Evidence That It Works
Research shows that mindfulness can help combat bias. Even a brief mindfulness training can reduce our implicit biases and make us more aware of our assumptions.
One way this works, researchers have found, is by weakening the cognitive biases that contribute to prejudice. As we become less susceptible to “cognitive biases” (automatic, systematic errors in our thinking), we may be less likely to make quick judgments about others—and ultimately improve our relationships with our students and colleagues.
Why Does It Matter?
Multiple studies point to discipline disparities and lower academic outcomes and behavior evaluations, and disproportionality in special education for students of color when compared with white students.
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 reflecting on one’s daily choices.
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’ behaviors, they can benefit from tracking their own behaviors, assumptions, and communication patterns in the classroom.
Teachers’ growing awareness of their daily behaviors can affect the quality of education their students receive—and is a crucial part of building a just and equitable society.