According to Maureen Costello, the director of Teaching Tolerance, we all have implicit biases. These implicit biases are unconscious and involuntary. Fortunately, Costello offers a solution concerning personal bias. She says, “We can mitigate them. We can interrupt them. You can train your mind to catch yourself. It’s like breaking a habit, but the first thing you have to do is become aware of the habit” (Flannery, 2015). Biases regarding student’s ability levels are common in special education and can result in expectations that fail to challenge or support a child’ education. “Special education is the most heavily litigated area of school law. Parents and their children with disabilities have well-defined legal rights and clearly articulated procedural due-process rights. Consequently, the legal rights of children with disabilities should never be ignored out of expediency, personal bias, or ignorance” (Stader, 2013, p. 181).
To complete this journal, you will first need to take the Disability Implicit Association Test (IAT), one of several tests that were development to educate the public about hidden implicit biases. To take the test go to https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html. Read the disclaimer and then click on “I wish to proceed” at the bottom of the page. Click on the button labeled “Disability IAT” and follow the instructions to take the test. The test takes about ten minutes to complete.
After you take the test, do not report your results. Instead, use the experience as background information to respond to the following questions in your journal:
Were you surprised by your results?
What impact do you believe your result has on your instructional/leadership practices?
How does understanding your own implicit bias better equip you for respectful engagement with diverse populations?