John Nimmo and Debbie LeeKeenan have released their film Reflecting on Anti-Bias Education in Practice: The Early Years for free streaming. The 48-minute film features vignettes of anti-bias strategies in real-life early childhood classrooms. What’s different about this film is its direct focus on teachers’ own reflections on their identities and work, rather than relying upon experts and research.
“There is an urgent need for teachers to be prepared to engage in and provoke dialogue and action around bias and equity in early childhood,” says Nimmo, who is an associate professor in early childhood at Portland State University. “Teachers are calling out for models of how to engage in practice that supports young children’s capacity to identify and act against bias.”
Renowned author Louise Derman-Sparks is the senior adviser and Filiz Efe McKinney of Brave Sprout Productions is the director. Nimmo and LeeKeenan have devised a written guidebook for educators to use the film effectively in their classroom and in professional development. LeeKeenan, an early childhood author and consultant explains, “if teachers are going to lead anti-bias experiences in the classroom, they need to think about why they’re doing it, and that’s to guide children through the complex society in which they live.”
Exchange Press is working with Debbie and John to produce a DVD and paper version of the guidebook for sale at minimal cost.
Filming for the Reflecting on Anti-Bias Education in Practice took place in Seattle and San Francisco. Shown here is Seattle-based teacher Joyce Jackson working with her students and project collaborators (from left to right): Cinematographer Jonah Kozlowski, Associate Professor/Project Co-Leader John Nimmo and filmmaker Filiz Efe McKinney of Brave Sprout Productions. Photo courtesy of LeeKeenan
Filmmaker Filiz Efe McKinney of Brave Sprout Productions captures Seattle-based teacher Claudia Garcia in action. Photo courtesy of Nimmo
There are many more research-based ideas and new terms and practices to consider adding to lessons since the original Derman-Sparks anti-bias film came out in 1989, and this film will help make sense of the changes. There have been some other films that relied on experts’ views, but nothing with such an educator-centric and reflective focus.
“There were some new opportunities where people were willing to share their experiences in a really brave way that was really motivating for people,” Nimmo says.
He says with the Black Lives Matter movement empowering BIPOC people and so many other positive anti-bias voices being raised in unity and being heard that this is a good time to be offering this film. It feels like change is in the wind.
Note: John Nimmo is an associate professor, Early Childhood Education, in the College of Education at Portland State University, Oregon.
Debbie LeeKeenan is a lecturer, early childhood consultant, and author.
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That is a really interesting and valid thought!
-Tiffany at Exchange
This is a beautiful film, and if I were still teaching I know I would pick up a lot of their ideas, and their equipment. But I am left with the dilemma I frequently faced as a white teacher, working in Head Start in counties that are 99.9% white. Diversity is not handed to you, and I wonder if dark-skinned children in books seem real at all to children who have never been in the same room with someone different from them