Identifying and Addressing Implicit Bias

In order to enjoy truly collaborative learning communities, students need identify blind spots and develop proactive responses to bias
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About This Strategy

The Identifying and Addressing Implicit Bias strategy contains tools needed to discover and explore unconscious biases, and to develop ways to respond to those who act on prejudices. It is designed to support teachers to create safe, considerate and successfully collaborative learning environments. The strategy can be used in the beginning of and throughout the school year as students explore new content that may uncover new biases. When students have opportunities to transform their own thinking and plan ways to transition from bystanders to upstanders, the learning community becomes a place of empowerment.

Implementation Steps

1. Take an Implicit Bias Test linked in the resource section below, and reflect on your results using the Understanding Implicit Bias: The Power of Reflection resource. If appropriate, provide students with the opportunity to take the test and engage in the reflection as well. Plan to share your results with your students, as appropriate.

2. Read the Introduction, Preparing Yourself and Preparing Your Students sections of the Speak Up at School: How to Respond to Everyday Bias, Prejudice and Stereotypes guide. Read the whole guide if you're able to. Use BetterLesson's Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning (CRTL) Lesson Plan Template linked in the resource section below to customize your own Speak Up at School lesson plan in a way that is responsive to the needs of your learners.

3. Provide each student with a copy of the Speak Up at School Pocket Cards. Show the Speak Up Pocket Guide short video, and give students time to make their own set of cards. While they're making the cards, discuss what it means to echo, educate, interrupt and question in response to biased comments (providing students with copies of Appendix A from the guide would be helpful).

4. Debrief the lessons with your students by asking them questions such as, "What were some of your most powerful learning moments during this lesson?" and "What was most challenging about this lesson?"

Additional Resources on Implicit Bias

Explore the following resources to deepen your knowledge about how to acknowledge and address implicit bias

Related Lessons

Explore the two Facing History and Ourselves lessons ("The Challenge of Confirmation Bias" and "Challenging Assumptions with Curiosity") to learn more about how to address implicit bias in your classroom.

Explore the "Environmental Bias" lesson by 11th grade Science BetterLesson Master Teacher Daniel Babauta to see how his students explore and define environmental bias.

Social Justice Standards - Justice and Action

Addressing Justice and Action Standards empowers educators to explore how stereotypes affect us, how systemic discrimination influences our world, and how privilege influences justice. There are also opportunities to learn about different ways of understanding, experiencing and taking action, and how action impacts our way of understanding each other and our world. Applying and reflecting on learnings will deepen educators' anti-bias teaching practice.

Extending the Learning

In order for students to overcome implicit bias, they need opportunities to connect with one another across racial differences. Unfortunately, since the Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954, schools have become resegregated. These resources provide educators with tools to understand and address the challenges that segregated schools present.