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  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!)
My students and I were watching a documentary, and the men in the culture greeted each other with kisses on the cheek. The kids in the class were appalled that two men would kiss, even if they were just friends or family. So, we did sit down and have a conversation about culture and how people act differently in different countries. We went through how people greet each other around the world and how it is not weird for men to kiss in certain cultures.
In this situation, having a culture day could be interesting for the students. You could explore food, traditions, greetings, language, etc., and the students can see the "norms" of other cultures. I know that this type of material can be tied into content easily, so it would not place the spotlight on the two girls, but the kids would gain a greater understanding into their situation and others for future instances like these.
 
     
     
  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 agree with sitting the class down and having group discussions on the cultures of others and how they may be similar or different. This was an excellent time to expand the knowledge and mindset of your students. Using opportunities like these allow the students to better understand others.
Rated On: May 25, 2014 10:21 pm
Rated By: Cierra` Barksdale
 
     
     
  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 feel this solution is a good one because it gives an example of how to resolve this certain situation.
Rated On: October 18, 2014 7:16 pm
Rated By: Amanda Meredith
 
     
     
  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: This is a great solution! It will allow some of the students that spreading the rumors to reflect on what they did and how it was wrong without anyone directly punishing them. Maybe they will be their own critic and come to realize how they acted was wrong.
Rated On: October 19, 2014 1:06 pm
Rated By: Adam Sanchez
 
     
     
  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: If I were in this situation, this is exactly what I would do. It is a perfect opportunity to have "culture day."
Rated On: October 18, 2015 3:59 pm
Rated By: Qanuna
 
     
     
  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: This is a good way to show students different cultures in a respectful and great way
Rated On: February 25, 2017 11:24 pm
Rated By: uWuXyj
 
     
     
  Rating
The suggested solution is respectful of the individual (student) No
The suggested solution is relevant to the case No
The suggested solution is reasonable (easy) for the teacher to implement No
The suggested solution is likely to solve the problem/issue No
The suggested solution is original No
Comments: What a great idea and helpful approach. The children should be exposed to other cultures. The students need to know how to become respectly and not poke fun at people.
Rated On: October 7, 2017 3:15 pm
Rated By: napyze