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Gender Bias-Stop Bias. Spot it. Talk about it. Open Your Mind. Prevent it.


Gender Bias-Stop Bias. 
Spot it. Talk about it. Open Your Mind. Prevent it.

Imagine my surprise when a mentor suggested that I had a gender bias! My mentor gently showed me the chart she had made while she observed my class. I apparently chose male students over female students during a cold call series of questions. I have two brothers and two sons. I typically played with more boys than girls growing up. It was not until college and joined a sorority that I spent large blocks of time with girls. My name is Suzanne, and I have a gender bias.  My mentor suggested that I find a system for randomly picking students as I worked through my bias.

My first thought was to verify my gender bias through retaking the Implicit Association Tests that I took in a psychology course in college. The test reveals that I have a strong association with Male and Career and Female with family. Is that wrong? No. Being aware of my biases is good. As a high school teacher, I need to be very careful. I do wonder if over correcting for bias has led to more young women attending college and graduating than males. Or, is that my bias speaking?



There are many ways both high tech and low tech to randomly select students. From popsicles to our iPhones,  random generators are being implemented in classrooms.  Some classroom management programs like ClassDojo provide a random generator. The random generator will help Stop Bias. Help us to spot it and prevent it.

One obvious gender bias during this election season is how people feel about the possibility having a first man in White House. What will we call him? Clearly, respectfully,  we will call him Mr. President as he has earned this right. Even more interesting is how his activities will be reported and will we care what he wears. Quartz's headline read BUBBA STYLE Hillary Clinton’s husband wore a fetching pantsuit to honor her nomination for US president.  While this may be humorous, it a sign of our clear gender bias.

It is our responsibility as educators to Stop Bias. Spot it. Talk about it. Open your mind.  And most importantly, Prevent it from hurting our students.



Resources

Gender-Career Implicit Association Test

Understanding Prejudice-Gender version

Making Caring Common Project Toolkit-Harvard Graduate School of Education

Teacher Toolkit-Popsicle Sticks

We all come to the classroom with bias. Balance is needed. We do need to spot, talk, and open our minds in order to prevent bias.

Suzanne Rogers

@Rogers_Suzanne

 
District Director of Professional development, AP English teacher, ELA Coach and cradle United Methodist.
Thank you to the Teacher Practice Network, Arkansas Public School Resource Center, A Project of the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning at WestEd, with funding by the Gates Foundation. #TPNlead

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