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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 a tough situation for you as a teacher, as you must balance Aisha's religious beliefs with the course structure and peer group. I think it is imperative that you contact Aisha's parents before making any choices. Ideally, you would have done so when it first became an issue. Contacting the parents will minimize the probability of teacher/parent conflict, open the lines of communication, and allow you to gain an understanding of the families religious beliefs while also advocating for your course structure. You mentioned possibly honoring Aisha's wishes and placing her in female only groups, however, perhaps there is another option. What if you assigned collaborative assignment projects. Rather than having students work in small groups and interact frequently with one another, what if you assigned 4 pieces of a project and each student was responsible for completing their piece independently at home? When students turned in their work, you could then join together one product for each group. Students would see reflections of their peers work in the final project, but have not other tie to one another than part of a conglomeration. Overall, unfortunately teachers cannot accommodate EVERY students wishes, however issues of religious conflict deserve your attention.
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
Rated On: August 29, 2014 3:09 pm
Rated By: ePeHyM