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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!)
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, she will get the same learning experience in a group with all girls that she would in a mixed sex group, and she will be more comfortable and participate.
Rated On: October 17, 2014 2:50 pm
Rated By: Angela Avery