action to stop the rumors, and educate cultural differences between Americans and Indonesians. I would either speak to the girls or have the counselor speak to the girls about following more of an American social ques so as to prevent the rumors and possible teasing. I would explain to the girls that in America when two people of the same sex hold hands it typically symbolizes they are in an intimate dating relationship. I would also explain that when we travel to other countries such as Iraq, Iran et cetera women must cover their heads because this is a common cultural practice there. It is important that not only do Ade and Elsa know and respect cultural practices, but our very own American students need to also know and respect other cultural practices.
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Laura Toft
Laura Toft
Reps: 71
LeeAnna,
I like how you suggested getting the counselor involved. I didn't think about that in my original post but I do think that would be helpful. Considering the girls are new, I would hope some sort of mentor program would be in place for them to get support as well. I agree that the students need to be brought aware of cultural differences from how people dress, to say hello, to interacting with one another. I don't know if I would tell them that holding hands initiates interest within the same sex like you mentioned right away, but I would let them know that that is not a common practice here between friends.
  Posted on: May 22, 2014 2:20 am

Caley Copeland
Caley Copeland
Reps: 69
LeeAnna,
It is a good idea to get the counselor involved for the emotional distress the girls may have suffered. I also like how you planned on educating the other students about various cultures that may be different from their own. In my posting, I said something similar as a solution to the situation. Good job!
  Posted on: May 22, 2014 2:43 am

aBugeS
aBugeS
Reps: 77
Getting the counselor or administration involved would be important to ensure that it is at least documented that the girls are potentially being bullied and action is being taken.
  Posted on: May 26, 2014 1:27 am

James Moran
James Moran
Reps: 62
Bring in the school counselors is a good idea for sure. I think that whether or not the two girls hold hands or not should be left up to the girls. If holding hands is very important to the girls, it may be worth it to the girls to continue even at the risk of being misidentified as lesbians.
  Posted on: May 26, 2014 1:51 am

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Solution 45
Posted May 21, 2014 2:12 am

Susan Esra
Susan Esra
Reps: 68
While I think that Ade and Elsa should learn about American culture and why the other students believe that they are lesbians, I believe the primary issue here is the other students who are starting rumors. Middle schoolers often say very unkind things to one another, and it is frequently dismissed as a problem that goes along with their age. I think that all of the students need to have a discussion about rumors and bullying, and if it is possible to single out who is primarily responsible for spreading the rumors, those students should be spoken with individually and consequences given if the behavior doesn't stop. Bullying is a real problem in schools today, and no student deserves to be mistreated. Even if the girls were in a lesbian relationship, they do not deserve to have hurtful things said about them. A lesson on cultural differences may be in order as well, but the girls should not be forced to stop their behavior, and the other students should not be allowed to continue to say hurtful things.
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Hannah Nabors
Hannah Nabors
Reps: 68
Susan,
Excellent stance on the issue. You're right that bullying is an issue that needs to be addressed. What if the girls were lesbians, they would still be bullied and teased. That sort of behavior should not be accepted not matter what the cause (bullying). I support your call for education, not only cultural, but behavioral and relational as well.
  Posted on: May 24, 2014 6:49 pm

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Solution 46
Posted May 21, 2014 10:25 pm

Caley Copeland
Caley Copeland
Reps: 69
I believe you should combine both options for the best result. Address the issue with the class though a minilesson on cultural studies. Explain that in other cultures some customs are different and mean different things. Discuss different cultures that would be considered “odd” to us, but are “normal” to other people. Reiterate that making fun of people, or starting rumors about them because they may have a different background, is insensitive and will not be tolerated. Explain to the two girls why people are inferring that they are together, and that in the American culture that is how two girls holding hands are generally perceived. Tell them that they have to make the decision to ignore the comments of others and continue holding hands in order to be true to their culture, or not hold hands anymore and conform to the stereotypes of our culture.
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Laura Toft
Laura Toft
Reps: 71
Caley,
I like how you incorporated the introduction of the mini lesson to address student misconceptions. I think it's vital that the problem be addressed and through an educational discussion makes it even more of an impact. Getting the school counselor involved would also be helpful as he/she could serve as a mentor for the girls.
  Posted on: May 22, 2014 2:23 am

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Solution 47
Posted May 22, 2014 2:49 am

Jennifer Loncon
Jennifer Loncon
Reps: 68
I agree that asking the girls to stop holding hands would be culturally insensitive. It seems to me that as they are settling into a new place with a new culture, that having some consistency from their culture may help them transition. For the girls, their hand holding may also be serving as a comfort to each other. Therefore, I feel that it is important to explain to the class differences between cultures and how they are expected to be accepting and understanding of each other's differences. I also feel that it would be fair to explain to Ade and Elsa that they have not done anything wrong, but help them understand the link that hand holding may have to some individuals. They can make a decision for themselves if they would like to continue representing their friendship as they always have and ignore others insensitive comments.
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Ashley Mays
Ashley Mays
Reps: 64
I agree with your solution to this situation. I think it's important for the girls to understand why people are saying the things they are about them holding hands at school. It is also important that the girls realize that they are not doing anything wrong, but not everyone is familiar with their traditions which is causing the rumors. I believe that all that are involved should be educated on the cultural differences so that the situation can be addressed.
  Posted on: May 25, 2014 1:55 am

Megan Teague
Megan Teague
Reps: 55
Your solution seems sensible and you literally took the works right out of my mouth. Having the girls stop holding hands would be insensitive. Explaining to them why people are saying what they are saying would be helpful to them and would allow them to decide for themselves whether or not they will continue.
  Posted on: May 25, 2014 6:08 am

vasere
vasere
Reps: 70
I had not thought about why Ade and Elsa may be holding hands beyond just being friends. I think it was very perceptive to realize this may also be a comfort during transition. Reminding all of the students what it is like to move to something new would be a very good idea. Perhaps this would also be a good opportunity for Ade and Elsa to do a very informal presentation about their culture and history (if they would like to). Before they do this, remind the class that everyone needs to be respectful of each other's culture and beliefs and ask questions accordingly.
  Posted on: May 21, 2015 1:47 am

Melissa Aspinwall
Melissa Aspinwall
Reps: 79
I like that you mentioned if may be a way of them transitioning a long with it being accepted in their country. I would also explain to the girls that in America, girls of the same sex holding hands is looked at much differently than their culture and that is why people are talking. I would recommend the counselor coming in and discussing this with the class and teaching them to be more sensitive to the differences of other cultures.
  Posted on: May 25, 2015 12:41 am

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Solution 48
Posted May 24, 2014 6:28 pm

aBugeS
aBugeS
Reps: 77
It may be important for the teacher to explain to the girls why the students are saying these things to them. The teacher should also make the students understand that they are doing nothing wrong by showing each other affection in what they deem to be a culturally accepted way. The teacher may also allow the two girls to share their culture with the students. I also feel that the students that are harassing the girls need to be disciplined and it needs to stop. I would consider this bullying. I would suggest the teacher involve the school counselor and maybe they could both speak to the girls together. The teacher should give the students an opportunity to share their culture and respect the students decision if they decide not to. I think that by the students sharing their culture they can help develop tolerance in those that have a misunderstanding of it.
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Solution 49
Posted May 25, 2014 4:31 pm

Kristen Eason
Kristen Eason
Reps: 57
The first that that is need from the adult is to clear the air about the two new students and their friendship with one anther. I feel that students will be more understanding and accepting to this once they too know the full story. However, I don’t see the point on “making” the girls stop holding hands. My personal though on that is, I have a best friend that’s almost like a sister to me. Whenever we would see each other in the hallway we would race to give each other hugs. I feel that this might also be a safety mechanism for the two girls considering the fact they are both new to a school and country and know absolutely nobody.
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Cardia Foster
Cardia Foster
Reps: 73
I agree with your solution. As a child I too had a best friend and we held hands to symbolize our friendship. It's very important for the teacher to talk to the students and make them aware of the things they do in their culture.
  Posted on: May 26, 2014 3:06 am

Whitney Johnson
Whitney Johnson
Reps: 97
I agree that the air must be cleared some how. How do you appropriately do this though? Do you address it while they are in the room? I would say it would be better to address it without them in the room; however, that just feel secretive as if you are going behind their backs in order to solve the solution. Perhaps a parents perspective on their end would be nice too.
  Posted on: September 8, 2014 2:24 am

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Solution 50
Posted May 26, 2014 1:36 am

James Moran
James Moran
Reps: 62
I think you should empower the students to make the choice of how to deal with this issue. The teacher could explain to Ade and Elsa that girls holding hands in the United State may be seen by other students as a sign of a lesbian relationship. The teacher can also explain to some of his students that holding hands is simply part of a friendship in some cultures. When both sides of this issue understand the misunderstanding of the other side the parties involved are empowered to make better decisions. Ade and Elsa may decide to stop holding hands or they may decide that the other students will need to adjust the thinking. Either way the students have a better understanding of each other.
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Alisha Wesley-Moore
Alisha Wesley-Moore
Reps: 60
I think educators should help students understand that there are more cultures in the world, some that may seem strange to us. We need to educate them on the differences; what may appear this way to us maybe been seen totally different by someone of another culture. I wish public school could have a multicultural diversity course. The U.S. has so many different cultures. It is a very unique nation. While we see so many other countries consist of homogeneity, we have a country build on cultural differences. More education on our differences is very much needed.
  Posted on: May 28, 2014 9:24 pm

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Solution 51
Posted August 30, 2014 12:52 am

Ashley Smith
Ashley Smith
Reps: 107
I believe the teacher should explain to the children in the classes that friends holding hands in some cultures is completely normal. Teachers have to communicate the differences that people experience throughout the world to help spread knowledge about culture, rather than rumors about something that is completely insensitive. I think Ade and Elsa would have not experienced any such problem, if the girls were in a primary grade (such as kindergarten or first grade). Many girls are seen holding hands at a young age. Since they are older, the impression they are making towards their peers is one that needs to be addressed with everyone involved. I think the teacher should explain to the girls the perception that they are indirectly sharing with the other students around the school. Ade and Elsa should realize that different cultures view actions in various ways. I hope the conversation that the teacher has with all students in the situation can begin other discussions about certain choices that would be acceptable in different countries throughout the world.
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ezasyp
ezasyp
Reps: 107
I agree about how age can make a difference in how students respond. Middle school is a rough time period for all students. If they notice even the slightest thing about another student they are quick to call it out. Had it been at another age level this probably would not have even been an issue.
  Posted on: September 4, 2014 7:21 pm

Jonathan Buys
Jonathan Buys
Reps: 42
Good point that they probably wouldn't experience discrimination at the earlier grade levels. Coming to a new culture during middle school will be tough no matter what. I agree that teaching the other students about different cultures is the way to go. Trying to make these girls adapt will only alienate them further. they are already insecure teenagers, in a strange country, and have rumors spread about them. Having the teacher reinforce the other students by essentially inferring that what they were doing is wrong would be very damaging.
  Posted on: September 6, 2014 8:51 pm

ezaDyR
ezaDyR
Reps: 100
Middle school is that age where students are growing, peer pressure is something that affects students. Friends form groups where others may not be accepted. Friends become bullies and bullies become enemies.
  Posted on: October 16, 2014 11:33 pm

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Solution 52
Posted August 30, 2014 7:52 pm

aHeRaL
aHeRaL
Reps: 112
The first lesson seems to be about the problem of spreading rumors. I would treat this as any normal case of a rumor that is spread with the intent to hurt another person, which is fairly normal in middle school. I would try to find the person who started the rumor, and have a conversation with that student and the parents about rumors and the potential impact they can have on others. Then I would have a meeting with Ade, Elsa, and their parents to explain the situation and the cause of the rumors. I would also explain that students starting rumors is not acceptable, but it is also difficult for middle school students to understand the difference in cultures and the outward expressions of friendships. Lastly, I would have the student who started the rumors apologize to Ade and Else, and then explain to the class the ideas of different cultures and expression of friendships. At this point, I would leave it up to Ade and Else on whether or not they would continue to hold hands at school.
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Solution 53
Posted May 24, 2015 6:22 pm

Beth Jackson
Beth Jackson
Reps: 71
I do not believe I would feel comfortable telling the girls to stop holding hands, but I would try and explain what message it is sending to their peers and classmates. I would explain to the students in the class the different view points of holding hands across various cultures. While doing this, I would explain to the girls the viewpoint the US has on holding hands and the nonverbal message they are unintentionally sending. After explaining this to the girls, I believe the decision of holding hands is theirs to make. They understand the message they are sending, and if they continue to do it they will have to be prepared for the rumors and remarks that will be made.
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Solution 54
Posted May 24, 2015 10:36 pm

zyWyma
zyWyma
Reps: 70
I think that the main problem here is not a cultural issue. The problem here is that kids can be very mean. Whoever started the rumor did so to make his or her self feel more powerful. That child is being a bully. I am not an immigrant, but I remember holding my same-gendered friends' hands in public. I remember several of my other school mates doing the same. What I would do is inform the school councilor of the situation. Maybe he or she could arrange for a school assembly addressing bullying, making assumptions about someone you do not know, and spreading rumors. I think that this will help make all the students more aware of the impact of their actions on others as well as not drawing further attention to Ade and Elsa.
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Misty Coleman
Misty Coleman
Reps: 73
I did not think about the case in this way, but that is an interesting way to approach it. Students today are very mean. The students could have approached the girls before talking and spreading rumors. I do feel that the counselor should get involved and an assembly on bullying would be a good idea, but I also feel it is important to address the fact that this is a custom of a different culture. If students are taught to understand the differences in cultures they may not make assumptions as quickly next time.
  Posted on: May 25, 2015 1:17 am

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Solution 55
Posted September 10, 2015 7:51 pm

Hedynu
Hedynu
Reps: 112
I once read that “much of the assumption we make about other people come not from what we’ve been told, but what we have not been told”. In this scenario, I believe that this case should be a classic moment for educating students on the difference of various cultures. The key is to be creative so that the two Indonesian students do not feel the discussion is directed towards them. One would not want them to have to endure any further embarrassment. Because I teach an ELA course, I would integrate the discussion through the cultural context of a text we were reading. For example, if we were studying Antigone, I would provide a little background about Greek culture and how women were perceive and what was considered acceptable and non-acceptable. Then I would segue into what is acceptable and not acceptable in American culture and have student immigrants and children of student immigrants provide examples from their culture. I would even allow a brief segment of question and answer and comparison and contrast. I think allowing students to bask in a moment of discovery would be educational for both the Indonesian students and the class.
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ehyNyn
ehyNyn
Reps: 109
I love the idea of incorporating the curriculum in to solving this issue. Also, I might give a student a high five in my class and show them that different cultures use different gestures and act different ways to show different things (i.e. friendship). Most kids at this age may not realize that what these two girls are doing is reflecting their culture.
  Posted on: September 16, 2015 9:28 pm

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Solution 56
Posted May 24, 2013 12:11 am

Love Joy
Love Joy
Reps: 78
I would definitely teach the class about the cultural aspects and have the parents of the young girls tell me more about the rituals of their culture. This way when I discuss the implications with my students, I would have all of the facts together. In our school system, holding hands in school is not an option. I would discuss this rule with the students first to let them know that was not the intent.
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tyMaZy
tyMaZy
Reps: 26
I definitely agree that the parents should be involved at this point. You should let the parents know what is going on at school and let them decide if they want to tell their daughters to stop holding hands or not.
  Posted on: June 28, 2013 12:54 pm

Mallory Kirkland
Mallory Kirkland
Reps: 26
I like the idea that you added about talking to the girls and getting more information from them about their culture. I think it's important to get information straight from the mouth of people actually living that culture, so that would be something I would definitely do before speaking to the class.
  Posted on: July 1, 2013 2:25 pm

TeTugu
TeTugu
Reps: 21
I fully agree with contacting the parents immediately. It would be great to hear how the parents interpret their culture. Our school also has no tolerance for holding hands in the school so that would be an issue to discuss with the parents and possibly come up with an alternate approach.
  Posted on: September 8, 2013 10:17 pm

BazaNu
BazaNu
Reps: 89
I'm torn on this - I had not considered if the school might have a policy against holding hands. On the one hand, it would not be fair to the other students to allow an exception to the rule yet the girls' culture indicates that hand holding is platonic.
  Posted on: October 7, 2014 8:22 pm

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Solution 57
Posted May 25, 2013 8:41 pm

Monique Cook
Monique Cook
Reps: 70
I believe both solutions would be necessary in order to be culturally sensitive to both sides. The students in the school are clearly a part of a culture where it is not normal for friends to hold hands, which is not bad or wrong. However, Ade and Elsa must know that two girls holding hands in America does not portray the same image it would if they were still in Indonesia. In order for everyone to get a better understanding, I would suggest speaking to Ade and Elsa along with the rest of the school, not separated, and explain to students that this is just a cultural difference. I think it would be great if Ade and Elsa were allowed to talk to the students and explain it themselves also. They could even discuss and show others things that may be different in their country, and some of the student body can tell them about America. The girls should be allowed to practice their culture and beliefs, however they must also be aware that they are in a new place with different beliefs, and be prepared for any ignorance that may occur.
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yzaSeR
yzaSeR
Reps: 68
I like the idea of the two girls discussing their culture to the class instead of the teacher speaking for them. They should be able to advocate for themselves and speak to the class.
  Posted on: May 20, 2015 1:48 pm

HyZery
HyZery
Reps: 70
Perhaps a writing assignment or project about culture for all students would be a good idea so the girls would not be singled out but could still express their perspectives about culture and friendship.
  Posted on: May 24, 2015 11:28 am

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Solution 58
Posted August 30, 2014 6:49 pm

LeHyZa
LeHyZa
Reps: 107
It seems like a fine line whether or not to ask the girls to stop holding hands. The teacher should explain to the girls that holding hands in America is usually an indication of two people in an intimate relationship and that is why the other students perceived them to be in a relationship. Since it is a school environment I don't think it would be culturally insensitive to ask the girls to stop holding hands as long as the rest of the school had to follow the same rules. Many schools do not allow public displays of affection as it is a distraction and inappropriate in a school setting and if this were the case in this school the rules would have to apply to the girls as well. The other students have to be made aware of others cultural traditions so that they are not so insensitive and naive going forward. It may be a good idea to assign groups of students a culture to present as a chance to perform research and expose a variety of traditions that exist in our world.
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Solution 59
Posted September 2, 2014 10:37 pm

GyJeWy
GyJeWy
Reps: 105
I wouldn't tell them to not hold hands to avoid the rumors. I would definitely explain to the students that in Indonesia, same-gender friends holding hands is very common and indicates just that, friendship. I would also search various cultures to see how they indicate friendship to share with the class. If Ade and Elsa wish to share information about their culture with the class I would allow them to do so.
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eQyVuj
eQyVuj
Reps: 200
I would try your first option to try to explain to the students in your class that each culture may do things differently, however, that does not give you the right to jump to conclusions or assume things.
  Posted on: March 1, 2015 3:32 am

Ashley Lawrence
Ashley Lawrence
Reps: 70
I like the mention of not jumping to conclusions. Teenagers have a tendency to do this too much.
  Posted on: May 20, 2015 5:59 pm

zyWyma
zyWyma
Reps: 70
I agree that the students should not be told to not hold hands to avoid rumors. I also really like how you recommend handling the situation. It provides a wonderful educational opportunity without drawing unnecessary attention to the two students.
  Posted on: May 25, 2015 1:06 am

Edward Kim
Edward Kim
Reps: 106
Oh I really like your idea of letting Ade and Elsa teach the class about why they hold hands. You could have each student teach the class something unique about their culture. That way every student could feel like their culture is being represented and is important. You could have one culture day where all students get to share or allow one student to go once a week to help spread it out.
  Posted on: August 30, 2015 9:40 pm

ezajaV
ezajaV
Reps: 102
I really like the idea of having the girls share information to the class about their culture. By doing this I feel that the other students will understand their culture better.
  Posted on: August 31, 2015 12:01 pm

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Solution 60
Posted December 9, 2012 9:44 pm

Jessica Jacobs Graham
Jessica Jacobs Graham
Reps: 116
I would explain the way it looks in our culture to Ade and Elsa. However, I would tell them that if they believe strongly in it, then they should not let what people believe ruin something completely innocent. I would also make sure that my students knew how culturally insensitive they were being. In fact, since this is middle school and they may be interacting with students outside of those you teach I think that it would be beneficial to have all students participate in a cultural awareness seminar or even have a school wide culture day in which students could learn about all different cultures.
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Jessica Heilman
Jessica Heilman
Reps: 58
I agree with this solution. Educating both cultures seems to be the best solution in this situation.
  Posted on: May 20, 2013 8:48 am

Johnnie Skelton
Johnnie Skelton
Reps: 104
I love the idea of a cultural awareness seminar. There are probably parents and community members who would be willing to contribute, and this would benefit the entire school, not just a single class. My school has a character trait that is emphasized and celebrated every month. Perhaps the counselor would have some ideas.
  Posted on: May 23, 2013 7:43 pm

L. Carrell
L. Carrell
Reps: 63
Your idea for a cultural awareness seminar is great. More than just the one class needs to hear about the differences between cultures. It would probably be difficult to include an entire and effective lesson just within a Physical Science class.
  Posted on: May 23, 2013 9:12 pm

LaChristen Boyd
LaChristen Boyd
Reps: 68
I love your idea of a culture seminar. This would particularly be useful in older grades. This would open the eyes of children who do not have knowledge about other groups of people in a positive way.
  Posted on: May 24, 2014 7:13 pm

ePeHyM
ePeHyM
Reps: 105
Middle school students might be more accepting of a cultural day as opposed to a cultural seminar. If the issue were turned into something fun where the students still learn (such as a cultural day) then there is the possibility of them accepting the young ladies' behavior. However, if they are required to sit through a cultural seminar it could create backlash and cause more problems for Ade and Elsa. Also, I would not necessarily tell them to continue holding hands nor to stop holding hands, but I would make them aware of the situation and allow them to make their own decision.
  Posted on: August 29, 2014 4:52 pm

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Solution 61
Posted December 13, 2012 10:53 am

Kenneth Smith
Kenneth Smith
Reps: 26
I would go with the first solution to this scenario. I would also tell the students that if any of the students were starting the rumors that they should stop, and if they did not that there would be some consequences to follow.

I have seen several female students hold hands while walking with each other, and most of them are in any relationships of the sort. They are all really close friends and have been for quite sometime.
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Ashley Smith
Ashley Smith
Reps: 107
I think creating consequences for the actions of spreading rumors will help the other students see the hurtful feelings that are being experienced by Ade and Elsa. Before the punishment is given to the students that spread the lesbian relationship rumor, the other students should be informed about the customary choice of holding hands in other cultures. The teacher should allow the girls to present information about holding hands is a sign of friendship in their native country. If the rumors continue after the information session, then the consequences should be given to students that continue to make unacceptable choices in the learning environment.
  Posted on: August 30, 2014 1:00 am

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Solution 62
Posted February 11, 2013 1:51 pm

Maggie Coyne
Maggie Coyne
Reps: 31
For this particular situation I think you need to do both of your options. First, explain to Ade and Elsa that in the U.S. when people of the same sex it is assumed that they are more than friends. This needs to be done in the most sensitive way but just explain that you understand they are from a place where hand holding is a sign of friendship. Answer their questions and let them know that you are there for them during their transition from Indonesia to the U.S. Then, have a class discussion including Ade and Elsa where you can discuss how cultures all have different ways of showing emotions and feelings for one another. I would even let Ade and Elsa tell the story about their families and answer questions from their classmates. This will open the other students up to the idea of other cultures and their differences. Hopefully the students will be less close minded and understand Ade and Elsa a little bit better.
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Carol Whitfield
Carol Whitfield
Reps: 56
I like your idea of incorporating the girls into the lesson and allowing them to share their story. Sometimes the best remedy for ignorance is allowing someone to her another person's story.
  Posted on: May 23, 2013 10:02 am

yheraZ
yheraZ
Reps: 68
I like your idea about letting the girls share things about themselves with the class, I defiantly think that would be helpful.
  Posted on: May 24, 2013 10:42 am

qyzeha
qyzeha
Reps: 105
I think that involving the girls in the lesson is a great idea. If their teacher was the only one that talked to them, then many of the students would see this as a lecture and not learn from it. The students will probably learn much more form hearing the girls talk about their culture first hand. The girls will probably learn a lot about the way their classmates think if they hear the questions they have for them during the discussion.
  Posted on: June 4, 2013 4:07 pm

maTepe
maTepe
Reps: 22
I agree that both should be done. The class should be educated on the girls culture and the girls should be educated about our culture. It was a good idea to allow the girls to be a part of the discussion to the class. I also think that they need to understand that even though their classmates may understand after an explanation what about others they come in contact with.
  Posted on: June 28, 2013 11:11 am

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Solution 63
Posted May 20, 2013 8:45 am

Jessica Heilman
Jessica Heilman
Reps: 58
I would do both. I would explain to the American students that hand holding in Indonesia is just a culturally acceptable thing. I would then give other examples of culturally acceptable behaviors that may be different to Americans from other parts of the world. For example, Hispanics kiss on the cheek to greet each other. We don't do that but to them, that is normal. I would also explain to Ade and Elsa the reason why the other students are thinking they are in a lesbian relationship. I wouldn't tell them not to do it, I would just explain to them why and let THEM decide how to move forward. I would also call their parents and explain the situation to them, just so they are aware.
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Kris Peebles
Kris Peebles
Reps: 58
This is a great post. I think that it is a great idea to let them decide on how they handle the situation. I also think that it is a great idea to inform the class of their customs. I enjoyed your response.
  Posted on: June 30, 2013 10:24 pm

wendy burns
wendy burns
Reps: 80
I agree with the ideas you shared in your post. It is important to educate the class and let them know the customs in other countries.
  Posted on: May 23, 2014 12:25 am

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Solution 64
Posted May 20, 2013 12:22 pm

yheraZ
yheraZ
Reps: 68
I think that incorporating in a lesson about friendships in other cultures would be appropriate. The lesson could include videos of people from all different cultures demonstrating the ways they show their friendships. I think that having the other students view this would make them more aware of how other cultures display their friendships and it would hopefully help them find the girls holding hands more acceptable. This assignment would be hard to fit into a science classroom but if your school uses team teaching hopefully the social studies teacher could help you with this lesson. I would also in the most culturally sensitive way possible explain to the girls that Americans don’t display their friendships in that way but also at the same time try to let the girls know that they should be comfortable continuing to display their friendship in the way that they always have and let them know that you support them and will help them anyway possible.
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Nicki Kinner
Nicki Kinner
Reps: 68
I think this is a great idea. It is important to include all cultures in lessons. It makes it interesting and relevant for all students. The teacher should also take the time to explain American culture to the girls and explain why the students are saying the things about them (even if it is inappropriate for the students to do so).
  Posted on: May 21, 2013 11:10 am

Carol Whitfield
Carol Whitfield
Reps: 56
I agree the teacher should create a lesson to enhance their minds on cultural differences. An educator's job does not stop after the standards are meet and assessments are graded. Along with their parents, we are also helping raise the youth of America. As a society we need to teach our students to be more open minded about differences. It is the only way we can continue to prosper as a human being and as a nation.
  Posted on: May 23, 2013 9:14 am

VyQaqu
VyQaqu
Reps: 71
This is a great idea. Having a lesson on different signs of friendship from around the world would be interesting to the students. I would, however attempt to talk to the Social Studies teacher about implementing this type of lesson so that it is not suspicious or blatant to who the lesson is focusing on.
  Posted on: May 25, 2013 1:29 pm

Stephanie Harmon
Stephanie Harmon
Reps: 84
I think that a lesson on the different ways friendship is expressed in various cultures is a great idea. I feel that this would be a great way to address the situation without calling direct attention to the two students involved, which could embarrass them. Cultural sensitivity begins with awareness and it is up to us to help our students reach this.
  Posted on: May 25, 2013 4:52 pm

Jessica Briley
Jessica Briley
Reps: 109
I think this is a great idea. The teacher could set aside a day to teach the entire class about friendships in different cultures. He can focus on the differing concepts of friendship in America and Indonesia so everyone can see how and why the girls are acting this way. The students need to be taught how insensitive they are being and need to learn how to accept others and try to get know the reasoning behind others actions rather than start rumors.
  Posted on: August 29, 2013 2:05 pm

Tracy C
Tracy C
Reps: 104
I certainly agree with your option for the teacher to use the girls' example to teach a lesson in cultural differences to the students because they are unknowingly displaying a form of ignorance, or should I say they are experiencing a "cultural shock" at the sight of a new cultural expression of friendship.
  Posted on: September 2, 2013 9:31 pm

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Solution 65
Posted May 21, 2013 12:16 am

Brittany Smith
Brittany Smith
Reps: 69
I would use both options despite the fact that it may seem culturally insensitive. The students in the class need to understand the differences between mainstream U.S. culture and the cultural practices of Indonesia. Students should be taught about the importance of cultural diversity; however, just informing one or two classes will not change this behavior in the long term. If Ade and Elsa continue this cultural practice, they will eventually encounter the same problem somewhere along the line. If the two girls continue to feel ousted by American culture, they may completely shut themselves out to it and become bitter and resentful rather than assimilating and growing comfortable in their new environment. I would take the time to privately and gently counsel Ade and Elsa on the way that U.S. society views hand holding as a romantic gesture rather than as one of friendship. I would encourage them to embrace their cultural traditions as they see fit, but that they may be subject to similar treatment by other people both in and out of school because most people do not know the differences between the two cultures. By doing this, you are teaching your class the importance of understanding and being tolerant of other cultures, and you are also helping two immigrant children to understand that U.S. culture differs from what they know, which will help them make an easier transition into their new lives.
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Johnnie Skelton
Johnnie Skelton
Reps: 104
It is true that the girls are going to have to understand how their actions are perceived by others, but, just as the girls must exist within the dominant culture, the dominant culture will also be changed by the girls’ actions. Their presence in the school adds a new dimension to the school culture. They may still hear rumors or see giggles, but they have also changed the way that students around them perceive holding hands, even if only to a minor extent. I hope that a teacher addressing this situation would try to help Ade and Elsa understand that their presence and contribution to the school’s culture are important and valuable and make the school culture richer than before they came.
  Posted on: May 25, 2013 8:32 am

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Solution 66
Posted May 22, 2013 1:38 pm

Emilee Roberts
Emilee Roberts
Reps: 69
I would educate my students about the various ways of friendship in different cultures and societies. Many different cultures greet and show affection differently. I think that it is important to fully educate your students on each of these. They need to understand that these practices are fully normal and acceptable behaviors. I would voice my concern for there harshness about something they were not knowledgeable about. I would encourage my students to ask question that they were unfamiliar with and even think about ways they could help encourage others to do the same!
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Kimberly Spicer
Kimberly Spicer
Reps: 71
I definitely agree with this solution. I would educate the students on differences in our culture compared to others. I would also mention some of the things we do in our culture that other cultures might find unacceptable.
  Posted on: May 23, 2013 11:16 am

gyjyjy
gyjyjy
Reps: 71
I agree with your solution, that we should and must educate our students about differences that may exist in cultures around the world and we should be acceptable to learning about these differences. We can provide a mini lesson on cultural differences to our students and then have our students work in small groups to find out more about cultural differences when it comes to how friends show affection. Students can present their findings to the class and hopefully teach them to appreciate differences and be more aware of things next time before they make ugly remarks without being fully educated on what is taking place.
  Posted on: May 26, 2013 4:48 pm

April Rozier
April Rozier
Reps: 110
I agree with your solution because I feel the students need to understand that you do not immediately judge others. Differences exist and encouraging the students to ask questions when they are confused is an important lesson for the classroom and life in general. Also, having the girls ask questions will help them to understand the American culture and why the others were assuming their behavior represented homosexuality.
  Posted on: October 13, 2014 1:32 pm

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Solution 67
Posted May 23, 2013 9:11 am

Carol Whitfield
Carol Whitfield
Reps: 56
This is a serious matter. The situation is honestly a form of bullying. Therefore, I would not tell the girls to stop holding hands, and I would tell others to not spread rumors about the girls. As a educator, it is your job to make sure that all students feel safe, respected, and welcomed. The teacher should inform the students that different cultures have other ways of expressing friendship and love. Actually, I feel as if the teacher should create a lesson about cultural differences so that the students can embrace all of their differences amongst each other. Maybe the teacher can conduct a simulation based on individual differences and grow from there. A multicultural book may even help ease the tension and rumors amongst the students. Actually, I suggest a book called "The Name Jar". It's a book that can teach all students of different ages and cultures about embracing their own differences and other people's differences.
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Monique Cook
Monique Cook
Reps: 70
A great book or story is always a good way to get people, especially younger people, to sit back, listen, and think .I too would encourage the girls to continue holding hands. Just because everyone else in the school has come to the agreement that the girls are lesbian because they are holding hand, does not make it different than a rumor that could have been started from a picture an American girls post on the internet. They should be handled the same way. Bullying in bullying!
  Posted on: May 25, 2013 8:52 pm

Heidi Landon
Heidi Landon
Reps: 58
I agree that telling the girls to stop holding hands would not be the best option. Having mini lessons to increase student knowledge of other cultural habits. We often tend to disagree with things that other cultures find normal for the simple fact we do not understand them. I think have discussions with students and making them more aware of cultures and even allowing the girls to share their experiences from their homeland could help out as well!
  Posted on: May 26, 2013 11:43 pm

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Solution 68
Posted May 23, 2013 6:09 pm

eDaNep
eDaNep
Reps: 66
I believe you would be doing the girls a disservice by not educating them on how friendship is displayed in America and why the other students misinterpreted their holding hands. Perhaps options of showing their friendship could be presented but they should be able to choose their own responses to the information shared. I believe sharing the videos to a group of 7th graders may not help and could even further harm the girls given the situation. Students at that age may find a video more comical instead of informative and could further isolate the girls.
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Solution 69
Posted May 23, 2013 9:03 pm

L. Carrell
L. Carrell
Reps: 63
Both of the proposed options should be done but very carefully. If the Physical Science teacher of a 7th grade class is talking about cultures and not Science, the students will know why they are being told this and it could make the situation worse for Ade and Elsa. Students at that age can be mean, and they may pick on Ade and Elsa even more because the students will know they ran to the teacher. If the students share the same classes, it may be better that the social studies or history teacher go over the cultural differences with the classes. The teacher should not tell the students not to hold hands, but politely suggest they not do this at school because the students may continue to talk about them. The teacher should probably send them to the school counselor to get their advice as well.
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Solution 70
Posted May 26, 2013 10:15 pm

yVyLyG
yVyLyG
Reps: 69
In addition to explaining how certain cultures have traditions that don translate in American, you can show how certain American traditions (high-fiving, for example) can mean something else in another country. Often kids cannot place themselves in someone else's shoes until they are actually wearing them. Teaching cultural sensitivity would work best in this situation if everyone could see examples from both sides of the fence.
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Hope Crosby
Hope Crosby
Reps: 122
I agree. In order for both sides to understand the differences, they must be made aware of how others perceive differing cultural practices.
  Posted on: September 4, 2013 11:04 pm

Nick Hanna
Nick Hanna
Reps: 71
You make a good point about having students take everyday activities (high five, hand shake, hug, etc.) and view them from the perspective of another culture. This would serve as a true eye opening experience for the students.
  Posted on: May 25, 2014 5:50 pm

Krissy Chance-Bailey
Krissy Chance-Bailey
Reps: 65
The young ladies have a connection that helps the two make it through their school day with some familiarity. I am sure student ask the girls about it and they explain, it is a sign of friendship such as high five or hugs. I think it will work it self out.
  Posted on: June 12, 2014 12:02 pm

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Solution 71
Posted June 4, 2013 4:01 pm

qyzeha
qyzeha
Reps: 105
I think both of these possible solutions need to be done. Ade and Elsa are from a completely different culture, and have no background knowledge or understanding as to why their classmates are making these accusations. I do not think the girls need to be told not to hold hands because it their choice if they want to continue to do this, but the girls need to completely understand that if this behavior does not stop then the accusations will continue because this is not a cultural norm in the United States. I also think that you should explain to the other students that holding hands in Ada and Elsa's country does not mean that they are lesbians. The students need to understand that the behaviors and cultural norms in other countries can be very different, and is not that right of them to make fun of students of other cultures and make accusations because they do something different than what the kids are used to. Unfortunately, middle school students can be extremely cruel so there is no guarantee that the accusations will stop, and that the students will understand what you are trying to explain to them but as their teacher you have to try.
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Solution 72
Posted June 28, 2013 9:07 pm

PyruNe
PyruNe
Reps: 47
This would be a perfect opportunity to have all of the students go through some type of sensitivity training. The teacher might arrange to ask the school counselor to have a series of discussions with the class about the effect thoughtless words and cruel labels can have on the affected individuals. Some students in the class might try explaining why they chose to label the girls' behavior in such a negative manner. The teacher might ask the class to empathize with the girls' position of being in a new environment and understand that their actions are considered perfectly normal in their native culture. Also, the girls may have been holding hands as a way of comforting themselves because they were feeling lonely. Such discussions would need to be carefully moderated by an adult to ensure a positive outcome occurs as a result of these student interactions. Additionally, the other students might be given an opportunity to learn more about other cultures and the customs associated with them by integrating them into class lessons.
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Solution 73
Posted June 30, 2013 10:20 pm

Kris Peebles
Kris Peebles
Reps: 58
This is a very sensitive situation. I think that the core of the problem lies with two main issues: 1) classmates are not aware of the custom of holding hands in Indonesia, and 2)7th graders generally have not yet reached social maturity. In order to properly deal with the situation, the teacher must conquer both issues. First, I would privately ask Ade and Elsa if it would be ok to inform the class of their custom. If they agreed, then the teacher could make the class aware that holding hands in Indonesia is a symbol of friendship. Furthermore, this could also be used as a learning experience as everyone learns about a new culture. That would take care of the first issue. To tackle the issue of maturity amongst the students, I think that the teacher should have an open discussion about proper social behavior. This is an issue that students should be informed of, regardless of the subject. Students should be instructed that diversity is the recipe to a productive society and that spreading rumors is immature and juvenile.
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Sara LeClair
Sara LeClair
Reps: 68
I agree that this situation is a great learning experience about cultures and diversity. If the girls are comfortable, they can share about their culture to the class and they will get a better understanding. Still, middle school students are immature and sometimes cannot understand the seriousness of their religion. Therefore, make sure that everyone knows to keep their hands to themselves while at school.
  Posted on: May 18, 2014 8:59 pm

Cardia Foster
Cardia Foster
Reps: 73
I think it's a great idea to let the girls share about their culture. They can tell their other peers why they hold hands and also tell some other things about what they do in their culture. This will show the students that everybody don't do things the same. It will make them aware of other cultures.
  Posted on: May 26, 2014 3:09 am

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Solution 74
Posted July 1, 2013 2:24 pm

Mallory Kirkland
Mallory Kirkland
Reps: 26
My students and I were watching a documentary, and the men in the culture greeted each other with kisses on the cheek. The kids in the class were appalled that two men would kiss, even if they were just friends or family. So, we did sit down and have a conversation about culture and how people act differently in different countries. We went through how people greet each other around the world and how it is not weird for men to kiss in certain cultures.
In this situation, having a culture day could be interesting for the students. You could explore food, traditions, greetings, language, etc., and the students can see the "norms" of other cultures. I know that this type of material can be tied into content easily, so it would not place the spotlight on the two girls, but the kids would gain a greater understanding into their situation and others for future instances like these.
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Virginia Erbele
Virginia Erbele
Reps: 25
I really like your idea of addressing the matter so that it didn’t place the spotlight on the two girls. I also liked that you directly addressed your students’ reactions regarding unfamiliar cultural practices. Educating students on the customs of different cultures (coupled with addressing the issues of making fun of differences) would be a great way to quell the rumors circulating about Ade and Elsa.
  Posted on: July 3, 2013 8:01 am

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Solution 75
Posted July 1, 2013 9:07 pm

Kimberly Stuckey
Kimberly Stuckey
Reps: 18
For Ade and Elsa, it is important to explain the cultural differences/implications of “hand-holding” in Indonesia and the United States. The explanation should allow the students to have a better understanding/view of the situation. However, it is equally important to allow the other students in the class to understand the significance/meaning of “hand-holding” in Indonesia. By discussing the cultural differences, you are promoting students to embrace/respect characteristics of other cultures. Most individuals are interested in cultural differences. In this case, the 7th graders are culturally “unaware” and uneducated. It is our responsibility as educators to address these situations and help foster students who are more open-minded and sensitive to the evolving world and its associated demographics.
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BazuTy
BazuTy
Reps: 116
Yes I agree, expanding the students knowledge about different cultures allows the growth of diversity. In order to understand and accept differences we must have knowledge about the differences to conclude a justified answer.
  Posted on: September 8, 2013 11:57 pm

Kim Lucas
Kim Lucas
Reps: 107
I agree as well, that students in this age group are quick to make uneducated judgements. Helping them understand how different cultures view things such as showing feelings of friendship by holding hands is acceptable would be a great thing to do. I also like the idea of researching other cultures and how they express feelings of friendship.
  Posted on: September 6, 2014 7:29 pm

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Solution 76
Posted July 3, 2013 7:44 am

Virginia Erbele
Virginia Erbele
Reps: 25
I see your dilemma, 7th grade is a particularly brutal time to be “different” in any way. My advice would definitely be to use this as an opportunity to teach students about Ade and Elsa’s culture. I know you’re a science teacher, so it won’t be quite as easy to incorporate the issue in your curriculum, but you could certainly approach the social studies teacher or counselor to aid you in seeking fair treatment for these two girls, maybe even have some sort of multicultural event or speaker. No matter how you decide to approach it, I think directly confronting the issue is the way to go. Customs are different in every country and students’ ideas and knowledge about different cultural customs should be expanded. In many other countries, same-gender friends hold hands. For instance, in Arab countries, Africa, and some parts of Asia, males often hold hands as a sign of respect. Something else I would do is to immediately sit down with Ade and Elsa and explain the typical significance of holding hands in America, just so they can see reasons behind the misunderstandings of their peers. I’d also let them know that you fully intend to address the issue so that their peers better understand them as well. Also, I don’t know what your school’s policies are, but I know that there were very strict rules in the schools I’ve attended regarding physical contact. It may be something to speak with your administration about to make sure encouraging them to continue holding hands won’t get them in trouble regarding the code of conduct. (If it will, perhaps that needs to be challenged or amended).
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aQazuV
aQazuV
Reps: 105
I agree that it would be tough for the teacher to address the issue being a science teacher. I think it would be a great opportunity for the social studies teacher or counselor to address the issue. I agree that both strategies should be used in this case. The girls need to understand American culture just as the rest of the class needs to understand their culture. I think it would be a great learning experience for these students.
  Posted on: September 3, 2014 12:29 am

Jonathan Buys
Jonathan Buys
Reps: 42
I like how you would address the entire problem. Counsel the girls help them understand the reasons behind what others are saying, and address the problem with the whole group. Going one way or the other in this case would not lead to a solution and probably allow the situation to linger.
  Posted on: September 6, 2014 8:59 pm

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Solution 77
Posted August 27, 2013 10:46 pm

upyNuX
upyNuX
Reps: 100
I would start by talking to girls about why the rumors are being spread and I would be very careful to let them know they haven't done anything wrong but it is just the way many Americans see things. I wouldn't tell them to stop holding hands because that is a decision for them to make.

I would also ask them what they would like for me to do. I would offer to have a discussion with the entire class about the different ways people show friendship in different cultures. From what is said the the case study it sounds like there is a fairly large immigrant population so maybe some other immigrant students would be willing to talk about the things that are different in their culture (but I would NOT force anyone to share or put anyone on the spot).

I think I would also go to the principal about it and look into the possibility of having a school assembly concerning this because just talking to your one class about other cultures won't do much to change the whole student population's views. I think something needs to be done on a much larger scale.
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Tracy C
Tracy C
Reps: 104
I would thread lightly on the solution to address the issue on a larger scale - school-wide because middle schoolers don't like to be single-out or put on the spot. Nonetheless, I do agree that the issue does make a teachable moment in increasing the students' awareness of cultural differences.
  Posted on: September 2, 2013 9:36 pm

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Solution 78
Posted August 29, 2013 2:08 pm

Jessica Briley
Jessica Briley
Reps: 109
I think a possible solution (like many others that have posted) would be to speak to Ade and Elsa about American culture and how friends treat one another. Also, the teacher should give a lesson on different cultures (including Indonesia) to show that there are many different ways to show affection to friends. I also think it would be engaging to allow Ade and Elsa to discuss their culture to the class themselves. Perhaps even make it a party/learning experience. Maybe allow Ade and Elsa to bring food/snacks that they would have at home. I think this will help the other students become excited about learning their culture. Hopefully the teacher would also express that it is insensitive to judge others without knowing their story.
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Solution 79
Posted August 31, 2013 10:53 am

Hope Crosby
Hope Crosby
Reps: 122
I would first explain to the girls that hand holding America was viewed differently than in Indonesia. I would also explain that even so, that does not give other students the right to pick on them and call them names.
In addition, I would ask the S.S. teacher to give a mini-lesson on two on different cultures and cultural beliefs from around the world. In this lesson differences could be presented to the entire student body in hopes that they better understand their fellow classmates who may come from different parts of the world.
I also might ask the guidance counselor to speak with some of the ‘influential’ students of the 7th grade about how they can be positive leaders to their peers. Going into details about student differences and why it is important to accept others who believe, look, or dress differently than what’s expected.
After all of these attempts at enlightenment, any students heard saying these remarks or calling names would be reprimanded according the school’s disciplinary action code.
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BeWuXe
BeWuXe
Reps: 117
I did not think to include student leaders in the solution. Middle school students are very social and tend to respect and listen to peer leaders. Bringing in a few of the student leaders and explaining the situation may encourage those speaking negatively about the girls to cease in the rumor spreading.
  Posted on: September 1, 2013 8:02 pm

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Solution 80
Posted September 1, 2013 9:04 am

A Battles
A Battles
Reps: 115
When I was in High School we were shown a video that showed how physical gestures compared in different countries (could be read as cultures.)I would find a video similar to that and show it to the class because that way the students of the classroom and Ade and Elsa could all learn something about different cultures. The students could understand from this video that holding hands in different regions of the world means something different than here in America. Also, Ade and Elsa would be informed and could choose if they wanted to continue to hold hands or not. Maybe even a lesson on being open to gay/bi/transgendered people. (Even though some parents may get upset over this one but in today's time it is becoming more socially acceptable.)
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Solution 81
Posted September 1, 2013 7:56 pm

BeWuXe
BeWuXe
Reps: 117
The first option of explaining to the other children that same gender hand holding is an acceptable display of friendship would be the appropriate choice. For example, as shown in the Lost Boys documentary it is even acceptable for males in some cultures to hold hands as well. However, I do believe it is important for the girls to understand the reasons for the rumors. I find it interesting that in our society when small children of the same gender hold hands, everyone thinks it is cute. However, as children get older it is no longer cute, and becomes unacceptable to most. The girls need to be mindful that with any action there will always be those who support it and those who oppose it. I would recommend the girls speak with a counselor to help them understand why the rumors are spreading. They can then make a choice to continue their hand holding or conform to the American culture and refrain from holding hands while at school. As far as the rumors being spread, it is simply a form of bullying that should be addressed by administration and the counselors. Since many schools have anti-bullying campaigns anyway, it would not seem out of the ordinary to address these issues at a school level. As others have already posted, creating a cultural lesson would fit right in with the middle school social studies curriculum, especially in 7th grade. Having students research signs of friendships in various cultures would make an interesting topic for the students to research and present.
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Stormye Brantley
Stormye Brantley
Reps: 121
I LOVED your response. The girls are CERTAINLY being bullied and something needs to be done about it. Also, having a counselor speak to them is a great idea I had not considered.
  Posted on: September 7, 2013 11:42 am

Nick Thrower
Nick Thrower
Reps: 67
I like the idea of getting others involved. I hadn't thought about bringing in parents to discuss it as well. We don't want students making fun of them.
  Posted on: June 13, 2014 3:33 pm

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Solution 82
Posted September 4, 2013 9:02 pm

yZaveh
yZaveh
Reps: 109
Although it isn’t mentioned when exactly Ade and Elisa came to the United States, I would assume that when they joined the school a couple months ago, it was their first experience in an American school. It’s great that they have well-developed English skills and can communicate well, as this well help them with the academic part of school; however, they are not necessarily skilled in the cultural part of the school community. The concept that female friends don’t hold hands at their age is not something that they have been exposed to; if they haven’t heard the rumors, they would have no indication that it wasn’t normal, especially after seeing romantic couples holding hands in the hallway.

I think the best thing to do would be to talk both to Ade and Elsa as well as the other students, but to approach them in different ways. Perhaps Ade and Elsa can be pulled aside to explain how holding hands is different in US stories. If they haven’t heard the rumors, they may appreciate being aware of them. Students at this age often desire to fit in, so I’m sure they would want to realize that something they’re doing is being interpreted differently than they intended. If they are confident in themselves, this won’t bother them, but they would appreciate learning about US culture. I think it only needs to be brought up with the other students if it can be done in a way that integrates it into the content area lesson, like discussing how theories of physical science come from all of the world, how cultures are different in these areas, etc. This could spur a discussion about how culture is portrayed, and students could share their experiences with different cultural traditions, which would allow the teacher to eventually bring up different views of physical touch.
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Stormye Brantley
Stormye Brantley
Reps: 121
I see it a little differently. If they are new to the United States, holding hands is their coping mechanism to being "thrown into" a new country, language, etc. If that is helping them "survive" middle school I do not think they should be forced to stop holding hands. Perhaps the other students need a lesson in understanding people from other cultures.
  Posted on: September 7, 2013 11:40 am

April Rozier
April Rozier
Reps: 110
I agree that discussing the rumors with the girls is important and offering an explanation on why they are being viewed in this manner based on American culture is crucial. However, I feel that it needs to also be addressed with the students who are whispering and judging the girls.
  Posted on: October 13, 2014 1:37 pm

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Solution 83
Posted September 5, 2013 5:59 pm

jaMyDu
jaMyDu
Reps: 119
I believe that Ade and Elsa need to be educated on how friends interact with one another in America as soon as possible. I believe that this is a case where their culture could potentially cause Ade and Elsa psychological/physical harm. Ade and Elsa have to be taught what a traditional friendship in America is and what it looks like. They need to also be shown the many ways in which the typical friendship in American differs from those of Indonesia. They should be taught who in America holds hands and when they do it. I also believe that the school should have an assembly that celebrates culture and I would ensure that Indonesia is one of the cultures that are covered. I would also celebrate any other culture different from the dominant mainstream cultures of America today. I would educate and celebrate the differences of the students that attend our school every day. I would talk about the many ways in which their culture may differ from our own personal cultures. I would do this with every culture so that the school could begin to build a sense of universal acceptance. The students should understand that this is what makes our country so unique and special. Throughout the rest of the school year each classroom would be encouraged to celebrate their different cultures in some way, shape, or form. I remember doing this in 7th grade. One month we made traditional holiday desserts. Another month we played traditional sports and games (where I first learned about my favorite sport in the world...Rugby). Focusing on how different some cultures are from our own will hopefully shift the focus away from Ade and Elsa.
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Sara LeClair
Sara LeClair
Reps: 68
I think this would be a great way to build universal acceptance and a great teaching moment. Students need to see firsthand how cultures vary from country to country, and why it is so important to respect one another's culture. The girls can learn from this as well as to understand how American children show affection to their best friend.
  Posted on: May 18, 2014 9:02 pm

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Solution 84
Posted September 6, 2013 11:06 pm

Emily West
Emily West
Reps: 102
I would set a time aside for a class discussion about where the two students some from and how holding hands is normal in their culture. Seventh graders can be immature and think this sort of thing is funny and they want to pick on others. I think that having a time to discuss many aspects of their culture and how it's different from ours is a great way for students to see how cultures are different and unique. I think it would also be a good idea to point out some of our own cultural traditions and explain how people from other cultures might think they are "strange". Hopefully an in depth comparison of cultures would help the other students to realize how different the cultures in our world really are.
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HaBuMu
HaBuMu
Reps: 52
Setting aside time for discussion as a class could be very beneficial. Allowing the children to voice their opinions may open many windows for clarification or deeper understanding. I agree that guiding the discussion with cultural differences and ideals that seem strange to others allows the students to stay on task. Hopefully the students being engaged in discussion will allow everyone involved to find respect for differences of all aspects.
  Posted on: September 7, 2014 11:18 pm

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Solution 85
Posted September 7, 2013 11:29 am

Stormye Brantley
Stormye Brantley
Reps: 121
I believe that the students need a lesson on different cultures and how certain things that are not socially acceptable in the United States may actually be commonplace in other parts of the world. The problem boils down to middle school children's lack of knowledge and making rude assumptions. Something needs to be done. The situation should be addressed as soon as possible. As a physical science teacher, it may be difficult to incorporate multicultural cultural education in the classroom. However, speaking with a social studies teacher, English or reading teacher, and have them assign a report or project about another country and the way the show they are friends, etc. If holding hands seems like a lesbian act to the students, then surely they would be surprised (and also enlightened) to learn that some people greet each other by kissing-- even on the mouth.
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TuVuze
TuVuze
Reps: 99
It would be a good idea to incorporate a project into this type of multicultural lesson. Students at this age/grade level should be enlightened as to how different cultures interact with each other.
  Posted on: September 15, 2013 12:10 pm

Kayla Mullins
Kayla Mullins
Reps: 89
I agree that the older students lack in the area of culture education. Therefore they need to be exposed to more cultural influences and education at an early age. Students of other cultures do not join school only at the middle school level. Many of them begin school at a very young age only being exposed to their culture. If American students knew more about various cultures then they would most likely not make ignorant comments.
-Kayla Mullins
  Posted on: September 1, 2014 10:05 pm

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Solution 86
Posted September 7, 2013 12:51 pm

yJaGus
yJaGus
Reps: 106
Coming from a small town where rumors were started daily, I think it is an awesome opportunity to teach about cultural diversity. Because we have such a limited amount of information on what other cultures deem as appropriate, I think that we should grab every opportunity by the horns and teach this age of people about other cultures. Yes, there will probably still be rumors spread because some people are completely unwilling to learn other peoples cultures; however, I think as long as Ade and Elsa know the reason for why they hold hands, it shouldn't matter what other people think. We as a culture sometimes have to ignore what other people say about us and let them know that it doesn't matter what they believe.
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zuPeQy
zuPeQy
Reps: 99
I agree that this would be a good opportunity to teach the students about different cultures. Students will still talk about others but I would imagine some of them would stop because they would understand why the girls do what they do.
  Posted on: August 25, 2014 9:43 pm

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Solution 87
Posted September 8, 2013 11:55 pm

BazuTy
BazuTy
Reps: 116
I would use the first option by explaining to the students the cultural side of friendship in American culture and Indonesia. I will also get assisting from the school counselor.
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Solution 88
Posted September 15, 2013 11:50 am

TuVuze
TuVuze
Reps: 99
It would be helpful to the seventh grade class if they are given a multicultural lesson in characteristics of various friendships around the world. Since Ade and Elsa’s classmates are assuming they are in a lesbian relationship because they are holding hands with each other at school, this would be a good opportunity in the lesson to illustrate a characteristic that is common in Indonesian friendships—hand holding. Equally, Ade and Elsa could be informed (privately, with only Ade, Elsa, and the teacher in attendance) as to why their behavior is eliciting the rumors from their classmates. Ade and Elsa should not be made to feel as if their expression of friendship is wrong; they should simply be made aware of why their classmates would assume that their friendship is more than just that. For instance, the teacher can tell them that holding hands is infrequent among middle schools students of the same gender and is typically deemed more acceptable among elementary and pre-school aged children of the same gender. I would not tell the girls to stop holding hands because this is a part of their culture.
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Megan Teague
Megan Teague
Reps: 55
I agree. I would not tell the girls they had to stop, but I would privately tell them why others are talking about them. How you would incorporate the lesson without making it obvious as to why you are all of the sudden teaching about handholding? Not saying it is a bad idea, but I am just wondering about your thoughts on this.
  Posted on: June 16, 2014 3:44 am

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Solution 89
Posted May 18, 2014 1:57 pm

Destiny Andrews
Destiny Andrews
Reps: 15
What a sticky subject! It is almost like a "pick your battle" type of situation. Solution one is a great idea and the most logical. However, you will still have those "bullying" type students that will listen to the teacher's explanation and have it go in one ear and out the other. On the other hand, solution number two could work to some extent. But telling two students from another county that they cannot practice their culture is extremely insensitive.I would have to agree with your opinion and would stick with solution number one. We should not have the right to judge other cultures just because their practices are different than ours. You give respect to earn respect. To make the American students a little more comfortable, a group discussion or activity would be a great way to get everyone more comfortable with each other. That way, they will understand that Ade and Elsa are just very good friends.
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Solution 90
Posted May 20, 2014 5:07 pm

Nick Thrower
Nick Thrower
Reps: 67
Despite the fact that it may be a losing battle, teachers and schools impact culture. It's important for you to help educate your class on different cultures. We are always looking for teachable moments and this is a perfect one. Of course, you are going to have the students with small minds, but large mouths continue to make fun of Ade and Elsa. It's is still important to fight the battle and support these two.
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Solution 91
Posted May 21, 2014 12:59 am

Elizabeth Comella
Elizabeth Comella
Reps: 51
Ade and Elsa moved to the United Stated from Indonesia where the culture of holding hands was a sign of friendship. Now that the girls are in the United States other students are spreading rumors that the two girls are in a lesbian relationship. As a teacher I would first talk to the counselor at the school. Next I would create a lesson on cultures around the world. I would use examples of many different gestures in other cultures and talk about how those cultures are perceived in the United States. I would give an example then let the students explain to me how those gestures would look to people in the United States. Through this lesson and discussion process the students would then understand how people have different gestures based off of his/her cultures.
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LaChristen Boyd
LaChristen Boyd
Reps: 68
I feel that your way of handling this is good. The counselor there to help the girls talk in a more private setting and is someone the girls can trust. It's apparent that the kids have no knowledge of outside cultures so it would be imperative that a lesson on other cultures be taught.
  Posted on: May 24, 2014 7:06 pm

Beth Jackson
Beth Jackson
Reps: 71
I agree with the importance of informing and educating the other students on the different gestures and their meanings across various cultures. Of course, simply educating them will not make the rumors stop, but at least their classmates will have a better understanding of their meaning and the girls will understand why the rumors have started based on the message the US believes holding hands sends.
  Posted on: May 24, 2015 6:27 pm

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Solution 92
Posted May 21, 2014 11:58 pm

Kimberly Rahn
Kimberly Rahn
Reps: 70
I would have conversations with both girls as well as with the children in my class. I think it is very important to explain to the girls what the culture here is like and why the children are reacting they way they are. The girls need to understand that they are now living in a different "world" and let them decide what whether they want to continue this behavior or not. It would their decision based on their understanding of the situation. I also believe it is very important for the children in the class to understand their culture from which these two girls come from as well. Most children who have a better understanding will probably stop the rumors and will understand.
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Amy Fletcher
Amy Fletcher
Reps: 67
That is a great idea to allow the girls to decide if they should hold hands after explaining to them what it means in the United States culture.
  Posted on: May 22, 2014 2:51 am

Jennifer Loncon
Jennifer Loncon
Reps: 68
I think it is very important to help Ade and Elsa understand where the thoughts of the others are coming from culturally but also to make sure they understand that they are not wrong for continuing to represent their friendship by their culture. They should make the decision for themselves rather than having their culture taken away from them when they have done nothing wrong.
  Posted on: May 22, 2014 3:12 am

Michael Herndon
Michael Herndon
Reps: 68
I agree is is important to educate the girls on the implications of holding hands and letting them decide for themselves whether they want to continue to do so. Educating other students on cultural differences is important as well. I agree that is students understood the cultural difference then most of them would stop making fun or spreading rumors.
  Posted on: May 22, 2014 6:37 pm

Haley Moore
Haley Moore
Reps: 31
I agree that it's not only important for the two girls to understand, but for the other students to understand the situation as well. This is a huge learning opportunity for the whole class. I think that the school counselor should be involved as well just to advise and help the situation along.
  Posted on: May 23, 2014 2:42 am

zaSyNu
zaSyNu
Reps: 58
I also agree it is important for awareness to be raised for both sides of the situation. The girls should be given the information and made aware of the differences in American and Indonesian culture, so that they may make the choice to hold hands not at all, or sometimes when in their homes or away from the school setting.
  Posted on: September 12, 2014 3:01 am

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Solution 93
Posted May 22, 2014 3:00 am

Amy Fletcher
Amy Fletcher
Reps: 67
I think that it is important for students to have an understanding of other cultures and beliefs and the teacher should spend some time teaching about Ade and Elsa's culture so that students can understand why they were holding hands. I would also have a talk with Ade and Elsa about what people in the US thinks that means as well. Ade and Elsa may choose to stop holding hands or continue after they are told, but at least they will understand what other students may continue to say since some kids are just cruel even though they were told about their culture of how girls hold hands.
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aBugeS
aBugeS
Reps: 77
I really think that allowing the girls to share their culture with the class will help some of the students to understand the girls culture. I agree with you, however that some students will continue to be mean simply because the girls are different. We as teachers, need to be aware of these students and find ways to correct this behavior as best we can.
  Posted on: May 26, 2014 1:23 am

Chelsea
Chelsea
Reps: 101
I agree with this solution. I think this mishap is a perfect opportunity to talk about the differences in cultures. It would be helpful to explain to the students the different customs of the girls culture, and explain the American culture to the girls and why their actions may have been misinterpreted. This is a learning opportunity for all the students involved.
  Posted on: October 18, 2014 10:52 pm

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Solution 94
Posted May 22, 2014 4:35 pm

Josh Oglesby
Josh Oglesby
Reps: 69
I would approach this matter from both sides. I would first talk with my other students and explain to them how "other" cultures do things that are different from our culture. Some of these will appear on the surface to be a direct conflict with the American way of thinking such as the 2 girls holding hands. An example that I have used in my science classes is with African tribes using dried animal dung as fuel for fires. My young students almost blow the roof off of the class when this example is provided because they cannot even begin to fathom touching waste, much less burning it. By educating the population they may begin to understand why the provided example is happening even if they do not accept it. on the other side I would counsel the 2 girls as to why the rumors are occurring. Just as their culture needs explaining to their classmates, their classmates culture should be explained to them as well. Telling them to stop holding hands would be akin to suppressing what they have known all their lives and would do little to help them understand the actions of their classmates. By providing them with reasoning behind what is going on you may be able to provide them with clarity on the issue and allow them to choose what actions they wish to take concerning the matter.
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Tiffany Parker
Tiffany Parker
Reps: 69
I agree that the issue needs to be addressed to both the American cultured students and the young girls. Each group needs to fully understand each others culture and learn to respect it!
  Posted on: May 24, 2014 7:41 pm

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Solution 95
Posted May 22, 2014 4:51 pm

Ashley Mays
Ashley Mays
Reps: 64
If I were Ade and Elsa's teacher, I think it would be beneficial to implement both options that you have recommended. First, I would want to sit down with both of their parents and explain the situation that is going on at school and why the students are saying the things that they are saying about Ade and Elsa. This gives the family an idea about what hand holding in our culture looks like to the other students. Then I would explain to the parents that I would like to use this situation as a learning experience for the other students by asking them to do projects on other places in the world and their culture and how it is similar and different from their own culture. I think this would be an eye opening experience for other students who are being culturally insensitive and may not even realize it. I think then Ade and Elsa can make the decision to hold hands at school or to refrain from holding hands. After the project is over, I would address any other issues with students who continue to spread untrue rumors abut their culture with a consequence. I think it is important to not only model respect, but be consistent with what it means to show mutual respect to your peers.
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Michael Herndon
Michael Herndon
Reps: 68
Ashley, I approached the situation in the same manner as you. I believe it is important for the girls to understand what holding hands means in the US, but other students also need to understand cultural differences and be respectful of those differences. If the issues continue, then disciplinary action may need to be taken with the students are are making fun of spreading rumors.
  Posted on: May 22, 2014 6:35 pm

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Solution 96
Posted May 22, 2014 6:31 pm

Michael Herndon
Michael Herndon
Reps: 68
I believe both options can be used. I would explain to Ade and Elsa the cultural differences and what holding hands may mean to students in the United States. I would leave them the decision as to whether they should continue to hold hands, but that they need to understand the cultural implications in the US. I would also exercise option one and explain to students that friends hold hands in other cultures and is normal.
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Solution 97
Posted May 23, 2014 12:29 am

wendy burns
wendy burns
Reps: 80
This most definitely would be a situation in which I would involve the parents and the school counselor. I think the school counselor could work with me to team teach a lesson about customs around the world and how different cultures interact differently.
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Haley Moore
Haley Moore
Reps: 31
Wendy, I agree. I think it would be important to first bring in the parents just so they are made aware of how the situation will be handled and that they are in a safe place. I think it's also crucial that the teacher ask the counselor for help. These situations can be tricky and having a second opinion or someone to advise the situation is very helpful. I feel that the kids that are spreading the rumors could learn a great deal about other cultures through this situation. I do not agree with the option of just telling the girls to stop holding hands, etc. That could come across to the girls as disrespect, anger, etc.
  Posted on: May 23, 2014 2:33 am

vasere
vasere
Reps: 70
I am glad you thought of the parents. It is always a good idea to let parents know of situations at school, especially when a child is hurt, physically or emotionally. Asking the counselors for help would also be beneficial. They may have lessons already formed which address different cultures. Letting the administration know that this has become an issue may also be wise, in case this type of difficult situation continues to spread.
  Posted on: May 21, 2015 1:42 am

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Solution 98
Posted May 24, 2014 6:30 pm

Hannah Nabors
Hannah Nabors
Reps: 68
I think this predicament leaves you with a number of opportunities for communication, education, and advocacy. I imagine the girls, already sensitive to the teasing, have spoken to their parents about what is going on at school. Therefore, I think it would be helpful for you to reach out to the parents. You can establish communication as a general "check-in" and allow the parents to mention their concerns, if they have any. If the topic arises, I would assure the parents that you are aware of the situation and the school is working to resolve it. As for education, I think it would be very beneficial to educate your students about Ade and Elsa's culture. By the same token, Ade and Else could benefit from some additional information regarding American culture. If your discussion of the Indonesian culture could be sandwich into a larger cultural unit, it would make your intentions less obvious and the girls less ostracized. As for making the decision to stop holding hands, I think that rests with the girls themselves. You can encourage them to become their own advocates, speaking up for their culture when they are teased, or allow them to make the choice they are most comfortable with overall.
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Solution 99
Posted May 24, 2014 7:11 pm

LaChristen Boyd
LaChristen Boyd
Reps: 68
I don't think you should tell them to stop holding hands. It's their culture and to them it is right. It makes you wrong and as bad as the children if you tell them to stop holding hands. I think that you should be encouraging and pick a day when all students are present and do a unit on different cultures, ideas, and beliefs. This should open the other students' eyes. At the conclusion of the lessons, have people come in or students share some things from their own cultures. The counselor could even be utilized to teach a lesson, share a book, or talk to the students.
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Nick Hanna
Nick Hanna
Reps: 71
I agree with your opinion to dedicate a day to teach a lesson on different cultures. This will help the other students get a new perspective on differnt cultures and how they vary from the American culture. You could even tie in how some of the things we do (like shaking hands) are viewed and rude and strange in other cultures. I also do believe that the counselor should be utilzed in this sitution.
  Posted on: June 12, 2014 1:29 pm

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Solution 100
Posted May 24, 2014 7:32 pm

Tiffany Parker
Tiffany Parker
Reps: 69
I would not encourage the students to stop participating in their cultural beliefs; however, I would explain to the girls about the American culture and why American students think those things about the girls. I think this would also be a perfect time for the students to complete a cultural differences project. This would allow the students to learn about different cultures and how those cultures display friendship.
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Solution 101
Posted May 24, 2014 11:25 pm

Justin Redmond
Justin Redmond
Reps: 51
I think this is the perfect opportunity to teach the girls their first lesson on American culture. Inform them of what it means to hold hands in America. I would also explain to the class the cultural differences of holding hands. I would also pull a few of my better girl students aside and tell them to be leaders by helping these girls adapt to the new culture. If some of your better students are seen working with these girls; then, other students will take notice. Hopefully this could resolve the issue.
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Solution 102
Posted May 25, 2014 5:44 pm

Nick Hanna
Nick Hanna
Reps: 71
Many middle schoolers have tunnel vision and only see what is directly infront of them. A good solution to this problem would be to have a discussion and have pictures to represent how different cultures celebrate holidays, interact with their peers, food they eat, etc. to help point out to the students that people around the world do things differently. By doing this, you are opening up their minds to different cultures, which will help them to become more open-minded to other cutlures.
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Alisha Wesley-Moore
Alisha Wesley-Moore
Reps: 60
I made a comment similar to yours. I stated that the 7th grade classes should do a report on Indonesia and other countries and compare the cultural differences. Pictures along with explanations of the differences would definitely be helpful. Many of our children here have not experienced other cultures so they respond to what they don't understand. Maybe we could definitely do more as educators to help them learn about the various cultures and in turn have respect for them.
  Posted on: May 28, 2014 9:17 pm

aQazuV
aQazuV
Reps: 105
I like your idea of providing pictures along with an explanation of different cultures. Some students are so close minded to different cultures simply because they are unfamiliar with them. I think it would be a great teaching moment to show the students how these different cultures behave and it would also be a great opportunity for the girls to share their view on their culture as well. This will bring more a "family" sense into the classroom.
  Posted on: September 3, 2014 12:25 am

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Solution 103
Posted May 25, 2014 10:15 pm

Cierra` Barksdale
Cierra` Barksdale
Reps: 61
I believe this is the perfect time to have a conversation with the students about cultures and their belief systems. I would allow the students to take turns sharing their customs and traditions. This exercise would allow the students to familiarize themselves with one another and understand other cultures. During this time, I would allow Ade and Elsa to explain their cultures first. During this time of sharing, I would facilitate the conversation and ensure that all students were being respectful to each others statements.
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Solution 104
Posted May 26, 2014 3:04 am

Cardia Foster
Cardia Foster
Reps: 73
In this case, I would explain to my students how in some cultures this is how individuals symbolize their friendship. I wouldn't want to stop Ade and Elsa from holding hands because they may feel uncomfortable and uneased. I would also tell the students to spread the word that this is what they do in their culture. It's very important for students to be aware of things that are done in other cultures. This will also continue to make a postive environment for the girls.
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Solution 105
Posted May 28, 2014 9:09 pm

Alisha Wesley-Moore
Alisha Wesley-Moore
Reps: 60
Of course, telling Ade and Elsa not to hold hands would not be the option I would choose. I know rumors hurt, but they should continue to express their friendship the way that they usually do. Perhaps you can explain to Ade and Elsa that some students may not understand their cultural believes and take holding hands as more than friendship because that is what the culture here understands. Then they can decide if they want to continue holding hands to express their close friendship.

This would be a great time to meet with the Social Studies teacher and discuss a possible project, if possible, for the entire 7th grade to help this situation. Perhaps the Social Studies teacher can assign a project where the students are placed in groups and research other cultures, mainly Indonesia, and compare some of the other countries' cultures to that of the U.S. Have things fro the students to include such as ways of expressing love or friendship. Have more than one group of 7th graders to research Indonesia. Have the class to present their report/project aloud. This could give the students an idea of respecting cultural differences.

Another option would be to have a seminar on cultural differences for the middle grades. You or others can discuss the topic of multicultural beliefs and backgrounds and how it is important to respect each others differences.
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Solution 106
Posted August 25, 2014 9:41 pm

zuPeQy
zuPeQy
Reps: 99
I think both of the options would be appropriate. The girls need to understand that in the United States holding hands is viewed as intimate and done mainly by people who are in a relationship. It would also be good to explain to the other students that the girls come from a different culture and what they do may mean different things to them. I do not think telling the girls not to hold hands would be culturally insensitive because I have seen some schools get onto their students for hugging; almost as if the school wanted every child to stay in their own personal space. The girls would need to learn how to adjust to the differences in the United States.
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NyVyTy
NyVyTy
Reps: 90
I disagree. I think that it is culturally insensitive to tell the girls not to hold hands. I think that schools are becoming too diverse in the U.S. for others not to accept the cultural differences of other students. Respecting the cultural backgrounds of others needs to be widely enforced in all schools to create a positive learning environment.
  Posted on: September 4, 2014 4:51 pm

aheduX
aheduX
Reps: 112
I can see both views. But my personal opinion, it would be a little in appropriate asking the girls not to hold hands if we are teaching our children to have a cultural fit mind. I would strongly urge other students to not judge the girls. Matter of fact I would take it a little personally if I saw other students "picking" on the girls. I would let students know that other cultures find traditions we, the USA, do silly. In addition, try very hard to teach students that all cultures have played a heavy part in our society and that they need to accept others different from themselves.
  Posted on: September 6, 2014 7:38 pm

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Solution 107
Posted August 26, 2014 3:30 pm

BazaNu
BazaNu
Reps: 89
This would be a great time to meet with other teachers and have a school-wide lesson about other cultures. Books, discussions, and student-led presentations would be useful. I would also advise Ade and Elsa that to others it might appear that they are in a relationship, but again, it is a cultural misunderstanding.
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LeHyZa
LeHyZa
Reps: 107
The idea of a school-wide cultural learning day with presentations led by students of differing cultures is a great way to expose students and faculty of existing cultural traditions within their school. It may also be good to assign groups of students a culture that is not being presented on in order to give students a chance to perform research and expose as large of a variety of traditions as possible.
  Posted on: August 30, 2014 6:32 pm

GyJeWy
GyJeWy
Reps: 105
I like your idea of sharing culture within the school. It could be a "culture awareness" type day/week/month.
  Posted on: September 2, 2014 10:45 pm

ezasyp
ezasyp
Reps: 107
I also like the cultural awareness idea. This would be a great opportunity for social studies teachers to pull information about the countries they are teaching about and doing mini lessons on the cultures of those countries.
  Posted on: September 4, 2014 7:23 pm

Qureby
Qureby
Reps: 102
I had not thought to get the entire school involved, but it would be a great way for all of the students (and staff) to learn about different cultures. Also, by bringing the whole school together Ade and Elsa would hopefully not feel singled out.
  Posted on: September 7, 2014 3:11 pm

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Solution 108
Posted August 29, 2014 5:16 pm

ePeHyM
ePeHyM
Reps: 105
In this situation, I would first have a meeting with the young ladies' and their parents to explain why the other students are spreading rumors about them and the cultural implication that holding hands has in the United States. I would neither tell them to stop holding hand nor continue holding hands but make them aware that if they continue to do so the rumors might not stop. I would want them to make their own decision because this may be the first of many they will have to make as their culture collides with the culture of the United States. It would also be a good idea to meet with the principal to see if they is any way to implement a culture day, where students could present information on their various cultures, if the school where you teach is culturally diverse. This way students could become more aware of the norms of other cultures. In addition, having a culture forum for the teachers and collaborating with them to incorporate more culture related activities would also be a good idea. Sometimes teachers share the same opinions as the students so it would be necessary to have a forum where they understand the importance of understanding cultural differences.
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Solution 109
Posted September 1, 2014 10:01 pm

Kayla Mullins
Kayla Mullins
Reps: 89
I also agree with the other students that you should do both solutions. I would talk with the students about how various cultures work and then talk with the girls about our culture in America. Had the situation been the other way around I believe that a teacher in Indonesia would explain the traits of their culture had an American traveled there to live. It is important for us to accept other cultures but we should also share about our own. This would be a great opportunity for students to learn more about the culture and report on what they learned. At the same time the two new students can report about what they learned about the American culture. It might even be helpful to assign various cultures to the class so that they are learning about several cultures that might integrate into our area. One idea that you have to understand as a teacher is that you are not going to completely stop the rumors but you can educate the students and make them more aware of other relationships and cultures. This will help eliminate the terrible gossip and rumors.

I have seen this in a pre-k class and around my school. We have a high population of Vietnamese students and their families work for a local manufacturing company. These students enter school at a very young age only being exposed to their culture. As a teacher I have had to teach them everything from simple language techniques to how to use eating utensils. The list of understandings is long. With that said I also teach my American students how to help these new students and teach them ways the new students live. This helps integrate both cultures into our classroom.

-Kayla Mullins
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GyJeWy
GyJeWy
Reps: 105
Assigning various cultures to the class would be an interesting project. I have now been pondering how to incorpate a project similar to this into my math class. I have a few places that I can easily relate to the unit we are on, not to find a couple more.
  Posted on: September 2, 2014 10:47 pm

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Solution 110
Posted September 2, 2014 11:31 pm

PyveDu
PyveDu
Reps: 101
After reading I would agree with you on the first strategy. These students need a culture lesson on friendships in other areas of the world. Just as in our same country two friends in the North would hug and kiss each other on the cheek and other friends may give high fives or just use language to communicate a goodbye. Children need to understand that we treat our friends differently around the world. It seems like the easier route to tell the girls to stop holding hands, but that is treating them as unequal and not allowing the students to be themselves. In the year of 2014 students are able to speak aloud about their feelings and their beliefs. This should be an enrichment activity for students to research how other cultures around the world treat people. Not only could it be just on the issue of friendships, but as family and relationships as well. Just seeing how families live together in one household in countries and other families only have their immediate family live under one roof.
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NyVyTy
NyVyTy
Reps: 90
Your solution to the problem is very similar to mine. I think that the problem with Ade and Elsa should open doors for students to learn about different cultures. As long as Ade and Elsa do not invite anyone who is disinterested to be a part of their cultural norm of holding hands, then I don't see a reason to make them stop. Sure, this is the U.S. and we don't necessarily hold hands with ours friends, but what's even more important is that the U.S. has become a VERY diverse country and we must learn to respect and accept other cultural backgrounds.
  Posted on: September 4, 2014 4:56 pm

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Solution 111
Posted September 3, 2014 12:42 am

aQazuV
aQazuV
Reps: 105
I think both options discussed should be utilized in this case. First, as a science teacher, it might not be appropriate for you to address the issue head on in front of the class as a mini lesson. I think you should talk with the counselor and social studies teachers and see if they can address the issue a little more subtlety within their curriculum. That being said, the issue of cultural differences should definitely be discussed here from both viewpoints. The 7th grade class should understand that Ade and Elsa come from a different culture and that in this culture, holding hands is a sign of friendship. It is hard for children to understand culture differences if they have never been exposed to them so it is important to explain and the use of pictures can even be used to give them more of a visual. I also think the issue should be addressed to the girls in that they should understand American culture. If they were told that the rumors are being spread because they hold hands, it is then their decision as to whether or not they want to continue this sign of friendship or adapt to the US culture. I think that if the girls should choose to continue holding hands and rumors continue to be spread, then the issue should be addressed by administration. No one should be persecuted because of the cultural beliefs and they should be free to exercise these beliefs as long as they coincide with the rules and expectations of the school system.
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Qureby
Qureby
Reps: 102
I agree that the situation should be addressed from both sides. The 7th grade students should be taught about cultural differences and that hand-holding and other signs of affection are common between friends in other cultures. Ade and Elsa should also be told why the other students think they are in a lesbian relationship and then they can decide for themselves if they wish to continue holding hands. After addressing the issue if students continue to spread rumors about the girls then it should be taken up with the administration.
  Posted on: September 7, 2014 3:06 pm

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Solution 112
Posted September 4, 2014 4:46 pm

NyVyTy
NyVyTy
Reps: 90
As a Physical Science teacher I would likely speak to other teachers such as Ade and Elsa's English teacher, or U.S. History teacher, to see if there was any way either of the teachers could implement "Walk around the World" type of lesson in their classes. In this lesson students would be assigned a culture to study and would have to create a PowerPoint presentation to present to the class. Student should be allowed to work with a partner or group so that the presentations don't take up much time. Obviously English and History classes would be the two easiest classes to implement this lesson in. With everyone having to present a different culture, it doesn't single Ade and Elsa out from anyone else.In this manner Ade and Elsa would be allowed to share their cultural norms and beliefs, and learn about a few others. I think this activity would create a sense of respect for ALL cultures from majority, if not all, of the students.
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Solution 113
Posted September 4, 2014 7:19 pm

ezasyp
ezasyp
Reps: 107
I understand that it would be culturally insensitive to ask the girls to hold hands, but depending on the school rules there may not be a choice. If these girls attended my school we have a strict no PDA policy. Students cannot hold hands in the hallway it does not matter the gender, race, height, weight, etc of the student. Rules are rules therefore everyone must follow those rules. I would simply explain to the girls that the rule of the school says no PDA. I would also make sure to address my students and clear up the lesbian rumor. I would explain that in some cultures holding hands means that people are friends.
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aheduX
aheduX
Reps: 112
I did not think about mandated school rules being heavily enforced. Per district, I can see that a rule is a rule and that the girls should not hold hands. On the flip side, the parents could counter act with discrimination. Then the school could say we treat all students equal...everyone follows the rules. So, this would be a tough one. I can see both sides. I would not allow my students to talk about the girls. I would teach them that all cultures are important to our world.
  Posted on: September 6, 2014 7:43 pm

Myzusy
Myzusy
Reps: 113
I had not heard of a school with no PDA specific rules so that was very interesting. I do feel that rules are put in place for the safety of students and that students should follow the rules. As teachers it is part of our responsibilities to make sure students are following the rules. However, strict no PDA rules in this case may not be fair to the girls because they would go against their cultural views. As a result I would consult with administration to determine if the strict PDA rules should be enforced. If so then I would conference with the girls and their parents to explain the reasoning for the PDA rules.
  Posted on: October 15, 2014 7:44 pm

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Solution 114
Posted September 4, 2014 9:06 pm

yXeBeX
yXeBeX
Reps: 114
I think the teacher should explain both cultures to all the students in order for them to see the differences between the two. The American students should be informed about the Indonesian culture and how friendship is openly celebrated and expressed. On the same token, the entire class, including Ade and Elsa, should be made aware of the American culture and how friendship is also valued, but not expressed in the same way. Neither one is more right than the other, but simply different due to their beliefs and traditions. It's also important to include in the lesson that when people are in a country with a different culture than their own, many times there may be a need to conform to certain traditions and beliefs in order to not stand out.
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Jordan Nelms
Jordan Nelms
Reps: 104
Good point! Both groups should be talked to by the teachers. An explanation should be given to the girls so they understand that friendship is not expressed that way in America and the other students should be given an explanation as to why they were holding hands in the first place. Taking this route may be the best option because both cultures will be exposed to the other.
  Posted on: September 7, 2014 1:13 am

Kim Lucas
Kim Lucas
Reps: 107
You make a very valid point in extending the conversation to include the tips that no matter who or where you are, if you are in a culture that is different from your own, it is your responsibility to learn about that culture and how you might be able to best fit in. I am not saying that if I went to Indonesia that I would have to give up my culture, but I would not want to offend anyone in that culture by accidentally doing something or saying something. I like that you would explain both cultures to the class and try to get them to begin seeing the differences.
  Posted on: September 7, 2014 4:58 am

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Solution 115
Posted September 5, 2014 7:43 pm

Myzusy
Myzusy
Reps: 113
This problem presents the teacher with a great opportunity to teach students about cultural diversity. Clearly the teacher has taken time to learn about Ade and Elsa's personal background as well as cultural norms in their country. The teacher should ask the class to think of how they define culture and create a cultural definition all of the students can agree on. Then the teacher can explain that Ada and Elsa have just moved to the U.S. and are learning about how to integrate their culture into the school culture thereby creating their own cultural identity as part of the community. The teacher should then teach the class historical and cultural information about Ada and Elsa's country. Ada and Elsa should be allowed to share information about their personal culture including hand holding as a sign of friendship. They should also be encouraged to tell class mates about U.S. or class cultural traditions which seem strange or different to them. This will help class mates understand why the two girls held hands and why it is acceptable to have more than one view. Then the class could do projects on how each individual student's personal family culture may be different from the classes overall cultural identity. They can also identify the numerous ways in which they show friendship to each other. By having an open discussion combined with guided instruction by the teacher the students will be able to learn from each other and will be more accepting of each other's diverse cultural practices.
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Solution 116
Posted September 6, 2014 8:45 pm

Jonathan Buys
Jonathan Buys
Reps: 42
In this circumstance it would be very insensitive to try and get Ade and Elsa to conform the expectations of their peers. It would only serve to alienate them further from the society they are attempting to integrate themselves into. I agree with many others on this forum that the best course of action would be to devote a lesson to cultural diversity and attempt to broaden others students perspective and help them realize that there are other ways of seeing things. However, these are young adolescent children and often their world view is very narrow and limited to what gets them accepted by their peers. Therefore, I would also monitor the situation carefully in case of bullying being carried out by other students. I think you should also counsel Ade and Elsa on how to handle situaitons when others may say things about them or to them. Try to instill a sense of confidence in them. this is middle school and kids can be down right mean to each other, bullying is unacceptable but it isn't going to completely stop no matter the situation therefore a three pronged approach of teaching diversity and acceptance of others, as well as counseling Ade and Elsa on how to deal with bullying and being themselves, and monitoring the situation to address potential bullying directly will be needed.
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Solution 117
Posted September 7, 2014 1:07 am

Jordan Nelms
Jordan Nelms
Reps: 104
This is a situation that I think there is probably no right answer, it could go wrong either way. However, I would probably talk to the girls and ask them what they would like me to do to help them. Do they want me to explain to the students that holding hands is common in their culture or do they want to just stop holding hands so the rumors will stop. I would also explain, that even if they do stop holding hands, rumors may still spread because children can be very mean. Or, you could explain to them, that in the United States friends of their age don't really hold hands. By giving the girls these three different options, it will allow them to have some control over the situation and ultimately they will be making the decision.
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HaBuMu
HaBuMu
Reps: 52
I like the idea of talking with the girls first. Allowing them to decide what you do lets them know that you are ultimately looking out for them. Giving the girls the options to decide allows them to see the outcome of both situations and to prepare for any situation. By involving them in a decision that affects them personally, you are showing your support for them.
  Posted on: September 7, 2014 11:14 pm

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Solution 118
Posted September 7, 2014 5:04 am

Kim Lucas
Kim Lucas
Reps: 107
I believe that I would incorporate BOTH of your options to some extent. Educating the classes about other cultures and explaining to the class that although it is very accepted in their country, it isn't so much here unless you want others to think of you differently than you are. This way, you are not telling the girls that they CAN NOT do something, you are teaching them why it might not be a good idea while here in America. I have to think that I would value someone explaining and trying to teach me or my children if it were me in a foreign country and we accidentally did something to offend or give people the wrong impression.
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Solution 119
Posted September 7, 2014 10:23 pm

HaBuMu
HaBuMu
Reps: 52
I would find a way to complete both options. The students in the classroom and school system need to be aware of other culture groups and traditions. They also need to be informed of the misunderstanding that has occurred. Additionally, the students need to be taught about the harmfulness of rumors. I know this lesson never sinks in for most people though, especially in the high school setting. I would also talk to the girls and inform them of the way this culture views their actions. Although it does seem culturally insensitive, like you stated, the rumors will most likely continue or worsen with age. The girls have to learn some assimilation regarding this or accept that the rumors will continue. I wish there was a more peaceful and culturally aware response but unfortunately this is how the this society works.
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Solution 120
Posted September 8, 2014 2:22 am

Whitney Johnson
Whitney Johnson
Reps: 97
In this situation, I might find a way to incorporate cultural differences into my lesson. For example, as an English teacher, read an article on different cultures, or perhaps find characters in a novel who encompass the same characteristics. This may not work and it may. If it does not work then perhaps another outlet would be good. Either way, I would talk with the two students and tell them the norms set in this country and socially what people may think of them. I would also add that it is ultimately their decision and their cultural values that they may want to hold true with themselves.
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Myzusy
Myzusy
Reps: 113
I like the suggestion of incorporating literature or reading an article about the students culture. By encouraging the whole class to read about the culture of the girls then they will have background information about them. The class may become more accepting of the girls.
  Posted on: October 15, 2014 7:39 pm

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Solution 121
Posted September 12, 2014 1:14 am

egyveW
egyveW
Reps: 103
I would do both of these options. I would explain to the girls that in this country some things are done differently than when they lived in Indonesia, and I would explain to them that the students here are not accustomed to seeing that, and it caused them to jump to inaccurate conclusions. I would also address it with other students if I was able to pinpoint the group or class that had made these conclusions. Once I had spoken to both sides, I would also explain to the whole group that bullying can take many forms, and it is important to realize that when they are unaware of a person's background it could lead to offensive behavior that may be unintentional.
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Solution 122
Posted September 12, 2014 2:56 am

zaSyNu
zaSyNu
Reps: 58
I would speak to both my students about acceptance of other cultures as well as to the girls about what American culture. It is important for students to understand that holding hands in other countries is a sign of friendship, and should never be made fun of or ridiculed. There are many cultures very different from that of the United States, and we must be accepting to others, at all times, and in every situation. It is also important for the girls to understand that friends holding hands is not very common in the American culture, and that they should be aware of the social stigma attached to two friends holding hands. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it, they just need to understand why their American peers are drawing the conclusion of a lesbian relationship, and that is because of their American culture.
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Solution 123
Posted October 7, 2014 8:24 pm

SaSyXu
SaSyXu
Reps: 105
This would be a good time to celebrate different cultures in your classroom. You could spend time every day talking about different cultures and the different norms for those cultures.
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Solution 124
Posted October 13, 2014 1:09 pm

April Rozier
April Rozier
Reps: 110
I believe that you should have a private talk with the girls and explain that for girls their age to hold hands in America is not a regular practice. You should educate them on what is considered homosexual behavior in American culture and what is considered appropriate behavior for female friends. You should not discourage the girls from holding hands but rather allow them to make their own informed decision on how they will act. Also, I would incorporate a lesson on cultural diversity so that the other students understood that not everyone views things the same as them. If the girls were comfortable, you should offer them a chance to share their story so that the other students understand the bond that they share.
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Solution 125
Posted October 20, 2014 3:03 am

Dawn Rogers
Dawn Rogers
Reps: 204
I feel like you have the right idea with both options. Enlightening the students in your class about other cultures is great. I feel like this should happen anyways. At the same time I don't think you should tell them to stop holding hands but, you should tell them that the reason the rumors started was because of that and let them make their own decision on what the feel is right to do.
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Solution 126
Posted October 27, 2014 3:09 am

HyraLe
HyraLe
Reps: 73
I believe that the girls grew up this way so it would be very insensitive to ask them not to do something they had been accustomed to for so long. I thinks the other students should be able to see that in other cultures this is a daily thing. By providing some videos on Indonesian culture and some customs that shows this may help them to understand. I also think that it would be beneficial for the girls to also share some other things they may do in their culture that is not that common here. This way students will understand that some things that we frown upon here, are accepted and normal in other cultures. Students will also get to learn at the same time about some things they may do in their culture that are different from ours and just because it's "different" doesn't mean its wrong.
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Solution 127
Posted March 2, 2015 3:22 am

JuMaPa
JuMaPa
Reps: 100
I'm sure that someone has pointed this out already, but why is this an issue? I am a conservative Christian woman with god tier Rose Lalonde as her icon, & I really dont see why the girls bing called lesbian would even be an issue, unless that comes along with bullying. Why can't we just hold hands& kiss on the cheek & know it is just friendship? As long as both parties agree & there is nothing sexual taking place, what is wrong with physically expressing your friendship? Honestly.
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Solution 128
Posted May 19, 2015 2:20 pm

Kaitlin Stringer
Kaitlin Stringer
Reps: 116
When I was in middle school, holding hands with any other student was not allowed in school. Now that I am a teacher, I realize that this rule (that I thought was silly at the time) might have helped in minimizing these rumors. In this situation, I think it is important to talk with the two girls about why this rumor might have been started. If it was not a rule of the school, I would never ask the students to forfeit their cultural beliefs and stop holding hands. After this, I would lead a class discussion about how different cultures view actions differently. I believe that the students would have started this rumor simply because they are uneducated on the topic. By informing them of different beliefs, they might not be so quick to judge. This discussion might lead to a very interesting group project in which the students explore different cultures and their beliefs.
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emuZuW
emuZuW
Reps: 69
It is good to think about school-wide rules with these kinds of situations. I didn't mention it in my solution by that now makes me think that working with administration (concerning the rules) is also a good idea and good practice. I would at least run it past my principle to let her/him know that it is something I'm planning on addressing and how. Good food for thought! :)
  Posted on: May 19, 2015 9:33 pm

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Solution 129
Posted May 19, 2015 5:42 pm

Kalie Walker
Kalie Walker
Reps: 66
I think I would first start by meeting with the two girls and explaining to them that in the American culture, people can misconstrue same sex people holding hands because it is not a common occurrence and they should not be ashamed of their actions. I would then put together a small assignment or presentation for your class about common differences in American culture vs. others (such as Indonesia) and allow for the girls to help you present it. Some examples may include the different food, the way they dress, driving rules, and then lead into the holding hands difference. I would then educate them on some similarities of the two cultures as well. I think in doing this it will give the girls a way to also explain to their peers in some ways they are different but at the same time can have things in common and they can all learn something from this assignment.
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Solution 130
Posted May 19, 2015 9:30 pm

emuZuW
emuZuW
Reps: 69
I think that I would use a little bit of this and little bit of that from the solutions that were already given. One post suggested that various cultural expressions be shared through a lesson. I think this is a great idea, and to take that a little further I think it would be very easy to create this opportunity through a force and motion (since the content is Physical Science) class-wide lab. You could have the students interlock arms, hold hands, and so forth through exploring force and motion upon each other (balanced and unbalanced forces, etc.). As the teacher you could use guided instruction to focus on the force/motion and then turn the focus to what is being done (holding hands and interlocking arms). Tell the students your objectives at the start of class and let them know that as a class you'll explore force and motion while integrating cultural cues as well. An example would be as you have a pair of students hold hands and lean away from each other you could tell about how their forces are balanced or unbalanced, then you could focus on the action of holding hands and ask what that usually means here in the US (comforting a friend, giving strength to help up, in love, etc.). You'd go on to tell about what it means in other parts of the world and even let the girls share if they raise their hand to do so. Then continue to do this from group to group until your guided instruction has covered at least 4 or more forces and varied cultural cues.

Then at the end of the lesson, I'd bring it all together by summarizing what was learned (graphic organizer or similar chart) in both Science and Social Science for that lesson-- maybe even have the students reflect (journal entry) on a new Science fact they learned and a new Social Science fact they learned that day as a ticket out the door.
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Solution 131
Posted May 20, 2015 2:06 am

Sarah Davis
Sarah Davis
Reps: 69
This is a very tough situation to be in. I completely understand why you need the help. In my opinion, both of the options you have listed should be addressed. You should explain this tradition to your classes and explain to Ade and Elsa why these rumors are circulating. I believe that a lesson could help students have a better understanding of various traditions that seem "not normal" in our tradition. I would even discuss that other countries believe some of our traditions and the U.S. are silly. This is definitely a situation in which all students involved could learn a great deal about cultural diversity.
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zyzaSy
zyzaSy
Reps: 68
I believe it is an excellent idea to flip the situation and have American students analyze their own culture with how people from other cultures may view certain gestures as silly or strange. This take the scope off of Ade and Elsa and expands it to the other students. I think that this would make for an excellent discussion although I doubt a whole day's lesson considering the teacher teaches Physical Science. I am having some trouble connecting the situation to Physical Science.
  Posted on: May 25, 2015 2:34 am

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Solution 132
Posted May 20, 2015 1:46 pm

yzaSeR
yzaSeR
Reps: 68
Like others have said, I would explain to Ade and Elsa how the difference in the culture here in the United States and Indonesia are the reasons that these rumors are spreading. However I would also explain to them that that does not mean that they can not express their friendship in that way. Rumors are terrible, no matter what they are about. Just because rumors have started does not mean they have done anything wrong in any way.
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jamasy
jamasy
Reps: 67
It would be important to let them know why everyone thinks this action is out of the ordinary. I just think it would be hard to pass up the opportunity to let the girls teach my class about their homeland if this was my class. This will also give the girls an opportunity to decide for themselves what aspects of American culture they want to adopt for themselves.
  Posted on: May 20, 2015 2:53 pm

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Solution 133
Posted May 20, 2015 2:50 pm

jamasy
jamasy
Reps: 67
I think the best solution would be to hold a group session where you educate your students on Indonesian culture. This would be an interesting experience for the students. Maybe even have the two girls teach part of the lesson. This would help with the situation and would give the girls a chance to decide for themselves if this is something they wish to continue doing or if they want to stop on their own. It would be a bad choice to tell them to flat out stop doing it yourself. You are not from their culture so that would coma across as culturally insensitive. It would be difficult to pass this situation up as a learning opportunity.
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Solution 134
Posted May 20, 2015 5:58 pm

Ashley Lawrence
Ashley Lawrence
Reps: 70
I would have to say tell Ade and Elsa why students think they are in a relationship. I would explain to them the thinking of the students in order to allow the two girls to make their own decision about whether they want to continue to hold holds or to not hold hands. Just like the students not understanding Ade and Elsa's culture of holding hands, the girls did not understand the students' culture of girls holding hands.
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Nicole Turner
Nicole Turner
Reps: 70
I discussed this as well. If the girls knew why the students were laughing at them, then I am sure that the girls would limit their hand holding because they would not want to be portrayed in that way in the American culture.
  Posted on: May 21, 2015 1:10 am

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Solution 135
Posted May 20, 2015 10:29 pm

Monica Rainwater
Monica Rainwater
Reps: 71
I think it would be a great idea to explain to the students in the class that hand holding is a normal occurrence in their culture. I also feel like this would be a good way to open up discussion about how some cultures are different from one another, and use this opportunity to explore/research multiple ways that this statement can be proven true. This activity could be used to foster more empathy and acceptance of others. I also feel like this situation provides you with the opportunity to remind your students that school is not the proper place to be discussing boyfriends, girlfriend, lesbians, etc. I've always told my students that while they are at school, the standards/common core curriculum are their girlfriends and boyfriends, so actually we shouldn't have any spare time to worry about "relationships."
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Nicole Turner
Nicole Turner
Reps: 70
I also discussed about not limiting it to just hand holding in other countries, but to discuss multiple gestures or meanings from around the world.
  Posted on: May 21, 2015 1:08 am

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Solution 136
Posted May 21, 2015 1:06 am

Nicole Turner
Nicole Turner
Reps: 70
I would try to talk to both parties so that each know what is going on and why it is going on. I would not tell the girls to stop holding hands, because that it part of their culture and part of what the know. But, I would explain to the girls why others find this behavior different and explain that in the American culture certain things have a different meaning than in their culture. I believe that this would probably limit the girls hand holding, because they would understand the meaning in American culture and would not want that being portrayed on themselves. I would also explain to the class the different meanings of multiple things in other countries and not just limit it to hand holding. Show them a variety of different objects or gestures that are portrayed differently in other countries.
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Solution 137
Posted May 21, 2015 1:38 am

vasere
vasere
Reps: 70
I think it is unfortunate how fast our culture jumps to conclusions, me included. I would apologize to Ade and Elsa on behalf of their classmates. Then I would let them know that I was going to try to help the other students understand, and I would need Ade and Elsa to be kind of quiet at first during the class discussion. I would begin the conversation with my students by asking them all to describe ways they interact with their friends, both now and in the past. I would ask what they like to do together, how they show each other they care for one another, how they talk to each other, etc. I would think that eventually someone would mention that they hug and/or hold hands. This would be evidence that friends of all sorts behave this way at times. We could then talk about each of these interactions and discuss how different cultures interact differently. We need to be careful what we assume based on appearances. It would also be important to explain to the students that calling someone a lesbian should not be used as an insult, even if they disagree with that lifestyle.
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Solution 138
Posted May 21, 2015 2:18 pm

deTusa
deTusa
Reps: 74
This is a tough issue. I would probably explain to the other students that in their culture this was acceptable and just showed that they were friends. I would also explain to the two girls that in this culture this thought to mean something different and that the students here just did not understand. I would not tell them to stop holding hands, but I would explain to them that if they continued they would probably be scrutinized because of the lack of knowing by the students here in this culture. This would give the two girls a choice and let them know why the students were saying what they were.
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Solution 139
Posted May 21, 2015 6:58 pm

Chris Clark
Chris Clark
Reps: 70
Unfortunately, explaining to students the cultural side of their friendship and why they hold hands will probably not solve all of the problems or stop all of the talking, but I still think that is the only appropriate solution to the problem. After all, there is nothing wrong with what Ade and Elsa are doing and to make them stop would, to put it one way, "punish the victim." Students who are making harsh judgements about others (not to mention indulging in homophobic bullying) are the ones that need to learn from the experience. Hopefully, if even only a few students really understand what the teacher is trying to explain, those students can help spread the idea of cultural sensitivity and appreciation for diversity. I believe that, if presented in the right way (for example, as a thoughtful conversation, rather than a chastising lecture), this could be a wonderful learning opportunity for the students who were making fun of the girls. I would suggest a unit on Indonesia, during which Ade and Elsa could share some of the great things about their country. Then, the idea of hand holding among friends could be explored as part of the richer, more vibrant context of Indonesia as a whole.
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zyzaSy
zyzaSy
Reps: 68
I think that using this situation as a lead in for a unit is an excellent idea. It also gives Ade and Elsa and opportunity to share their culture with their classmates, most of whom have likely never considered Indonesian culture. The only issue I see here is that the teacher is in a Physical Science classroom so it is unlikely that they can incorporate an entire "social studies" unit into their Physical Science curriculum.
  Posted on: May 25, 2015 2:31 am

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Solution 140
Posted May 21, 2015 9:06 pm

Tina Joiner
Tina Joiner
Reps: 63
I would have to address the implications of spreading rumors first and how it affects others. You could use the scenario where you whisper something in one student's ear and students take turns whispering the same thing in each other's ear until you get to the last student. In most cases, what the last student says is not what was said to begin with. Students need to understand how what one says affects others and becomes distorted after told from one person to another. I would also example explicitly different cultures throughout the world. You could add the question, Why do football and baseball players spank each other on the bottom parts? That could be questioned as well. There are many things that many different people do that may seem different from what we perceive as appropriate. But until your students understand cultural diversity, the rumors may continue and the feelings may continue to get hurt.
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Solution 141
Posted May 21, 2015 9:52 pm

Amanda Morris
Amanda Morris
Reps: 70
I like the idea of explaining to the class that in Indonesia holding hands means friendship. Then I would go into a lesson on different cultures. I will have the students compare and contrast how other cultures look at friendship and how they show affections to their friends. I think this would be a neat project for students to be assigned. I think it is important for students to understand that there are other cultures out there and that they may not do everything like they do.
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Solution 142
Posted May 22, 2015 3:11 am

Misty Coleman
Misty Coleman
Reps: 73
I would discuss with Ade and Elsa why the children are talking about them holding hands, without telling them they should stop holding hands and making sure you are clear that even though they have a cultural reason for taking about it, students should not be starting rumors. Both sides should understand the culture difference. Once the girls understand why students are talking, ask them if they would be comfortable sharing with the class about their culture. I feel that if the other students understood they would be more accepting. Granted, this is still very different from the American culture, but it is good for students to exposed to other ways of the world.
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Syjetu
Syjetu
Reps: 70
I completely agree with you. I do not think the two girls should have to stop holding hands; nevertheless, I would explain that in America culture they still might be judged for it. Therefore, it would leave it up to the girls to decide whose cultural acceptance they want to abide by. I also liked your option of getting the girls to talk to the class. This might be scary for them, but it would show their honesty in the situation versus a teacher trying to protect them.
  Posted on: May 23, 2015 9:58 pm

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Solution 143
Posted May 23, 2015 9:54 pm

Syjetu
Syjetu
Reps: 70
Lesbian relationships are a very sensitive subject in our world. No matter ones opinion on the topic, it still does not give anyone the right to judge people based off little actions. I think that you could mesh the two options together. Telling Ade and Elsa that no matter what he says to students, they still might hear rumors, is my first option. I believe you should do this and explain how that, unfortunately, is part of America’s culture. Americans judge and talk about other people because they have trouble dealing with their own problems. After you warn Ade and Elsa of this, ask them if they would be embarrassed if he did a cultural lesson which used them as a basis of the culture. I would have a lesson which point out different characteristics between American culture and their Indonesia cultural. You can highlight on major points like kissing, holding hands, greetings, home life, and more on each culture and then compare. Students will see how the cultures are different and hopefully open their views a little more widely.
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Solution 144
Posted May 24, 2015 11:24 am

HyZery
HyZery
Reps: 70
Everyone has posted wonderful ideas about possible solutions to this difficult situation. The root of this problem is not hand holding, but a lack of understanding and tolerance. I would recommend that an overall culture of tolerance in the school should be promoted. Perhaps counselors could implement a program that would increase awareness about the effects of rumors and how not to participate in spreading them.
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Rebecca Ritch
Rebecca Ritch
Reps: 70
I like the idea of getting the school counselors involved too.
  Posted on: May 24, 2015 7:30 pm

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Solution 145
Posted May 24, 2015 11:57 am

Farhat Ahmad
Farhat Ahmad
Reps: 68
This situation is tricky to deal with and isn't as cut and dry as it seems. First, is drawing attention to the girls what they want? Maybe they are ok with the rumors and just want to be left who they are. Also, would bringing attention to the situation really be helping things or making it worse? One solution is asking the girls what they want to do. Maybe they would be willing to do a project on their culture, and you could have other students do projects on theirs and it could be a group learning experience and no one would be singled out and no one would be left out.

I think turning the experience into a teachable moment and a lecture would be selfish. 1) it's calling the students out and putting them in a awkward position where they are being identified as different and not like everyone else, and 2) is that really what they want? You can still accomplish understanding by doing a bigger picture lesson and giving them the chance to share their culture while not putting them on the spot.
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Solution 146
Posted May 24, 2015 3:46 pm

RuXuqe
RuXuqe
Reps: 67
The first step would be to have a conversation with Ade and Elsa and explain to them when people hold hands in the US (during a game, with a younger student, with a boyfriend/girlfriend) so they understand why people assume they are dating. It might not take away all of the negative emotions which they are feeling, but it might make it easier for them to understand. Then, you could discuss with them whether or not they are comfortable sharing about their culture with the other students. If they are comfortable either the teacher could explain their culture either in class or on a casual basis and the girls could be given time either in class or on a casual basis. Both casually and during class (although it could be just a few minutes at the beginning of class) are probably the best answer. We live in a globalized society so it is important for not only Ade and Elsa to understand the new culture that they are in, but it is also important for the other students to understand their culture. A good analogy with the students might be that it is common in the US to grab someone's hand to take them to show them something or to old someone's hand during strong emotions (such as when you are on a roller coaster or frightened).
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Solution 147
Posted May 24, 2015 7:28 pm

Rebecca Ritch
Rebecca Ritch
Reps: 70
I don't think I would feel comfortable telling the girls that their decision to hold hands is wrong. I wouldn't tell the girls to stop holding hands, because ultimately that is their decision and I can't force them not to. However, I would explain to the girls how them holding hands might be misconstrued by children here in America. I probably would also have a conversation with their parents on this matter. As a class, I would have the girls share how they view friendship and what their customs are to showing friendship in Indonesia. Then I would have all the students complete a project on friendship. They would draw pictures to show how they would represent friendship. We would then hang the pictures up and I would have the students discuss their drawings.
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Solution 148
Posted May 24, 2015 8:10 pm

ezyXyh
ezyXyh
Reps: 57
This is a very sensitive matter and don't believe anyone wins in this situation. I believe I would do a group lesson on how friendship is displayed around the world and how we should be tolerate of others and how they do things. Furthermore, I believe also explaining to girls how friendship is displayed in the US individually. However, in the end, it will be there decision on how they want to handle it. I believe a teacher can only do but so much in this case.
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Solution 149
Posted May 24, 2015 9:49 pm

yBySuL
yBySuL
Reps: 70
As there teacher, I would explain the misunderstanding their peers are demonstrating. Then I would have a a lesson on different cultures among us with Ade and Elsa's assistance. This would give Ade and Elsa the information and knowledge of the cultural difference between the U.S. and Indonesia. If the two girls continue to demonstrate their friendship through their culture, it would be by their choice. No matter where you travel or whether you are in your home country, there will always be someone who does not agree or approve of your actions or choices.
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Alyssa Wright
Alyssa Wright
Reps: 69
I also think explaining to the girls in private why the other students are misunderstanding their handholding may be beneficial for the girls.
  Posted on: May 25, 2015 1:38 am

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Solution 150
Posted May 24, 2015 10:07 pm

Katy Fitzgibbons
Katy Fitzgibbons
Reps: 71
In an ideal situation, I would recommend all of the teachers to meet together to develop lessons regarding cultural sensitivity. To address this issue with the two girls' expression of friendship, I would begin the lesson by having friends of the same sex in my classroom pair up. I would then ask the students to hug. I would facilitate a discussion by having the students answer if hugging meant that they identified with a particular sexual orientation. Then, I would provide the students with examples from other cultures of how ideas such as respect, love, disdain, and friendship are expressed in different cultures through verbal and physical body language. Finally, I would ask the students to write down reasons why an individual would discriminate against someone else based upon a cultural difference. Specifically, I would address the issue of homosexuality since this seemed to be a factor in this particular situation.
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Solution 151
Posted May 25, 2015 12:05 am

Melissa Aspinwall
Melissa Aspinwall
Reps: 79
A possible solution I would try would be to assign the students research projects that involve immigrants and their cultures. The students would have to research customs that are different from that in America and share their research with the class. In addition, I would have the two girls share about their country and possible show pictures from their culture depicting how holding hands with the same sex is custom and how it does not imply a lesbian relationship. It would be a good idea for the guidance counselor to come in a do a group session to speak on differences in cultures around the world and how we need to embrace each others uniqueness.
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Misty Coleman
Misty Coleman
Reps: 73
I think the research project is a good idea. I think allowing the students to choose the culture they research would help students be open to the project. I didn't think about getting the guidance counselor involved, but that is a good idea to take advantage of internal resources. The girls, if comfortable, should share about their culture. The students can learn so much from each other and could then share with others in the school so the whole school becomes more culturally aware.
  Posted on: May 25, 2015 1:13 am

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Solution 152
Posted May 25, 2015 1:30 am

ReMuXy
ReMuXy
Reps: 78
I would talk to the classes and explain about other cultures holding hands. In addition, I would also talk to Ade and Elsa and explain to them that holding hands in our culture would make people think they were together. I think after talking to the class and the two girls the problem would become resolved.
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Solution 153
Posted May 25, 2015 1:36 am

Alyssa Wright
Alyssa Wright
Reps: 69
This sounds to me like the entire school needs a culture day. Maybe the day can be something similar to career day where students can share about their cultures. I do not think it is appropriate to tell the girls not to hold hands. Although the teacher may share privately with the girls why in the American culture hand holding can mean different things.
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uqeXun
uqeXun
Reps: 69
I think it would be a great idea to have a cultural diversity day. I think the more we talk about it with our students and the more we model it, the more students will begin to embrace it.
  Posted on: June 1, 2015 3:32 am

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Solution 154
Posted May 25, 2015 2:41 am

zyzaSy
zyzaSy
Reps: 68
As many other posts before this have stated, it is important to address both parties involved. The American students need to understand that holding hands in other cultures has a different meaning. Ade and Elsa need to understand that holding hands carries more significance in America that in Indonesia. However, I would not tell the girls to stop holding hands, but rather make sure they understood why the other students were saying what they were. One thing I do think that should be addressed on the spot is that spreading rumors is hurtful. Period. Regardless of what the rumor says, rumor do nothing but tear people down and spread hurtful lies. I think this would be a good opportunity to open up a discussion and accountability to each other. Creating a safe environment for students to learn is part of a teacher's job.
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Solution 155
Posted May 25, 2015 3:08 pm

TyhyMa
TyhyMa
Reps: 84
This subject could be a very sensitive subject. I completely understand why you would have an issue when trying to figure out how to handle this. I personally would allow the girls to continue to hold hands. I would explain to the girls why this is a big deal here in this country. On the other side of that I would explain to the other classmates why it is not a big issue within the two girls cultures. I feel that both parties need to know why the other is acting the way they are acting. I think that it would help the situation. It may not get rid of the problem, but I do feel like it would make the problem a little better. I would make sure the two girls knew what repercussions could come from holding hands in public. I would also explain to the students that it is normal for the two girls once again.
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Solution 156
Posted May 26, 2015 2:22 am

Brad McMahon
Brad McMahon
Reps: 71
I think I would try two approaches to this issue. First, I would, possibly with the assistance of the counselor because of bullying issues, ensure that the two girls understand the cultural meaning of hand-holding in the US. It is possible that the girls do not understand why other students are perceiving their actions the way they are. I would tell the girls that, due to the other students' culture, they are having this reaction. The girls are free to behave in any way that does not violate school behavior rules, but this is how others in the US may perceive their behavior.

Second, this would be a good foundation for a lesson on cultural norms and practices. Examples are handshakes, high-fives, table manners, and other routines. Comparisons could be made between norms in the US and in other countries. The goal of this lesson would be to expose other students to practices in other countries. The other students are limited by their culture, so it is up to me as the teacher to expose my students to other cultures around the world. Hopefully, by educating students on other cultural norms, they would be less likely to jump to conclusions based on such actions.

I think an important aspect of this is to be aware of any bullying that may spring out of this. Rumors such as this could get out of hand quickly, and Ade and Elsa need to be supported by school personnel. Anyone perpetuating this bullying should be disciplined according to school policy.
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Solution 157
Posted May 27, 2015 5:48 pm

aQanaD
aQanaD
Reps: 67
I think that there are multiple things that needs to be done here. First of all, the new students need to be educated on our culture a little so that they understand where the rumors are coming from. Secondly, the rumors need to be shut down and the responsible parties reprimanded, as that could be considered bullying. This could be a good learning opportunity for students to gain a better understanding of the new students' culture. In addition, there are other cultures who have specific gestures that mean something completing different to American Culture. It is a good learning opportunity for all to not judge a book by its cover.
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Solution 158
Posted May 30, 2015 12:53 am

Paige Lutes
Paige Lutes
Reps: 64
Physical affection means different things in different cultures. I would explain to the girls why people are talking and then teach a mini lesson on physical gestures in regards to different cultures. In my opinion, I think the girls will naturally adhere to the US custom without making them feel like they are wrong.
Sometimes a simple explanation to both parties can take care of the situation.
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RuXuqe
RuXuqe
Reps: 67
It might also be beneficial if the curriculum allows to introduce different cultures so that the students see that gestures mean different things around the world. It is always fun in older classes to show the students picture/videos of famous faux pas.
  Posted on: June 1, 2015 3:47 am

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Solution 159
Posted June 1, 2015 3:29 am

uqeXun
uqeXun
Reps: 69
I feel the same way as most respondents regarding this case. I think not only is it important to be culturally sensitive to the two girls and to make students aware of cultural differences, but it would also be a good time to discuss the effects of positive and negative social skills. Students need to see that what they say and what they do affect others in either positive or negative ways. Students who demonstrate positive social skills are held in high esteem by their peers and students who demonstrate negative social skills, like gossiping/spreading rumors are not. Social skills which are learned behaviors can/will affect all relationships in their future too, like work related relationships and even their spouse. There are numerous videos and activities available to teach social skills, but the best and most effective way is to demonstrate it. Let the girls hold hands, correct the poor social behavior, and let the girls assimilate into our culture at their own pace.
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RuXuqe
RuXuqe
Reps: 67
I think the teacher should also be cautious that they do not embarrass the girls by drawing further unwanted attention to them, so it is important to discuss with the girls the situation.
  Posted on: June 1, 2015 3:44 am

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Solution 160
Posted June 1, 2015 1:47 pm

ynyqaz
ynyqaz
Reps: 64
I would suggest using this as a learning opportunity about other cultures. I think it is important to explain to the girls why these rumors are being spread and let them decide for themselves what they wish to do. I would suggest to the girls that many of the students at school have not been introduced to different cultures such as theirs and if they wish to give a presentation or bring in items to help describe their culture, it could be arranged. I think if the girls are up to it, having them present to the class about their culture would be more beneficial than the teacher doing so.
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aTudaR
aTudaR
Reps: 18
You are right. It is important to let the girls know why the other kids are talking about them and help the girls understand that they are not doing anything wrong. I think it is also important for them to know the difference of cultural practices.
  Posted on: August 29, 2015 9:50 pm

aTudaR
aTudaR
Reps: 18
You are right. It is important to let the girls know why the other kids are talking about them and help the girls understand that they are not doing anything wrong. I think it is also important for them to know the difference of cultural practices.
  Posted on: August 29, 2015 9:50 pm

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Solution 161
Posted June 18, 2015 12:57 am

yteduM
yteduM
Reps: 77
This is a very sensitive subject that could get better or worse for these girls. I would show films about friendships in other countries and use this opportunity to educate my classes about differences in cultures. Hopefully students will understand that this is normal in their country and be more accepting. I don't think telling the girls not to hold hands is the answer. Maybe explain to them that in our country that girls to not do that but if they choose to continue that is their choice. I would also explain to my students that making fun of students is considered "bullying" and it is not taken very lightly. They are serious consequences to this offense. Hopefully students will learn to accept the girls and their friendship. This is a very good learning experience for kids not to judge people by what they see because often things are not as they look.
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aTudaR
aTudaR
Reps: 18
Thank you for your post. A film sounds like a good idea. It is important for students to learn about other culture practices, but I would make sure that the girls are ok with the solution.
  Posted on: August 29, 2015 9:43 pm

Amanda Whittaker
Amanda Whittaker
Reps: 114
I think showing videos about friendships in other cultures is a great idea. Students need to know about the culture in other countries so that they are open-minded and that you shouldn't judge people because of what is acceptable in their own culture.
  Posted on: September 6, 2015 2:46 am

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Solution 162
Posted August 24, 2015 4:27 pm

Japuje
Japuje
Reps: 107
I like the idea of explaining that in some cultures holding hands is a sign of friendship and is normal. I would give examples of American customs that require people to come into close contact with one another. Men often shake hands with one another when they meet, and friends, male and female, hug when they haven't seen each other in a long time. You can also ask the students to provide their own examples to support this.
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Laura Doolittle
Laura Doolittle
Reps: 109
I agree with your solution. I do not think making the girls stop something that is natural to them is right. The main goal of educators is making our students feel apart of the classroom community and like they belong. I feel like asking them to stop something will only being negative feelings from the two girls.
  Posted on: August 27, 2015 1:43 pm

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Solution 163
Posted August 27, 2015 1:25 pm

Laura Doolittle
Laura Doolittle
Reps: 109
This is a very hard situation to be in as a teacher. Middle school is a difficult time for students and some students can just be plain mean. I would deal with this situation first off by keeping Ade and Elsa's cultural background in mind. I do not believe making the girls stop holding hands is the answer. In a new school, their friendship is the only thing that is known and makes them feel comfortable. Asking them to stop something that is natural to them is only going to give them negative feelings toward school and their class. I feel like introducing their culture to the the class will help the other students see how normal this is in Indonesia and give them insight into cultures other than their own. Middle school is always going to be middle school and there are also going to be rumors and students being ugly. That is just the age that they are at. If this behaviors from other students continues, then I would take discipline matters with them.
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Chelsea Abbott
Chelsea Abbott
Reps: 112
I completely agree that middle school is a hard age and can be a rough time for students. Unfortunately, the rumors are hurting the girls' feelings and it needs to be put to an end. I think that having a talk with the class about their culture should eliminate most of the rude talk. If the students continue to make remarks, then those students should be talked to. The girls should not have to alter or quit their culture just because it is different here in the U.S. The students in the class will have to understand that some students have different cultures.
  Posted on: August 28, 2015 8:50 pm

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Solution 164
Posted August 28, 2015 8:47 pm

Chelsea Abbott
Chelsea Abbott
Reps: 112
This is a very sensitive subject. Since the girls are new to the school, as a teacher, you try to do everything in your power to make sure that they are welcomed and comfortable. For the girls to be comfortable, I think they should continue their tradition of holding hands within the school. I would have a talk with your class and explain to them that in their culture it means friendship and nothing more. The students may be confused at first, but they will need to be aware that it is something the girls will do. If anymore rumors arise, I think that the students that are causing them should be talked to. The girls have the right to keep their culture with them. They should not have to quit because of the risk of rumors.
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Kristen Bagwell
Kristen Bagwell
Reps: 107
I agree with you. There's no reason that the girls should have to stop holding hands, and I think it's a great time to teach other students the culture differences.
  Posted on: August 30, 2015 5:25 pm

Japuje
Japuje
Reps: 107
I also don't think it is necessary to make the girls stop holding hands. We need to teach the rest of the students about other cultures.
  Posted on: August 31, 2015 3:33 pm

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Solution 165
Posted August 29, 2015 9:27 pm