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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 first meet with the girls and explain how the action of them holding hands is being misconstrued because of the current American culture they are in. I wouldn't tell them not to hold hands anymore because I believe that is a decision that they should make on their own. I would also recommend something similar to what the other solutions have said about incorporating information about displays of friendship in other countries or cultures. However instead of having it as a teacher-centered lesson I would do it as a student project. Students could be put into pairs or trios and they would be given a country or culture. Then the student groups would be required to research and present to the class how friendship is viewed, valued, and practiced in their assigned country or culture. I think this would help to build awareness about how something simple like friendship its expression can vary from country to country or culture to culture.
 
     
     
  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 that the girls need to understand how the "schools" culture is viewing their actions. I am not at all saying that their actions are wrong, I just think the girls need to be given the opportunity to understand why people are thinking the way that they are. I also think the children at the schools should be informed of the beliefs of the girls in order to understand why they are holding hands.
Rated On: May 22, 2014 12:08 am
Rated By: Kimberly Rahn
 
     
     
  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: giving all the students the ability to understand also helps them understand the importance of the situation.
Rated On: October 16, 2014 11:40 pm
Rated By: PezaLe
 
     
     
  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: Letting the girls make their decision on whether or not they want o hold hands once they understand what it indicates is a very good solution.
Rated On: October 18, 2014 7:15 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: I think this solution would be helpful in this situation.
Rated On: October 20, 2014 12:37 am
Rated By: duGyJy
 
     
     
  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: Good response!
Rated On: March 2, 2015 2:19 am
Rated By: Tana Bill
 
     
     
  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 think your idea of a student project is great. I didn't even think of that solution, but it is a great way to incorporate new ideas for everyone to understand. I would actually love to be involved in a project like that.
Rated On: May 25, 2015 3:12 pm
Rated By: TyhyMa
 
     
     
  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 think it is a great idea to inform the girls how Americans view hand holding and letting the girls decide for themselves what they want to do with that information. Cultural sensitivity is key and it would have probably been a good idea to teach the appreciation of cultural differences the first weeks of school and then continue to add lessons to it as the year continued.
Rated On: June 1, 2015 3:45 am
Rated By: uqeXun
 
     
     
  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 had a similar idea, but I like the idea of having groups assigned a country or culture and look into how friendship is shown in that culture or country. This is a great way for them to see how other countries view friendship and how the show friendship to others.
Rated On: September 1, 2015 3:39 am
Rated By: Jasmine Bringuel
 
     
     
  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: It is a very positive action, in my opinion, to meet with the girls first because that way they do not feel singled out once the teacher begins addressing this situation to the class. I also think the rate of addressing this issue increases significantly with the use of a class activity and not just a verbal explanation. As for most students, hands on activities are the lessons that produce the greatest learning environments. Plus, it allows students time to work together and gain understanding of differing cultures.
Rated On: July 5, 2016 1:50 am
Rated By: aWyVys
 
     
     
  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 really like the way this is handled. This respects and teaches a valued lesson between the girls and the classroom.
Rated On: February 25, 2017 11:23 pm
Rated By: uWuXyj
 
     
     
  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 appreciate the incorporation of learning new cultures and different mannerisms of other countries to encourage acceptance.
Rated On: October 16, 2017 2:55 am
Rated By: uWureg
 
     
     
  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 really liked this solution! It made the lesson that came out of the situation student-centered, to allow them to learn and grow. I would use this solution!
Rated On: February 25, 2018 3:30 am
Rated By: zeMeDe