Evidence That It Works
Scientists are actively exploring evidence-based recommendations for reducing racial bias in educational settings. Some research has found that, in order to decrease unintentional bias in adults, nurturing non-threatening environments for professional development where participants do not feel shamed is key. The goal is to increase participants’ internal motivation to reduce bias while also lessening external pressure.
Ultimately, effective strategies and approaches should provide staff with opportunities to practice new beliefs and skills and improve their ability to build relationships–a critical task for schools due to multiple studies that show discipline disparities and lower academic outcomes and behavior evaluations for students of color when compared with white students.
Why Does It Matter?
Despite educators’ best intentions, they can’t always be aware of their assumptions and/or their implicit biases, especially when an intense work day isn’t necessarily conducive to pausing and considering one’s daily thoughts and behaviors.
In light of this demanding daily pace, it’s important for teachers to engage in reflective processes that prompt them to shift away from some of their default behaviors–and potential biases. Just as teachers keep thoughtful running records of students’ learning, they can benefit from tracking their own personal and professional growth.
Teachers’ growing awareness of their beliefs can affect the quality of education their students receive—and is a crucial part of building a just and equitable society.