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!)
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!
 
     
     
  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 No
Comments: Allowing other students to share things from their cultures which are not typical of American culture demonstrates that there is more than one acceptable way of doing things and that we all should respect others' cultures.
Rated On: July 1, 2013 12:56 am
Rated By: PyruNe
 
     
     
  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: Response was reasonable and could be a solution to this problem successfully.
Rated On: July 3, 2013 12:07 am
Rated By: CI-GSU
 
     
     
  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 love the idea of everyone describing their own cultural backgrounds! This could be a fun and original way to learn about your fellow classmates! It can also double as a "get to know you" lesson at the beginning of the course. To add on, you can assign partners and one student can present the other! Great idea!
Rated On: May 18, 2014 2:00 pm
Rated By: Destiny Andrews