Home | How It Works | Stats
Login | Register
  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!)
As a teacher, I must look at my most important goal to me which is Aisha's individual learning and success in my class. I do not believe that having Aisha in a group with all girls is going to harm her ability to cooperate with others in the future. What it does do however is place her in a position where she is comfortable being herself in the classroom. I believe that if I, as a teacher, do not make this reasonable accommodation then it shows a devaluation by me of her beliefs and identity. The goal is learning and I personally feel that a student has to feel comfortable and respected in order to achieve this. If placing this student in a group of girls makes her feel more comfortable then I personally would not object to this. While the real world my not be as accommodating to our students as we are, ultimately our goal is to create an environment where learning can take place and the student is open to change. Forcing an unwanted and unnecessary change upon a student can cause an environment in which the student may shut down and become resistant to further learning and change.
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 it is important to make Aisha feel comfortable in the classroom and also make her feel that her beliefs and identity are valuable. I would take it one step further and educate the class about different cultural norms and allow them to do projects about the beliefs of different cultures and their own culture. The students would be instrumental in making the situation work, they could either make Aisha feel accepted or make her feel rejected based upon how they themselves receive her beliefs. Allowing them to learn about other ways of being could possibly make them accepting of Aisha's belief. Another thing to keep in mind is how the other girls of the class would fell about working in an all girl group.
Rated On: August 29, 2014 5:33 pm
Rated By: ePeHyM