I believe that schooling has a huge impact on how students view the world. School forms students opinions and ideas. This is critical to understand as a future educator. Personally, I know that my schooling affected my views, and created biases that I am still trying to overcome. I grew up in a small town that lacked diversity. The only experience that I had with seeing someone that had a different skin colour than me was through videos, social media, etc. In a school like mine, we did not have very many opportunities to make personal connections with people that were different from me. We didn’t read stories or watch videos that had characters that were different than me. If we did, it always had a negative theme. I think that this lack of personal connection created biases that I was not even aware about until I started university.
I link how my biases were developed in my schooling experiences growing up to Chimamanda Adichie’s TED talk. When she talked about the ‘single story’ of the African people, I couldn’t help but think as I was watching that she was totally right. Majority of the time, when I see African people represented on T.V. or on social media, it is because of catastrophe or it is surrounded by negativity. This isn’t just for African people. More specifically in Canada and Saskatchewan, this can be said for Aboriginal people. In literature, there are minimal positive representations of certain groups of people. This creates bias. Kids are extremely impressionable, and it is important to not create single stories in the classroom as a teacher. In a school like the one I went to, I didn’t get the chance to have personal connections with those who were not white. The only chance I had to develop an opinion on those with a different skin colour than mine was through what stories we read, or were told by my teachers. Single stories were created through what information was chosen to be taught to us, and what information was chosen to be eliminated from discussion.
I think that in order to overcome your biases, you have to first accept that you are, in fact, biased. You then must do some personal work. I know that coming to university, I learned a lot through various classes, and how some of my opinions were based on false knowledge. I am still working through the biases that I have, but I think the most important step is to accept it, and learn from the past.