Reading through the article Everyone Has Invisible Bias. This Lesson Shows Students How to Recognize It (Jacquelyn Whiting). I immediately began to reflect on the story of Kyle who wanted nothing more than to show his teacher “I know what I’m going to say!” and so embarked on a quest to “seek only sources that validate that pre-formed position”. After the first few paragraphs I started to think to myself, “To what degree am I a Kyle?” When I find a food (or drink) that I really enjoy I often find myself Googling, “Is XYZ healthy?” To which I will usually scroll down through the endless warnings from baseless fake news sites such as the BBC, Mayo Clinic, and The American Heart Association until I find a source confirming that of course, the food (or drink) that I am consuming is fine for me, in fact, I should probably enjoy it more often than I currently do. I am, therefore, left with the conclusion that I might just be a bit of a Kyle.
Invisible bias is a prejudice that is unconscious and you may not realize you have. Whiting’s article talks about how many of these prejudices can affect the world around us. She references the article Girlhood Interrupted published by The Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality in 2017 when she states that, “adults see black girls as less innocent than white peers.” This is deeply troubling, particularly in education as, “Another study found that white teachers were 30 percent less likely than black teachers to predict a black student of theirs would graduate college.” We all run the risk of falling into the “bias confirmation trap” where, just as Kyle did, we actively search for information that confirms what we want to know and disregard the facts that we disagree with declaring them false.
I thought that the lesson Whiting described, a mad-libs approach to discovering bias, would be a highly engaging task for students. In particular, the impact language has on the tone of a paragraph would spark some deep conversations amongst students while, simultaneously, revealing some of their own biases. As I think again about my own invisible biases I am thinking more about how I use online sources to validate my own pre-formed ideas. I want to move away from being yet another Kyle and am prepared to explore sources that may disprove my own preformed opinions.
Antioxidants in red wine called polyphenols may help protect the lining of blood vessels in your heart. A polyphenol called resveratrol is one substance in red wine that’s gotten attention for its health benefits. – Mayo Clinic –Red wine and resveratrol: Good for your heart?
Truly, Madly, Deeply Learning
Reading through chapter 3 of A Rich Seam by Michael Fullan and Maria Langworthy made me think about how exciting it is to be an educator right now. Deep learning tasks lead to students constructing knowledge and then applying it to the world around them. The example of Dog River from the article is perfect for showing students taking action and using their knowledge. After learning about environmental issues 10th-grade students were tasked with doing something that could make a difference. The students chose to clean up their local river and created an action plan that helped build awareness about the levels of pollution. These opportunities to take learning beyond the classroom give students “authentic choice over what they learn and how they execute the learning.”
As part of their inquiry into digital citizenship, my fourth-grade students were tasked with creating videos that would teach their peers how to be good digital citizens and stay safe online. The students were given specific criteria for their videos and they then formed questions that they wanted their films to answer. They had control over their creations and it was great to see the students learning from each other as they put their creations together. There was a real sense of agency amongst the students and they were taking pride in their creations as it had a greater meaning to them than a simple written report.
I am excited to start integrating more deeper learning opportunities this year that tie into student’s ILP goals. I feel as though since the start of this year I have been focused on Old pedagogies, namely explicit, direct instruction without providing enough opportunity for students to apply that learning outside of the classroom. This is certainly something that has been on my mind this year and something I will be implementing next semester.