Bias? Start with yourself!
We all have biases - conscious or unconscious - and they can be harmful. To become aware of biases at an early age, turns out to positively affect long-term reduction in implicit and explicit bias. Therefore the Anne Frank foundation developed – together with TinQwise – a blended learning program for Dutch primary schools to support teachers and youth workers in creating awareness about bias. The name of the learning-program? 'Bias? Start with yourself!'
The learning program coaches teachers how to make bias a subject of classroom conversation, and supports them with educational tools such as: group assignments, informative videos and ready-to-use case studies.
The blended training has three themes. Each theme starts with a bold statement.
For example: ‘A boy that is a ballet dancer is gay.’. It turns out to be an assumption that many pupils can identify themselves with. Classroom discussion on assumptions raises awareness of unconscious bias among the pupils. Pupils have refered to the exercise as an eyeopener and realise that they are biased indeed.
The group assignments with ready-to use worksheets contribute to productive classroom discussions. All pupils are given a chance to speak about bias in general, their own biases and/or share their experiences with biased people. They recognize that we all have biases, but we aren't always aware of them.
This informal approach enables effective social learning.
Train the trainer
The ‘train the trainer’ approach strengthens teachers and youth workers in offering guidance to youngsters on their path to adulthood; to become adults that are aware of their bias and rather embrace differences than fighting against it.