TeacherServer.com
Home | How It Works | Stats
Login | Register
     
  Case: Donít 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.
Solution: (Rates are posted for this solution!)
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.
 
     
     
  Rating
The suggested solution is respectful of the individual (student) Yes
The suggested solution is relevant to the case Yes
The suggested solution is reasonable (easy) for the teacher to implement Yes
The suggested solution is likely to solve the problem/issue No
The suggested solution is original Yes
Comments: I think this is a great solution to the problem at hand. You are trying to found out the root of the cultural action to help explain it to the other students for understanding. Will this solution actually 100% solve the problem, no I dont think so. The reason I say that is because once students start rumors, they tend to keep circulating even though they are found to be untrue.
Rated On: May 20, 2014 6:14 pm
Rated By: Nick Hanna
 
     
     
  Rating
The suggested solution is respectful of the individual (student) Yes
The suggested solution is relevant to the case Yes
The suggested solution is reasonable (easy) for the teacher to implement Yes
The suggested solution is likely to solve the problem/issue Yes
The suggested solution is original Yes
Comments: I had not thought about speaking with the girls' parents first to inquire more about their culture. This would be a great first step though. I actually suggested exploring and doing research on hand holding in their culture, as well as other ways that cultures are alike and different.
Rated On: May 20, 2015 10:32 pm
Rated By: Monica Rainwater