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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!)
This is definitely a tricky situation. You don't want to do Aisha a disservice by allowing her to only work with girls...what social skills does that teach her? Also, what does that type of accommodation show the other students in the class? However, I really think to be culturally sensitive, the thing to do is simply group her with all girls. It's really not a difficult task and you can easily make this a teachable moment by discussing culture with your students. Showing both sides of the situation to all parties involved is, to me, the best bet always. As a teacher, I believe that you hold enough responsibility in the classroom to uphold your students' cultural beliefs and also the respect to demand the same from your students in their support.
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: As a teacher, it would be a difficult decision to make. In today's society, it is a fact that individuals are going to have to work with other genders. I realize that her religious belief is against this and that should be respected but I do not feel like in this situation and in our society that her working on with other females is something she is going to have to accept and change. As a teacher, I feel that it is your classroom so it is ultimately up to you. She should also respect your decision as well.
Rated On: May 21, 2014 11:43 pm
Rated By: Kimberly Rahn