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Can we ever have an unbiased classroom.

Is it possible for a classroom to not be culturally biased? We look at test questions and realize that what we consider knowledge is biased, even the word choice is biased. In different countries different things may be the norm, such as the way someones vocabulary is. But is it possible to have a culturally unbiased classroom?

Topics: culture education
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    Nov 18 2012: A classroom can seek to bring forward a variety of views and to give these a fair airing. Still, as soon as a language is chosen for the discussion, there is a bias one could well call cultural against those who do not speak it or who can articulate their views less well in that language.

    There are some matters which some might consider bias that also are choices in an environment of human interaction. Some people consider an atmosphere of inquiry ideal, for example, while others might consider that a bias against dealing with differences through emotionally charged antagonism, which might the the prefered culture in another setting.Choices made are also choices rejected that some people might have prefered. So in that sense, one might say there is always a bias that drives the choice, even if the choice is made somehow democratically or on its face by consensus.
    Note that I am not saying that choices are bad. We must make the choices we think work best in the setting and then differentiate instruction to be inclusive.
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    Nov 18 2012: Well, as you seem biased against biases, I'm afraid not.

    Seriously speaking, you can consider the whole education as a set of individual biases. I would consider that as a great input to trigger discussions, to make people exchange with each other, and at the end to understand their own behavior.

    I like to believe that the sum of our differences make us richer.
  • Nov 20 2012: IMO, No. I believe that an educational system that attempts to rid itself of all bias would be pursuing a false value.

    As Fritizie pointed out, as soon as you start making choices, some people will view that as bias. The act of educating someone requires choosing priorities; this cannot be avoided. So the question of bias can be a matter of your point of view.

    IMO, our current system tries, with much success, to avoid teaching our children any values. This has the effect of teaching them that values are not necessary and that one set of values is as valid as any other; that values are no more significant than passing fashion fads. I think this is harmful.
  • Nov 19 2012: Everybody has a point of view, and people from the same geographical location and culture are likely to have similar worldviews.
    But having a worldview or a bias is not entirely a wrong thing.
    The wrong thing as far as learning and culture is concerned is the impression that all thinking that needs to be done concerning an issue has already been done by 'our people' or 'our culture'.
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    Nov 19 2012: The term unbiased is the very meaning of bias. In this context to be unbiased to a Japanese student in the classroom, if taken to the extreme, would mean applying a different language therefore you are being biased to the Americans. The important point is this: it is not fair to the Japanese student either because the whole point of schooling in America is to learn it the American way.
  • Nov 19 2012: Why do you use the word bias? Is all bias bad? I'm biased toward color, particularly blue.
    Why not look for a new word, idea or way of presenting what you have? Catch people off-guard?
    Bias, as I assume you are using it, is to me a negative in your mind.

    Bias might be differences and differences make the world exciting, mysterious, educational and alive. But...
    If you mean bias in the sense that there is non-acceptance of others, outright prejudice, hostility, dislike, hate,
    fear, loathing and/or unwillingness to recognize another who is different, then I would agree with its use.

    I do believe we can reach a place where virtually all bias is gone with real, truthful education, at-depth understanding and eliminating fear from our minds. In fact, I think that is what we humans are supposed to be doing, along with loving one another, instead of repeating thousands of years of history. There is too much invested in ideas like, "those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it." We have been repeating it because we remember it. One cannot repeat what one does not remember and remembering to be biased falls into that category.

    If we are not ready for this, then methinks what we really are is "not willing" yet. We humans have been ready for it ever since we first thought that a war could lead to peace.

    I believe it is incumbent upon people to truly ask and answer, to themselves, whether or not they really want that.
    We can only be ready now. We cannot do anything in the future. We only procrastinate doing it now and that seems to have been the case for a few 1,000 years.
    When it comes around and is ready to be done, it will be now again, as it is always now anyway. So it is now that one has to answer that question and it is now that one has to begin making that change in themselves only, and maybe that kind of courage will influence others to do the same.

    You can see it here in what people post. Do they hold on to old, dying ways and ideas of making things better?
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    Gail . 50+

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    Nov 19 2012: I think that we will achieve this ideal, but we are not ready to do that yet. Too many have too much invested in their own biases, and these biases are incorporated into education.

    When we learn what "logic" means, we can exorcise the biases and allow learning to grow, but education is intentionally biased at its root. Even in America, the US Dept of Education says that education exists to prepare students for global competition. If you think of all of the reasons that it does not exist, you will see that there is a bias toward sheepledom built in.

    What doesn't it stand for?
    How to run a competent government of, by, & for the people.
    How to run a small, local business in America
    How to prepare a student for a full and self-rewarding life.
    How to be a free-thinker.
    How to develop creativity.
    How to love learning.
    How humans work
    The list is almost endless where only one small part is part of its stated agenda.

    Our language has its biases built in. There are no words for many of the ideas that I would like to present. So I use the words that will be recognized, but they are too often not understood in the context that I use them. This language bias actually limits us. It is an important tool for creating better sheeple.

    Your government and the Abrahamic religions thrive where sheeple live. If you live in the USA, you call "education" that which is not education, and you may feel good about your degrees. But when people are taught more and more about less and less (specialization), and when outright lies are taught about our own (and world) history, and when important subjects are not taught for fear of your learning what the powers that be do not want you to know, our educations make us functionally uneducated.

    Garbage in = Garbage out.
  • Nov 19 2012: There will always be some bias. The best we can do is to offer as many different sides to a story as possible. We owe it to our students to give them as many different perspectives as possible. Right now I do not believe that we even attempt to do that in the US. A majority of what I learned in high school had a pro-US and pro-government bias to it. When you have a government institution dictating the curriculum, this kind of thing happens. College is where I started to get a lot of different perspectives on a subject. It is also the responsibility of the student to seek out knowledge for themselves. I believe that any good teacher seeks to motivate the student to do this. They do not just give out information, they motivate someone to look things up for themselves and to come to their own conclusions. One of the things that helps this is offering several perspectives on a subject. When you get to see a subject from different perspectives, the subject becomes more interesting. It becomes a lot more complex which tends to peak a student's curiosity.
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    Nov 18 2012: The classroom should be biased towards the American culture as they should be towards the Mexican culture in Mexico.

    Knowledge does not come about or learned in a tranquil environment to stress tranquility or a lack bias at the expense of knowledge is crazy.
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    Nov 18 2012: Hi Cayla,

    No we cannot. But does it matter?

    The whole point of education is to get young people to THINK. And if achieved, they will see the bias for what it is. Reminds me of the quote:

    If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you; but if you
    really make them think, they'll hate you.

    see: Training to make you think - super fast track education
    http://www.commonsensethinking.co.uk/sft.html

    and Fit For Life
    http://www.commonsensethinking.co.uk/education.html
    rgds
    JP
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    Nov 18 2012: Luckily it is NOT possible. We have to stop this paranoia about bias and the linking of bias with something which is automatically wrong.

    There is good bias and bad bias. Why, on earth, should everything and everyone be devoid of bias? What and Who would then such thing or person be? The only effect I can imagine of institutionally eradicating bias is the creation of something which is totally devoid of meaning and identity.

    And this I consider even more dangerous than being biased towards anything.
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    Nov 23 2012: No.