Unconscious / Implicit Bias

What is Unconscious/Implicit Bias?

Think about the students you teach and reflect. Have you ever favoured boys over girls when teaching math because subconsciously you believe boys are better at math? Have you ever favoured girls over boys when teaching literacy because subconsciously you believe girls are better at literacy? Have you ever subconsciously believed that girls behave better than boys? If you have, then you have demonstrated implicit bias. In fact, all humans are biased to some degree which makes it important for each of us to become aware of our own biases and work to eliminate them.

Take-home Messages

What Is Unconscious Bias

Run Time: 1:07 - May 12, 2017

What is Implicit Bias?

Run Time: 0:59- May 20, 2019

Unconscious Bias Defined

Run Time: 3:30 - Aug 24, 2017
Challenge: See if you can spot the unconscious bias in the video - scroll to bottom or click link for the answer

Overcoming Implicit Bias

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What is Implicit Bias: Article

Click/Tap image to view/download 8-page document (Direct Download)Source: Ruhl, C. Implicit or Unconscious Bias. Simply Psychology

12 Cognitive Leadership Biases

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Steps to Remove Leadership Bias

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Examples of Implicit Bias

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Teacher Bias Explained

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The Backwards Brain Bicycle

Run time: 7:57 - Apr 24, 2015
This video emphasises that knowledge does not equal understanding. It takes repeated attempts to unlearn a concept and replace it with a new one. we must be careful how we interpret things because we look at the world with a bias whether we know it or not.

Beware Online "Filter Bubbles"

Run time: 8:48- Mar 2011
As web companies strive to tailor their services (including news and search results) to our personal tastes, there's a dangerous unintended consequence: We get trapped in a "filter bubble" and don't get exposed to information that could challenge or broaden our worldview. Eli Pariser argues powerfully that this will ultimately prove to be bad for us and bad for democracy.

Podcast: Unconscious Bias in Schools

Many educators struggle with unconscious bias in their roles at school, and often in ways that can unknowingly perpetuate racism and negatively affect students. In this episode of the Harvard EdCast, Tracey Benson, and Sarah Fiarman, offer ways to address these issues directly, and outline how educators can start this work in their schools. They are authors of the book, Unconscious Bias in Schools (see below).

Source & Transcript: Harvard Website
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Some of the most popular and well-regarded children’s books—Caldecott and Newbery honorees among them—persistently depict Black, Asian, and Hispanic characters with lighter skin, according to new research.

Using artificial intelligence, researchers combed through 1,130 children’s books written in the last century, comparing two sets of diverse children’s books—one a collection of popular books that garnered major literary awards, the other favored by identity-based awards. The software analyzed data on skin tone, race, age, and gender.

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Among the findings: While more characters with darker skin color begin to appear over time, the most popular books—those most frequently checked out of libraries and lining classroom bookshelves—continue to depict people of color in lighter skin tones. More insidiously, when adult characters are “moral or upstanding,” their skin color tends to appear lighter, the study’s lead author, Anjali Aduki, told The 74, with some books converting “Martin Luther King Jr.’s chocolate complexion to a light brown or beige.” Female characters, meanwhile, are often seen but not heard.

Cultural representations are a reflection of our values, the researchers conclude: “Inequality in representation, therefore, constitutes an explicit statement of inequality of value.”

Source: Edupedia

Dear Teacher - Advice

Run Time: 1:52 - Aug 28, 2015
Children with a formal diagnosis, such as autism, Asperger's, ADHD, learning disabilities, Sensory Processing Disorder, and Central Auditory Processing Disorder - along those who just need to move while learning - often find it challenging to shine in a traditional classroom. The children who collaborated to write and star in this "Dear Teacher" video represent such students. So, they wanted to share with educators how their brain works and offer simple ways teachers can help. Let's not be biased against them!

Our Hidden Biases

Run Time: 4:44 - Nov 12, 2019
Adult biases can have lifelong implications for children. This video was developed to spark dialogue among child-serving professionals. Even on our best days we may not be mindful of our thought processes and biases. And the decisions we make can have negative effects on our work and those we serve. 
There's a great conversation guide that accompanies this video. Click here to download it.

Snapshot of Bias in a Math Classroom

In a 1:28 period filmed in her classroom, Loewenberg Ball counted 20 separate micro moments when she had to decide how to react. She calls them “discretionary spaces,” 
This clip should begin at 1:20.00. (If not scroll to 1:20.00). It will show the 1:28 film of her classroom and then an explanation of 3 of the 20 separate micro moments that took place  - May 4, 2018
Source Website: Hechinger Report

Implicit Bias/Racism in the Classroom

Run Time: 3:12 - Jan 18, 2017
In this mix of live-action and animation, a young boy of colour navigates bias in the classroom and its impact on his future. The film also includes the voices of other children sharing their experiences, at school and at home, as they grow older.

Bias Strategies - Early Years

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Types of Unconscious Bias

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Seven Types of Bias Teachers Are Vulnerable To

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We all succumb to bias in one way or another, and many times this can ground us in ways that make us feel comfortable and secure. Within each bias however is the danger that whomever our bias goes against can be misrepresented, misaligned or in the worst cases, treated unfairly.

For teachers, this can make a huge impact on how we deal with, teat and work alongside students. These biases can be seen in our schools every day; like most aspects of human frailty, they are often easier to spot in others than ourselves. How many do you recognize in your School...yourself?

Status Quo Bias

Confirmation Bias

Macabre Constant

Publication Bias

Cognitive Bias

Observer Bias

Attribution Bias

Before doom and gloom sets in, there is hope! It has been found that attributional retraining can have a positive academic impact among students, especially where there is a recognition that internal factors have more effect than external factors (or excuses). Put simply, this correlates well with the recent growth in interest surrounding Mindset, and acknowledges that taking responsibility for self-influence rather than investing in a blame culture creates a more sustainable student outlook.

There is an awful lot to contend with when considering all the bias we may experience, or even demonstrate ourselves through our teaching. Some teachers are more aware of these habits than others, but awareness that they even exist is important.

Consider for the moment the last three important decisions you made. What or who had a bias on those decisions; were they genuinely down to free will or independent thought, or were you influenced by other means?

This is an extract from the book “Thinking about Thinking: Learning Habits Explored,” by Stephen Lockyer, published in October 2015.

Roots ConnectED - Anti-bias Education

The video os an overview of the Roots ConnectED programRuntime: 11:20 - Jan 2022
Roots ConnectED empowers educators to create classrooms and schools where children and staff are community builders, critical thinkers, understand biases, and realize their capacity to create change.
Their Anti-Bias Education model uses curriculum, classroom practices (Universal Design Learning), and deep Community Building with all stakeholders to identify and dismantle the thinking and ideology that contributes to bias and discrimination before it gives way to harmful acts of oppression. This all leads to agentic learners. The framework and its tools are holistic and intended for longterm integration throughout the curriculum and environment. Check out their educator workshops.

Critical Practices for Anti-bias Education

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In this professional development, learners will: 
  • Increase self-awareness and cultural competency
  • Identify skills to speak up against and respond to prejudice, bias and stereotypes
  • Explore building allies
  • Define leading beyond the classroom

Unconscious Bias in Schools: A Developmental Approach to Exploring Race and Racism

by Tracey Benson, and Sarah Fiarman  (Authors) 

In Unconscious Bias in Schools, two seasoned educators describe the phenomenon of unconscious racial bias and how it negatively affects the work of educators and students in schools. “Regardless of the amount of effort, time, and resources education leaders put into improving the academic achievement of students of color,” the authors write, “if unconscious racial bias is overlooked, improvement efforts may never achieve their highest potential.”

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Amazon.com: ISBN-13: 978-1682535851 / Publisher : Harvard Education Press; Revised edition (September 29, 2020) / 224 pages / Paperback

In order to address this bias, the authors argue, educators must first be aware of the racialized context in which we live.

Through personal anecdotes and real-life scenarios, Unconscious Bias in Schools provides education leaders with an essential roadmap for addressing these issues directly. The authors draw on the literature on change management, leadership, critical race theory, and racial identity development, as well as the growing research on unconscious bias in a variety of fields, to provide guidance for creating the conditions necessary to do this work—awareness, trust, and a “learner’s stance.” Benson and Fiarman also outline specific steps toward normalizing conversations about race; reducing the influence of bias on decision-making; building empathic relationships; and developing a system of accountability.

All too often, conversations about race become mired in questions of attitude or intention–“But I’m not a racist!” This book shows how information about unconscious bias can help shift conversations among educators to a more productive, collegial approach that has the potential to disrupt the patterns of perception that perpetuate racism and institutional injustice.

Tracey A. Benson is an assistant professor of educational leadership at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Sarah E. Fiarman is the director of leadership development for EL Education, and a former public school teacher, principal, and lecturer at Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Implicit Bias & Stereotyping

Run Time: 11:15 - Dec 11, 2018
Russell McClain examines the role of implicit bias and stereotype threat.

List of Resources/Articles About Unconscious/Implicit Bias

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Helping Students Understand Bias

What is Bias? - Introduction for Young Children

Run Time: 3:34 - Jun 22, 2020
This video explores the basic understanding of bias for children.

Teaching Young Children About Bias, Diversity...

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Use young children’s understanding of differences to teach social justice through age-appropriate literature, news stories, anti-bias lessons, familiar examples, and problem solving.

Inspiring The Future - Stereotypes & Bias

Run Time: 2:07 - Mar 15, 2016This powerful video provocatively captures how, early on in their education, children already define career opportunities as male and female. When asked to draw a firefighter, surgeon and a fighter pilot, 61 pictures were drawn of men and only 5 were female. 

Some Classroom Activities - Unconscious Bias

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Dot Exercise: Breaking Implicit Bias

Run Time: 2:16 - May 8, 2017
When we are born, we innately value justice and fairness. Prejudice, however, is learned and no one is immune. So how do we fight discrimination, bias and bigotry? How do we build communities that are inclusive and just for all? This is the story of breaking bias—one unlikely friendship at a time. What can be learned can be unlearned.

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Answer to Question - Bias Defined

Spot the unconscious bias in the video? The character with a gun was the only black figure in the presentation.

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