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How To: Avoid Being Biased

Did you know?

Unconscious, or implicit, bias is when underlying attitudes and stereotypes that we unconsciously attribute to other people affect how we engage with them. There are many types of biases, such as affinity bias (tending to connect with people who share similar interests and backgrounds), attribution bias (making sense of or judging someone’s behaviour based on prior observations or interactions) and name bias (judging or preferring people with names that indicate a certain background or ethnicity).

The word BIAS printed on clothespin clipped cards in front of defocused glowing lights.
Image by Deposit Photos

It’s important to try our best to avoid making assumptions or giving into unconscious biases when we’re working with early years, so how do you stop yourself?

  • Question how you think – if you feel you may have made a judgement or surmised the reason for a child’s behaviour without proper evidence, talk to someone else and see what they think. You might not be seeing every side of the story.
  • Set the bar high – are there children you feel more compassionately towards than others in your class? If so, make an effort to treat all children the same as you would them to try and eradicate any preferential treatment.
  • Do your own research – if some of your children come from backgrounds or cultures you’re not familiar with, educate yourself on them. Remember, it’s great to discuss families and cultures in class but it’s not the child’s, or the family’s, duty to teach you about their culture.
  • Challenge others – if we want to be as fair as possible, we need to be prepared to challenge others and be challenged ourselves. If you hear another practitioner making prejudiced assumptions about a child or their family, speak up. It may be difficult but we need to work together to call out unconscious bias.

Here at TNL we’re committed to providing the most useful content to Early Years practitioners. Feel free to get in touch on our socials if you found this article useful!

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