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I am at peace with God. My conflict is with Man.
In her article, "Taking Responsibility for Your Own Learning: Maximizing Training Opportunities," in the new Exchange Essential, Training Teachers: Strategies, Carmen Rivers talks about the impact of biases in professional development:
"We all want to believe that we are without bias — that we see everyone and everything objectively and individually. However, we are human. Prior experiences create bias. Try to figure out what your biases related to the learning topic are. You may not be able to eliminate your personal biases, but you can discover them and find ways to manage them.
"I have facilitated several trainings related to nature-based learning and environments. Often, participants come wanting to learn but become stuck behind their fears of the outdoors (icky bugs, dirt, and other known dangers). These are the biases that their lack of experience, or negative experiences, has left behind. Before they can help children love and appreciate nature, they need to move beyond their own fears and biases. Acknowledging our biases is the first step. Actively seeking opportunities to move beyond them is the next; perhaps a camping trip is in order."
Where Children Sleep Update
Yesterday the site to view the Where Children Sleep photos apparently crashed and is not yet back up. So here is another place to view these photos:
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Very true, biases are the biggest hurdle that we need to overcome/outgrow as an educator/care giver. Inspite of workng on it, it keeps erupting unknowingly and affects our work with children and colleagues. Cultural, racial, religious, community biases reign supreme due to lack of exposure. Add to this a whole range of biases on care, learning, education, teaching, children, evaluation, parents and one ends up doing more harm than any good. Teacher education programs must focus on this systematically, first to expose the budding/inservice educators to these issues and facilitating the awareness, understanding of the dynamics involved, managing and handling them scientifically for effective functioning.
Some of the activities we undertake in our training programs which have been found extremely beneficial are; preparing folders, scrap books,journals etc on festivals of different cultures, religion, celebrating these with children and the community. Have brain storming sessions on the whys & hows of these biases; due to wrong notions, myths and even superstitions. Analyse the impact these can have through mock case studies on children parents and even we ourselves. Discuss and deliberate on aspects related to Self, our childhood rearing, influence of peers, media etc and actually go through excercises of Self analysis and self introspection. These are crucial esp in a country like India which is a secular country where children from every religion and culture of the world are there. Needless to say it has to be an ongoing process to be carried out through out our lives, as newer issues/aspects erupt which require appropriate handling without the age old biases built over centuries though out the world like inclusive/integrated education, ADD/ADHD, Autism, kids of HIV affected, sexual abuse, trauma affected and so on.
Above all the biases of change, no one wants change, are happy and contented with what has been carried out; we remove examinations and there is a strong opposition due to biases, we suggest do-away with testing kids for admission and there is an uproar, we introduce sex-education programs and as though there has been a crime committed and the entire machinery is on a war footing against it. Though it has been a real fun taking on these challenges and emerging successfully, making small dents in our own way, It would be highly beneficial if we ask the exchange members to share how they have been facing these challenges so all of us could enhance our skills and empower ourselves strongly
great article. Our biases are strong and powerful and ALL over the place! First steps are to allow ourselves to become aware of them. This is an opening process, and once the awareness is there, the letting go of the negative aspects of our biases can begin. We all need to be doing this on a fairly continual basis.