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  Case: Cannot Cooperate
Aisha is known as a responsible and smart student. I have known her for the last two years, but this year is the first time she is taking one of my classes. She is in my 10th grade US History class. Recently, I started using small group projects in my class. I simply want my students to learn to cooperate, exchange ideas, and produce the project together. Although Aisha is willing to take part in these small group projects, she does not want to be in groups with male students because of her religious beliefs. When she told me about this, I told her that she was in the United States and that she had to work with whoever she is in a group with. In the first group project, Aisha was in a group with three males and one female students. She simply did not participate in any of the group activities. I wonder if should reconsider my original position on this issue and accommodate Aisha by having her work only with girls. Would I be doing her a disservice? What should I do?
Solution: (Rates are posted for this solution!)
In this situation, I would allow Aisha to work in the group of all girls. No one should be forced to act against his or her religion. Although it can be confusing to you as a U.S. citizen who most likely does not share her belief system, Aisha is allowed the right to defend her belief and her choice to avoid a group of males. I think you should be a little more lenient on this issue. I would talk to Aisha and work on reaching an understanding. I would explain to her why you expected her to work in whatever group she was assigned and how U.S.culture is composed of many faiths trying to coexist peacefully; however, be sure to let her know that you understand her decision and respect her right to avoid something that goes against her religious beliefs. I think that you should research her religion in your spare time and discuss it with her in order to restore her trust in you as her teacher and mentor and give yourself a greater perspective on Aisha as both your student and as a person.