Educating about bias is its own challenge. But there’s hope. In this episode, I share 5 things I have learned over the years about addressing bias with individuals, groups and organizations. If you’re responsible for leading other people in conversations about bias, this episode’s for you. Listen here and read the transcript below.
This episode is about educators, it’s about bias, and it’s about hope. If you’re responsible for leading other people in conversations about bias, this episode’s for you.
Hi everybody, this is 10 Minutes to Better Patient Communication from Health Communication Partners. I’m Dr. Anne Marie Liebel.
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Now dealing with bias is complex, right? It’s difficult work. And there’s so much that’s heavy right now in the world I want to turn to the hopeful. Oh hey, I have a new microphone and it might just pick up that motorcycle that went by. Sorry!
I was reminded recently about comments that were made by Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings a number of years ago. Ladson-Billings you might know, she’s a leading voice in culturally relevant, culturally sustaining pedagogy. And she was giving remarks at University of Pennsylvania’s Ethnography in Education forum. You know I’m from the education sector. So I’m there in the audience, and Ladson-Billings is looking out at us.
And she says, “The problems you are working on are thorny and knotted. And part of the challenge is choosing an appropriate sized piece of the problem to work on.” So that’s what I want to talk about, that appropriate-sized piece of the problem of bias.
And I can talk about this because in the education sector, we’ve known for a long time that teachers can be unconsciously biased toward some of their students. Curricula can also be biased. Various policies and procedures in schools can also be biased. So we’ve known this for decades, so there’s a robust body of knowledge and research on how to help individuals and systems and organizations be more equitable and less biased, right?
And that body of knowledge informs a lot of what I do in this podcast series. So I made for you a bundle. Right this is one of, it’s one of the statements of hope that I’m, that I’m trying to make here, is that I made something for you that I believe can help. Because it’s based in all of this body of knowledge that has helped a lot of educators and school districts and teachers and children and families.
So this bundle is called Addressing Implicit Bias and it helps you examine language. There’s the appropriate sized piece, right. Language is something we can all work on. We can all do something with.
But what’s the connection between bias and language? Well bias tends to be produced and reproduced and transmitted through language. And the tricky part is: this often happens without our notice. So the bundle that I made for you it will help you address implicit bias in your own language, and then take steps toward addressing bias in your organization. It’s a digital download, and since I’m talking to educators, I want to say: this is going to be great for your class. You get discounts if you get a class set, or an institutional copy, like for your library.
So here’s what comes in the bundle: you get a 2 hour audiobook; a 55 page eBook, and I link to all of my research references right there; you get a PowerPoint presentation, I’m proud of it, it’s really image-heavy; you get my reference list, and then you get a user’s guide that explains what’s in the bundle and how to use it.
Now recently, I revisited the bundle in light of COVID and the renewed attention to racial disparities around the world, not just here in the US. So I’ve added new references and extended it. And when I was doing that, I thought, “I have got to include something for educators.”
Educating about bias is its own challenge. It is slow and difficult work. And it’s not enough to have your heart in the right place. There’s things we need to do. Ways we need to be able to think and speak. Moves we need to be able to make with the learners we’re working with, if we’re really going to reduce health disparities that are attributable to bias.
Addressing Implicit Bias Audiobook Bundle 2nd Edition
All purchases help support our podcast series! This newly updated and expanded bundle of audiobook, eBook, and supplementary materials will help you address unconscious or implicit bias in your language as a health professional. 2 hours of practical, culturally and linguistically relevant advice and research-based tools, in an unfussy, conversational format. Discounted class sets and institutional copies available.
Educating about bias is its own challenge. It is slow and difficult work. And it’s not enough to have your heart in the right place. There’s things we need to do. Ways we need to be able to think and speak. Moves we need to be able to make with the learners we’re working with.
But there’s hope. This same body of knowledge from education includes support for those who are doing the educating about bias. Who are leading others to examine their biases, examine biases in their organizations.
So when I expanded the Implicit Bias Bundle, I thought, “I’m going to make discounts for anybody who wants a class set. I’m going to make discounts for anybody who wants an institutional copy for their library. And I’m going to throw in a free instructors guide.” I’ve got your back!
If you’re leading others–maybe you’ve been asked to include bias somehow in your sphere of influence. Maybe you’ve been an educator and you want to include bias in your subject area. Maybe you’ve been on this path for a long time and you’re just looking for something new. I empathize as a teacher, as a teacher educator, as a researcher, I’m in a helping profession, I’ve worked with the public. So I’ve helped lots of folks over the years with bias, and this instructors guide I made, in order to support you in doing this work. So let me tell you what’s in it!
There’s teaching activities and suggestions right. There’s the course objectives, there’s a pre- and post-test. There’s questions for each chapter in the bundle. There’s the relevant public health standards. And there’s also advice!
I just share with you some of what I have learned through the years doing this work with individuals, with groups, with organizations. So I want to give you a sneak preview of that right now.
Here are five tips to give you a taste of what’s in this instructor’s guide.
Number 1: bias is real. This may seem like an obvious point, but it can be shocking to some people. Folks from dominant social groups, or people who for one reason or another haven’t had a lot of meaningful extended interactions with other cultural groups, can be shocked when they start learning about bias. So remember, some of these people might be in your audience. Be ready for the fact that they’re going to be a little shocked. Possibly.
Number 2: bias is human nature, not the special flaw of only a few. Remind people of this often. It can help take the edge off you know if people are starting to feel a little threatened. It’s not just you; everybody can be biased.
Number 3: there is not a right way to open and sustain a conversation with other people about bias. So I suggest you start with being a learner and a listener as much as you can. ‘cause that can be tough, especially for those of us who are [ahem] used to doing the talking!
Number 4: we can all feel discriminated against in multiple ways. I link to an NPR study in the in the instructors guide. That said, discussing bias is not the discrimination Olympics. As an instructor, ya got to be on the lookout for any attempts to rank or compare or equate different forms or experiences of discrimination. This is fairly common.
And number 5: resist the urge to tidy things up. Yes, things will be messy at times. Instead, let your learner’s know that you’re making a safe space. And remind them that your collective overall purpose is to reduce health disparities that are attributable to bias.
If you like what you hear, this is just a taste of what’s in the instructor’s guide. If you’re interested visit HealthCommunicationPartners.com and click on contact. You can also find me on Twitter or linked. This has been 10 Minutes to Better Patient Communication from Health Communication Partners. I’m Dr. Anne Marie Liebel.