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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 truly is a very "sticky" situation as some of the other posters have put in their solutions. The reason this is a sticky situation is because of our personal beliefs and culturally ingrained opinions of what is expected. This isnít really isnít even an "opinion" question, because legally you donít have the choice to make a student go against their religious beliefs or not. A school must accommodate a religious belief if it does not impede upon the academic environment of the classroom. When properly adapted, the learning environment will not be hurt and all students are legally accommodated. When I initially read the issue, I too thought to myself "she has to work with male students because it would just throw off the whole activity if I have a whole group of just girls". I think this mentality is normal for all teachers, but that is why we need to remove our personal opinions out of the situation to create the best solutions. It is best to initially call the parents to confirm the belief or confer with a former teacher to get confirmation. Once you have received confirmation about the accommodation, you need to adapt your class to best fit Aisha and the rest of the class.
 
     
     
  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, as a teacher you need to follow the rules when it comes to things of this nature but you also have to take into account your other students as well. That is why I think getting confirmation from a former teacher or the parents is a good idea, before you do anything.
Rated On: October 17, 2014 10:20 pm
Rated By: MaByvu
 
     
     
  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: You are 100% right Aisha's rights need to be preserved as well and she deserves to feel valued as a student. It is so important to become culturally aware of your students.
Rated On: October 21, 2014 4:37 am
Rated By: Thomas Anderson
 
     
     
  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 like this idea.
Rated On: October 18, 2015 11:46 pm
Rated By: Jessica Sorensen