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Checking my Systems for Bias

Page 41 & 42 of the Blue Program Resource Guide


T2 - A:  Checking My Systems for Bias (Adapted from Enid Lee)


Credential Candidates protect and support all students by designing and implementing equitable and inclusive learning environments.  They maximize academic achievement for students from all ethnic, racial, socioeconomic, cultural, academic, and linguistic or family background; gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation; students with disabilities and advanced learners; and students with a combination of special instructional needs.


Use the tool below to check your assumptions regarding your students and their families on the basis of their culture, language, race, and class.  Rate how often you ask yourself the questions on a scale:

     Rate:  1 = Never     2 = Sometimes     3 = Always


What do I want my students to learn from these tasks?  
Have I introduced a range of tasks to engage the learning styles of all my students?  
Is the purpose of the task, clear and challenging to all students?  
If the students are not on-task, what are they doing instead?  
Is there a pattern (in terms of gender, culture, language, background, race, seating arrangements, and/or status)  in the classroom among those who are on-task and who are not?  
Which individual students and which groups are following my directions?  
Do I see a pattern between the students who are following directions and those who are not?  
What strategies have I used to ensure that my directions are heard, understood, and that the logic of my directions are clear?  
Did I attract the attention of the whole class before I began giving directions?  
Did I give directions in both spoken and written form?  
Do I offer opportunities for questions and clarifications after the directions have been given?  
Does the class have agreements that encourage students to help each other clarify learning expectations/directions?  
What are the students doing when they are not following directions?  
How do I redirect attention when they are not following directions or are off-task?  
Where do I seem to direct my questions?  
What is my proximity to those students who seem engaged and those who do not seem to be engaged?  
Do I move around the room and make contact with different groups of students in terms of their seating arrangements, their familiarity with the language of instruction and/or racial backgrounds?  
Do I address my questions or attention to the students who are not raising their hands?  
Which students are taking while I am teaching?  
What are students talking about?  
What are the agreements we have in place for listening and learning from everyone in the room who is part of our learning community?  
Which individual students or groups of students are not participating regularly?  
What is the nature of the participation I am expecting?  
How do I know the students are engaged?  
How much am I talking in comparison to the students talking?  
What is the climate in  my classroom for accepting mistakes?  
Which students in terms of gender, culture, language, socioeconomic status can relate to these activities?  
How can I relate these activities to the experiences, prior knowledge and goal of all students?  
What examples/illustrations can I use to connect the key concepts to students' live?  

When planning and delivering instruction, Credential Candidates examine and strive to minimize bias in classrooms, schools and larger educational systems while using culturally responsive pedagogical practices.

What new insights about your equity systems did you gain from this self-assessment?