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Diversity Tip Sheet: Implicit Bias









When we build our own self-awareness, we create more opportunities to celebrate diversity.

Implicit bias is defined as attitudes, beliefs, or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner. 

These biases, which encompass both favorable and unfavorable assessments, are activated involuntarily and without our awareness or intentional control. 

Tips for recognizing self-bias in the classroom and correcting it.

■ Recognize differences in achievement between your students, and understand that backgrounds do not cause differences in their ability to learn.

■ Reflect on the ways you think about your students and the causes of low student achievement. Focus more on factors within the system (e.g., instruction, assessment, curriculum, school leadership).

■ Focus on becoming more self-aware. Analyze your own conditioning, biases, and beliefs. Ignoring biases or denying them is ineffective.

■ Identify any discrepancies between your conscious ideals and any non‐conscious automatic biases.

■ Recognize stereotypic thoughts. Be aware of stereotypic portrayals in society and label them. Challenge the fairness of the portrayal and replace it with a non-stereotypic response.

■ Be intentional to engage in meaningful exposure to counter-typical exemplars (e.g., black women as scientists, paraplegic as carpenter, elders running a marathon).

■ Seek people who run counter to stereotypic views. Increase contact with groups of people outside of your own demographics and try to think of things from the perspective of others.

Adapted from Kirwin Institute, “Understanding Implicit Bias.”



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