What is Anti-Bias Education?

tell20me20and20i20forgot-learning20quoteI realized that I have talked a lot about anti-bias curriculum and I have not really defined it yet. So here we go. I have taken my definition and ideas from the book Anti-Bias Education for Young Children and Ourselves by Louise Derman-Sparks and Julie Olsen Edwards. This is an AMAZING book that every educator should use as a resource to incorporate anti-bias curriculum into their teachings. The book provides four core goals:

  1. Each child will demonstrate self-awareness, confidence, family pride, and positive social identities.
  2. Each child will express comfort and joy with human diversity; accurate language for human differences; and deep, caring human connections.
  3. Each child will increasingly recognize unfairness, have language to describe unfairness, and understand that unfairness hurts.
  4. Each child will demonstrate empowerment and the skills to act, with others or alone, against prejudice and/ or discriminatory actions.

If these goals seem to resonate with you check out the book found here: https://store.naeyc.org/store/anti-bias-education-young-children-and-ourselves

I have found many resources to be very informational for me. The book talks directly on many of the topics that I have covered like gender identity, family structures, and different abilities. The book goes on to talk about culture, economic class, holidays, and age groups..etc. Along with my learning about anti-bias education, I have really focused on positive discipline. Jane Nelson the Positive Discipline I have attached a video of her explaining the five criteria for Positive Discipline. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-e4H2rsEww

I grew up with my parents using positive discipline and have used it myself in my teaching with youth. I find it to be really empowering for both my students and myself. I believe that it helps cultivates communication and encourages students to solve problems with their peers.

“Respect invites respect; disrespect invites disrespect”—Jane Nelsen

Key elements that I have learned from teaching and learning about Positive Discipline ( most of these concepts I learned while teaching at Life Lab):

  • All behaviors have a purpose
  • You can stop behaviors short-term but eventually they generally just end up cultivating into other undesirable behaviors.
  • Always think kindness and firmness
  • Always encourage mistakes, because that’s when learning takes place, let children explore and discover the world on their own terms.
  • Connect with your students, at the camp that I worked at we talked a lot about getting at the child’s level, use empathy, and give eye contact, essentially try to get into their world.
  • Ask questions! Come with questions! When helping children resolve issues, “ask, don’t tell—what, why how?”
  • When helping children resolve issues, describe what you see instead of just placing judgments on the problem.
  • Tone setting is amazing and can really help with transition time, which can be hard especially with young students.
  • Modeling!!! This is extremely important and sets the example.
  • Understanding impulse control
  • Utilizing I statements
  • Use listening skills
  • Use Do’s rather than Don’t – Don’t come in the room. Don’t open put your bag there. Don’t close the door. Instead say: Stay outside. Put your bag here. Leave the door open. Using this language makes it easier for children to follow. Children tend to not hear the “no” and just hear the second part of the statement and get confused when you get mad. It makes it easier to just tell the child what you want them to do, that way you will avoid confusion and conflict.

I love learning about this because it has helped me with all of my relationships in my daily life. My love for teaching has helped me continue to be a life long learner.


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