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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 begin by explaining to the girls why other students frown up them holding hands. In addition, I would also not disturb their belief of doing this. I would tell them that their culture is important and for them to do as they believe. I would then talk to other students explaining that other cultures believe in doing this to show friendship. Students should not judge others based on their beliefs. The girls or other people with different cultures and beliefs may think that traditions of America have are silly and/or inappropriate to them. I would use this as a teachable moment and let students research different cultures and traditions and present it to the class to help show diversity in our world. It would be neat to let students interview immigrants to see their views of our country when they became to know it.
 
     
     
  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 believe this solution to be a great idea and one I would implement in my own classroom. Explaining the different beiefs to both cultures is respectful to all the students. The two girls will not feel isolated and the students who are judging will learn something new instead of being punished.
Rated On: October 13, 2014 10:52 pm
Rated By: ySaryN
 
     
     
  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 important to explain to the other students that everyone is entitled to do as they feel when it comes to having a friendship and expressing that friendship.
Rated On: October 18, 2014 7:20 pm
Rated By: Amanda Meredith