Can You Be Prejudiced Against Your Own Students? Measuring Teacher’s Unconscious Bias in the Classroom


This presentation aims to familiarize the audience with 1) the concept of implicit (i.e., unconscious) attitudes, 2) their significance to the educational process, and 3) how to measure them. First, I will explain what implicit attitudes are and how that are different from explicit attitudes. This will show that explicit and implicit attitudes can be in conflict with respect to a single topic, and that implicit attitudes can sometimes override explicit attitudes. Second, I will play a short video demonstrating a psychological experiment, which will highlight the significance of implicit attitudes in the classroom. This includes the teacher's possible implicit biases against, for example, people of color, gender, and age, including migrants and refugees. Again, this can happen by overriding the individual's existing egalitarian attitudes at the explicit level. I will then discuss possible ways to counteract the effect implicit attitudes, including awareness of one's implicit biases, being vigilant in contexts where bias is likely to occur, and how to research oneself. Finally, the session will end with a hands-on activity in which attendees will be given handouts of the paper-and-pencil version of the Implicit Association Test (IAT). This aims to offer a first-hand experience of the nature of implicit attitudes for interested attendees. Attendees will also be referred to an online website where they can access these tests anonymously and free of charge. By the end of this presentation, I hope to have raised awareness of how implicit attitudes have practical significance to language teachers, teacher educators, and students.

Author Information
Ali H. Al-Hoorie, University of Nottingham, UK

Paper Information
Conference: IICEHawaii2016
Stream: Education: social justice and social change

This paper is part of the IICEHawaii2016 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon