Anti-bias curriculum

Anti-bias curriculum


The anti-bias curriculum is an activist approach which its proponents claim challenges forms of prejudice such as racism, sexism, ableism/disablism, ageism, homophobia, and other –isms. Anti-bias curriculum has a strong relationship to multiculturalism curriculum and its implementation; the most notable difference between these two theories and practices is the age of the intended audience.

The Anti- Bias Movement was born out of the Multiculturalism Movement. Some of the people involved in the Multiculturalism Movement felt that it did not do enough to address the social problems that have been facing the country. They had wanted serious change to occur in the education system especially in terms of what students would learn about and be able to do with their education. Multiculturalism was not received as it was intended unfortunately and ended up being learning basic facts about different cultures, maybe in classes, often on “Culture Days” or at “Culture Fairs.” While this did allow for some integration of cultures, some people within the movement wanted more. They wanted students to know why they didn’t know about other cultures and about why certain ethnic groups, class groups, etc. have had trouble succeeding in this country. Therefore, they decided to branch out and begin a movement that would address a more rounded view of what has been going on and what can be done now to better understand it and make a difference through learning and understanding. They believed this would be a better way to see the changes they wanted in education that they had originally thought would come with the Multiculturalism Movement.

The objective of this approach to teaching is to create awareness (of bias=ism/-isms) while struggling to eliminate bias that proponents prove is found in education.^ [citation needed] While many institutions face issues of bias and thus oppression; anti-bias curriculum transgresses the boundaries by actively providing children with a solid understanding of social problems and issues while equipping them with strategies to combat bias and improve social conditions for all. Anti-bias curriculum is used as a tool of resistance and of empowerment for all people to create change/equality in society.

What anti-bias curriculum strives to do is instead of presenting just one side of a subject, idea, history, person, etc., it presents all possible sides. It allows the student to see the whole view of what is going on surrounding any given topic so that not only will they be as informed as possible, they will have multiple subtopics to discuss when the topic is brought up. They will be able to analyze the topic from the different angles and start to see why and how it is presented in different views. This approach to education is valuable at all levels, elementary, middle, high schools and at the college level. It allows for all students receiving this form of education to begin to see how what they’re learning about relates to their own lives, the lives of their friends and families and current situations happening in their communities, cities, states and country. They are better equipped to see all the factors at play and to analyze what is being done, said, thought, etc. and by whom. They become more equipped at earlier ages to analyze how to form more socially just communities and can start actually forming them.

The anti-bias curriculum is seen by its proponents as a catalyst in the critical analysis of various social conditions. It is implemented as a proactive means to eradicate various forms of social oppression with the ultimate goal of social justice in mind.

:"Anti-bias education takes an active, problem solving approach that is integrated into all aspects of an existing curriculum and a school’s environment" [ [ What is Anti-Bias Education? ] ]

Advocates claim there are two parts to an educational curriculum:Fact|date=March 2007
* The "formal curriculum" consists of the educational content, expectations, course materials (e.g. textbooks), evaluation, and instruction.
* The "hidden curriculum" encompasses all the values passed on by teachers and educators, and from the school or educational milieu (i.e. the culture of the educational setting). For instance, the hidden curriculum teaches children and students about punctuality amongst other things and transmits dominant culture (e.g. chosen holiday celebration, monetary norms, manners).

Anti-bias curriculum advocates claim that varying degrees and layers of oppression exist in educational institutions.Fact|date=March 2007 Advocates claim that biased curricula perpetuate oppression through socialization, and have a negative impact on interpersonal networking and acquisition of skills and knowledge.Fact|date=March 2007 The anti-bias approach urges educators to be aware of these social limitations and to eliminate them. The anti-bias approach is intended to teach children about acceptance, tolerance and respect; to critically analyze what they are taught; and that there are connections between ethnicity, gender, religion, and social class, and power, privilege, prestige, and opportunity.Fact|date=March 2007


Strategies for implementation can be found in publications such as Derman-Sparks (1989).

Louise Derman-Sparks has collaborated with many people in anti-bias curriculum. The link provided below is an example of how this curriculum is being implemented across the country. You can also see the references provided by Derman-Sparks for further techniques and ideas.

Other publications on or related to this topic:Bartlett, Lesley and Marla Frederick, Thaddeus Gulbrandsen, Enrique Murillo. “The Marketization of Education: Public Schools for Private Ends.” Anthropology & Education Quarterly 27.2 (1996): 186-203.

Ferguson, Ann Arnett. “Bad Boys: Public Schools in the Making of Black Masculinity.” (2000): 592-600. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Osborne, A. Barry. “Practice into Theory into Practice: Culturally Relevant Pedagogy for Students We Have Marginalized and Normalized.” Anthropology & Education Quarterly 27.3 (1996): 285-314.

Van Ausdale, Debra and Joe Feagin. “What and How Children Learn About Racial and Ethnic Matters.” The First R: How Children Learn Race and Racism. (2001): 175-196. Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield.


Some educational experts such as Deirdre Almeida [ [ Countering Prejudice against American Indians and Alaska Natives through Antibias Curriculum and Instruction. ERIC Digest ] ] , have alleged that anti-bias curricula may omit the contributions of particular ethnic groups (such as Native Americans, Inuit and Alaskan Natives). Portrayals of Native Americans in typical anti-bias material may conflate actual aboriginal practices with invented, obsolete or simply incorrect ideas about Native American culture.

Other critics have noted that some anti-bias curricula can be construed as actively or passively adopting an anti-European racist bias, seeking to minimize contributions of Europeans in favour of other ethnic groups. J. Amos Hatch's work "Quantitative Research in Early Childhood Settings" [] examines case studies of 'anti-bias curricula' that are overtly anti-European or Afrocentric.

ee also

* Propaganda
* Bias
* Prejudice
* Discrimination
* Reverse discrimination
* Racial discrimination
* Institutional racism
* Environmental racism
* Racial profiling
* Heterosexism
* Triple oppression
* Eurocentrism
* Teaching for social justice

Pioneers in activism and education

* Paulo Freire
* Henry Giroux
* bell hooks
* Jonathan Kozol
* Jiddu Krishnamurti

Educating and teaching children

* Early Childhood Education
* Pedagogy
* Critical pedagogy
* Philosophy of education

External links

* [ Early Years Equality]
* [ Work Group Against Racism in Children's Resources]
* [ Letterbox Library Equality and Diversity in Children's Literature]
* [ Positive Identity Multicultural Resources for Children]
* [ Multicultural Lesson Plans from Awesome Library]
* [ Breaking Down the Walls]
* [ Media Activities and Good Ideas by, with and for Children]
* [ Intercultural E-mail Classroom Connections (IECC)] : This site aids teachers to connect with other teachers in arranging intercultural e-mail connections between their students.
* [ Meaningful Student Involvement: Students as Partners in School Change]
* [ Article: Culture in the Classroom]
* [ Close the Book on Hate: 101 Ways to Combat Prejudice]
* [ Guidelines for Challenging Racism and other forms of Oppression]
* [ Are Equalities an Issue? Finding Out What Children Think]
* [ Unit on Anti-Bias Curriculum]
* [,%20MultiCulturalism,%20Div,%20SocJust,%20InstChange.doc Workshops on Anti-Bias Curriculum, Multi-Culturalism, Diversity, Social Justice, & Institutional Change]
* [ Article: Dark, Dark and Darker: Negotiations of Identity in an Early Childhood Setting]
* [ What Is Anti–Discriminatory Education?]
* [ Article: A New Generation Confronts Racism]
* [ Interaction Publication of the Canadian Childcare Federation - Article: Four Steps to an Anti-Bias Playroom]
* [ Article: White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack]


:Anti-Defamation League. (1999). What is Anti-Bias Education?. Retrieved on November 6, 2004, from []

:Biles, B. (1994). Activities that Promote Racial and Cultural Awareness. Retrieved November 6, 2004, from " Family Child Care Connections, 4(3) " : []

:Derman-Sparks, L. (1989). "Creating an Anti-Bias Environment" Chapter 2, in "Anti-Bias Curriculum: Tools for Empowering Young Children". New York, NY: National Association for the Education of Young Children.

:Derman-Sparks, L. & Hohensee, J.B. (1992). Implementing an Anti-Bias Curriculum in Early Childhood Classrooms. Retrieved November 6, 2004, from "ERIC/EECE Digest": []

:Riehl, P.(1993). Five ways to analyze classrooms for an anti-bias approach. Retrieved November 6, 2004, from the "National Network for Child Care (NNCC)": []

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