School curriculum and pedagogical environment

Sackett defines bias

as "an act of favoritism for or against a person or group of individuals" (1979).

Each instructor can become anti-biased

Many individuals believe they are objective, but the truth is that some of our attitudes and feelings about others were formed while we were still children. As a result, they are difficult to erase from our brains, and we find ourselves exercising them without our knowledge. Many people believe that youngsters do not grasp racial differences and hence cannot discriminate against others or recognize when they are discriminated against because of their money, race, or gender. Contrary to the belief, children have the ability to notice the differences, learn from their society and mimic the discrimination in the society. For example, a teacher one day asked African-American juniors students while getting in her class to show her their schedule. The teacher was assuming that the students were lost and did not belong that class. That act alone made the students feel humiliated and unwelcomed. From the example above, it is evident how an act of a biased teacher can affect the student interest in learning. This paper will, therefore, look at diversity issues such as those related to race, social class, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and immigration that should be understood by every anti-bias educators and school communities in order to address diversity issues in education And help educators prepare students to become anti-bias citizens in the democracy. The issues are categorized into three different environments; social-political environment, introspective reflexivity environment and school curriculum and pedagogical environment as discussed below.

Social-political environment

A research by Pearce, (2006). Showed that children who come from families that earn high income were associated with good performance. The study showed that social-economic and political disadvantages have an impact on academic achievement and cognitive development of a student. Parents who had financial problems were found to be at risk of getting per-mature babies who consequently were at higher risk of failing in their academics than children who were born from higher income families. This also applies also to children born in an area that experience political instability and civil wars. To create a conducive learning environment and to make such students feel accepted in a learning environment, teachers should encourage socialization among all students in the class. Students from well up families should not be let to feel as more important than those who come from disadvantaged families. Theses socialization could be brought about in ways such as encouraging group discussions.

Introspective reflexivity environment

A teacher positionality and identity does affect the learning environment and the classroom Because of their level of exposure, teachers have a lot of experience and knowledge. For a self-biased teacher, he or she may assume that their experience is shared among all students. This has a great impact on the students as it separates the student from the teacher. For a teacher to empower students, they should take time outside the classroom and have some self-assessment on their biases and cultural beliefs as they affect the teaching effectiveness of an individual. other than creating a conducive learning environment, well-intention, being caring and compassionate, a teacher should try to understand the different situations that their student goes through in life failure to which the student may take it as if the teacher does not care or understand about their problems or situation. The relation that the teacher forms with the students is determined by how the teacher accepts the students despite the differences that may exist. If the teacher creates an atmosphere of care and acceptance, the differences between the individual students in the classroom and the school, in general, strengthens for the advantage of all.

School curriculum and pedagogical environment

A learning environment that has diversity of culture, nation, community and world helps in opening student's minds and thus make them active in their learning, Derman-Sparks, & Edwards. (2010). Bias in an education environment if countered, the school encourages positive self-esteem, critical thinking and empathy development. The school as an educational community can adopt a number of ways to become more anti-bias such as, talking and teaching the student effects of bias. Promote integration among students. Create an environment that allows a room for mistake and provides a chance for students to interact and share experiences.

In a learning environment, teachers should ensure learning there is minimal bias in instructional material and textbooks that they use to teach. Bias in learning materials can be detected in a number of ways such as invisibility, where in a curriculum material, some groups such as the minority and women are underrepresented. Use of stereotypes where some materials limit the ability of some groups. Some books also express bias by presenting false history and life experiences of some people that tend to make them feel inferior or superior to others. Teachers should also help in detecting linguistic bias in the learning materials. Linguistic bias in the learning materials can be detected in a number of ways. For example, the use of masculine terms portrays how men have a higher ranking in the society while at the same time lowering the status of women, Gay, (1990).


Developing a culture where the schools adopt anti-bias approach kind of learning can help the student learn positive values on differences among themselves as well as help develop a positive perception of students as well as teachers' characteristics.

Teachers have the responsibility to challenge prevailing ideologies if they are to create differences within the society they live in, Byrnes & Kiger (1992). As a teacher, one must take a firm stand on a number of issues if he or she believes in a just world. Like any other person, they are biased and see the world as others.

Therefore, teachers need to create an environment where students can question the intellectual authority of the learning materials and what they are teaching and feeling because it is not a must they are always right. If all teachers believe in a healthy democracy and fairness where everyone's right is heard and their issues solved by those in relevant authorities, they need to first create this world in their classrooms. This would make their students empowered to go out and create the same change in the world.



Byrnes, D. A., & Kiger, G. (1992). Common bonds: Anti-bias teaching in a diverse society. Association for Childhood Education International, 11501 Georgia Avenue, Suite 315, Wheaton, MD 20902.

Derman-Sparks, L., & Edwards, J. O. (2010). Anti-bias education for young children and ourselves. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Gay, G. (1990). Achieving educational equality through curriculum desegregation. The Phi Delta Kappan, 72(1), 56-62.

Pearce, R. R. (2006). Effects of cultural and social structural factors on the achievement of White and Chinese American students at school transition points. American Educational Research Journal, 43(1), 75-101.

Sackett, D. L. (1979). Bias in analytic research. Journal of chronic diseases, 32(1-2), 51-63.

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