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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!)
Aisha is no doubt simply showing respect towards her family's culture and its customs by resisting the idea of working with males. If the teacher were to discuss with her that she is already interacting with males in a sense by being in the same classroom environment, it might help her to look at the situation in a different light. A simple solution to this problem would be to have a discussion with her parents concerning the teacher's expectations and to let them know that her unwillingness to cooperate in class may negatively affect her grades. Such a discussion may help them to understand that her actions affect the whole class and disrupts the learning process for all students. An alternate solution might be to allow her to respond in writing rather than engage in verbal exchanges with the other male students. Another possible solution would be to have another female student share Aisha's comments for her which would allow her to interact with the group, but not violate her personal beliefs. As a last resort, the teacher might ask the school counselor to intercede by having a discussion with Aisha about what is troubling her and why she refuses to cooperate in class.
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: Many student do and will show respect for their culture. Understanding and hearing her point of view would be helpful idea.
Rated On: July 3, 2013 12:37 am
Rated By: CI-GSU