July 14, 2016
Action plan needed to tackle bias
The co-author of a report into how bias can drag down Maori pupils wants to hold a mirror up to teachers.
Unconscious Bias in Education by Anton Blank, Dr Carla Houkamau and Dr Hautahi Kingi was launched in Wellington yesterday by the new Children’s Commissioner, Judge Andrew Becroft, and it struck an immediate nerve with teacher unions.
Mr Blank says talking about the need to address family and poverty issues is a subtle way of pushing the problem back on parents.
The Te Kotahitanga prgramme showed what can happen in a very short time by changing the way teachers interact with Maori students, and he’d like to see it come back in some form.
" I think that we need to start trialling interventions in schools. We've looked at interventions in the United States and what they have been able to do through a series of test and exercises with teachers, is to get them to have more empathy for black children and understand what it's like to be a minority group. Those very simple tests and exercises have seen really really good results," says Anton Blank.
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