If race, bias and prejudice in our country weren’t apparent before, now more than ever, educators must take action to make sure our classrooms are safe, accepting places for all of our students. UnboundEd’s Bias Toolkit helps educators plan and facilitate conversations about race and bias. We see hate boiling to the surface of our everyday lives in blatant, unapologetic patterns. What can we do to disrupt those patterns and ensure equitable opportunities for all students?
First, we must acknowledge that race plays a role in how we view our students. It’s the only honest assessment of today’s world. But then—and this is what really matters—we must create classrooms free of bigotry and biased outlooks.
At UnboundEd, equity is at the heart of our core values. Equity requires us to reflect and call out actions of implicit bias, privilege and racism. Our Bias Toolkit: to help educators take action and openly address how bias plays a role in our students’ education. Here’s how to get started:
Download the toolkit’s facilitator overview. This overview offers a quick, historical look at the systematic racism brought to light in the Brown v. Board of Education and why the ruling did not cease inequitable practices in our schools. We also explain the expected outcomes for each of the three sessions included in the toolkit and provide guidelines for how long facilitation is likely to take; summaries of each session; and additional resources on diversity, equity, privilege and creating bias-free classrooms.
Review all pre-work for each session. These activities help set the tone for the sessions to follow and allow participants to form and record their thoughts prior to the session, much like a baseline assessment used to measure a student’s understanding of a lesson. Each session is equipped with suggested group norms, another way to set expectations for the discussions so that a safe (if not necessarily comfortable) environment can be established.
Lead a Community Builder activity. Similar to the pre-work, these community activities energize the group, set up the discussion, and provide context for the for the overall session. It is important to always debrief after the Community Builder activity to make sure participants understand the topic at hand.
Introduce the session focus. Each session, “Introducing Bias,” “Historical Perspective About Race in America” and “How Does Bias Manifest in Our School?” includes a PowerPoint, materials such as a case study for a guided discussion, and the articles needed for pre-work. These sessions can be modified for your school community and we encourage facilitators to make adaptations to meet the group’s needs.
Share learnings and outline next steps. One of the most important group norms in the beginning of each session is for participants to take responsibility for their own learning and that takes making a commitment to actively demonstrating what they’ve learned from new ideas put forth in the group. This is a time to be vulnerable and participate in discourse that leads towards a solution that answers questions posed in the case study and work throughout the session. The conversation should always end on a productive note with action items that reinforce the sessions’ learning; which participants can take back into their classrooms and apply immediately.
Take the first step today and download the Bias Toolkit, complete with a facilitator’s overview for your school’s professional development. There are three sessions and each can be adapted to meet your school’s needs.
How Does Bias Impact Our Students?
Watch as Lacey Robinson uncovers and addresses unconscious bias through the story of Mitchell—a Black boy met by marginalized conditions that shaped his educational journey.
Share Your Truths
We all have exciting epiphanies from time to time and we want you to share yours with us! Mention us, @UnboundEdu on Twitter and let us know how you feel about what you’ve learned from the Bias Toolkit and what you hope to do differently in your school.