How can teachers help students identify biases, stereotypes, and omissions in literature, media, and curriculum?

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photo by Nicole Warner 1976

The purpose of education is to empower students to become excellent functioning individuals in a diverse multicultural environment (Lin, Lake & Rice, 2008). The world at present is beset with political and economic issues rooted from racism, discrimination, biases and prejudices. Hence, if the next generation is meant to survive, then it is imperative to teach the young of today the tenets of fairness, justice and harmony. However, it is sad to note that as the world changes and a great paradigm shift of cultural and racial thoughts have emerged, the current governance clings to the old concept of “Anglo-European” historical perspective to the detriment of the existing populace.

Bennet (2015) stated that in order to effect change, school’s curriculum must be transformed and veer away from the traditional one which is primarily Anglo-European in scope. One can never defeat the evil of racial prejudice and stereotypes if schools/teachers do not directly deal with the issue at hand. If left unchecked, the same problems of today shall be encountered by the next generation.

Lin, Lake and Rice (2008) recommended that in the implementation of an anti-bias curriculum, teachers should take upon themselves to develop strategies for better cultural understanding;

1. Parental involvement

2. Home visit

3. Reflection

4. Role play

5. Service learning

Gleaning from the list, such knowledge is paramount to help students identify biases, stereotypes and omissions in literature, media and curriculum. A teacher can only give what she/he has received, an empty teacher cannot change the world. Thus, Bennet (2015) said that one should aimed at helping students develop intercultural competence, a fair-minded critical thinking, and compassion.

Teachers must teach their students how to inquire historical facts appropriately in order to correct misconceptions of history (Bennet, 2015). By fact checking historical records and narratives, a broader story unravels, and all sides of historical protagonists comes into light. It is only by doing this simple act of “teaching” that biases and prejudices could be avoided, and the other “history” is known.

References

Bennett, C. (2015). Comprehensive multicultural education: Theory and practice. Eighth Edition. Pearson Education Inc.

Lin, M., Lake, V. E., & Rice, D. (2008). Teaching Anti-Bias Curriculum in Teacher Education Programs: What and How. Teacher Education Quarterly35(2), 187–200.

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Author: Vera

Learning never stops!

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