Unconscious Bias: An Educator's Self-Assessment

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Encourage equity in your classroom!

Unconscious bias, also known as implicit bias, happens when we allow our own attitudes, feelings, stereotypes, or beliefs to impact our judgment or understanding of other people. It’s called “unconscious” because it is not something we do deliberately; rather, it is an involuntary process based on our deep-seated thoughts. Unconscious bias can occur even when individuals know or believe the stereotype to be false. It is the result of social conditioning, belief systems, life experiences, attitudes, exposure (or lack of exposure) to people who are different from us, and other factors that influence how we perceive and relate to the world around us.

So, let’s talk. The topic of bias, and especially unconscious bias, is not easy to discuss. The last thing an educator wants to do is harm the students they are entrusted to teach. Exploring one’s own bias can be uncomfortable, and evoke feelings of fear or anxiety of being singled out for actions one is completely blind to. The truth, however, is that we all have unconscious bias, and whether our decisions and actions are consciously or unconsciously motivated, the impact on our students is the same.

So, what can we do? First Book is partnering with the Maryland State Education Association to address the topics of bias, cultural competence, and equity among educators and schools. Our goal in providing this self assessment is to help you as an educator become more aware of your unconscious biases, learn how they influence your actions and behavior, and acquire strategies to help you minimize their impact.

As part of First Book and MSEA’s partnership to support educators in understanding and learning how to address unconscious bias in order to better serve your students, this self-assessment will help you:

1. Discover areas where you may hold an unconscious bias.

2. Guide you in exploring your own personal narrative, or story, that may have informed your bias.

3. Learn how to disarm your bias by looking for more than one way to interpret a situation or interaction.

4. Use the power of books to gain exposure and insight into the lives, experiences, and stories of those against whom you may hold a bias.
 

Please visit https://www.fbmarketplace.org/free-resources/ to explore more of First Book's resources and learn how to implement them in your classroom!

 

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