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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!)
It is a fact that in the United States there will be a time where Aisha will more than likely work with men, so to let her continuously work with females throughout the course would be a disservice to her. The role of a teacher is not limited to content. The teacher also takes on the role of preparing that student for realistic life issues that will arise. I believe that the teacher should contact the parents first with the aid of her administrator or counselor. This should take place so that this is not a confrontation on which beliefs are correct or not, rather coming to an understanding of the parentís requests and the teacher's as well. There needs to be an understanding of what is appropriate for Aisha deemed by her parents and teacher. If the parents and teacher come to the decision that she will not be working with male students, it should be documented and referred to by the teacher for the remainder of the school year.

If the parents and teacher come to the conclusion that Aisha should work with male students, there are some things that the teacher could do to ease her into that transition. It will not be a quick transition if she has never felt comfortable working with male students. I believe that the teacher could have the students participate in whole group conversations where each student is expected to respond to a question or prompt. This way, Aisha will be discussing the ideas of everyone instead of focusing on the fact that she is working with female students and male students. Slowly, the teacher could begin to have Aisha work with females and males in different scenarios so that she can open up to the idea of working with the male students in the class.