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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!)
I would definitely include and share information about diversity. Students many times are unaware of other cultures and need the education. Teaching others about other customs and even maybe having a period of share time would be useful socially. Also, education about bullying would be necessary because this is a form of bullying because often time students don't even know the full meaning nor do they understand certain meanings about things that they choose to state about others. Therefore, including education about negative behaviors and more positive ones would be necessary in rectifying or at least a start to better understanding.
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 solution is very effective, because the individual addresses how this is a bullying problem as well. Even though the other students are not educated on the cultural differences they are still responding in a bullying manner which is not appropriate. In all this solution is a great option for educators because it discusses how teachers need to seize the double opportunity of addressing the bullying problem and the lacking of cultural awareness.
Rated On: July 5, 2016 1:56 am
Rated By: aWyVys