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Human Resources Leadership and Effective Schools

Human Resources Leadership and Effective Schools

Anti-bias education has in the past highlighted the need to champion change in how students interact during lessons, in school and even in their lives outside school. Anti-bias education is an essential part of the education system, specifically because of the stereotypes, misunderstandings, and the negative perceptions that have been created by different groups that live together in a given society. While it would be more desirable for people in the same community to live more harmoniously regardless of their personal, cultural, historical, racial, class, or gender differences, negative stereotypes, beliefs and attitudes have made it critical for the education system to make an attempt at instilling positive values in students. The anti-bias curriculum is hence broadly adopted in the hope that it can instill the right perceptions and positive values in the children during their formative years.

The proposed program’s focus

This paper will champion the case of an anti-bias program that will impart children with the knowledge and skills to know who they really are, and thus make them less prone to the negative words or actions directed to them by people who are different from them. The program advocated for in this paper is based on the understanding that when one is different from others, he or she will always be subjected to stereotypes. How the person handles such stereotypes, however, depends on how well he or she knows how to cope. In other words, the program proposed in this paper intends to enhance student’s ability to cope with the negative stereotypes.

Current situation

More than two decades ago, Derman-Sparks (1989, p.3) defined anti-bias curriculum as the active approach through which educators challenge the negative stereotypes, biases and prejudices that exist in institutional setups. Over the years, the anti-bias curriculum has targeted enhancing diversity and encouraging students to be more accepting and accommodating of other people’s differences (Lin, Lake& Rice, 2008, p.189). Comparatively less attention has been paid towards the development of students’ coping mechanism; this is despite the reality that irrespective of being taught about the importance of embracing and accommodating diversity, some students will always harbor negative biases (Lin et al., 2008, p. 190). Arguably, if people who perpetrate racist, gender-based, or class-based stereotypes will always be around, it is appropriate for teachers to consider developing student’s capacity to cope with all the biases they will face in and outside the school environment. Peti (1995, p.2) defines anti-bias as methods or approaches used by an individual or a group of people to promote human diversity in a manner that combats unjust treatment. As Peti (1995, p.56) notes, combating unjust treatment starts with the recognition that such treatment actually exists. Next, an individual needs to know how to resist and challenge the unjust treatment. Since children are not mature enough to recognize why biases exist, or how to resist or challenge them, teachers can take an active role in creating such awareness through the anti-bias curriculum. For fairness sake, this paper admits that such interventions are not entirely new. Derman-Sparks, Guatierrez and Phillips (2006, pp.1-6) are, for example, on record for suggesting intervention methods, which parents could use to teach their children to resist bias. According to Derman-Sparks et al. (2006, p.1), creating an understanding of the child’s self-identity and helping them comprehend why they are different from others, is the first step towards creating the capacity to resist or challenge biases. Next, the adults (parents and teachers included) need to assuage any fears, misconceptions or discomfort that a child may hold about being different. Failure to take the appropriate action during children’s formative years, would lead to the development of prejudices, low self-esteem, fear, feelings of rejection and enormous discomfort during social interactions (Derman-Sparks et al., 2006, p.1).

Goals/ expected outcomes

Borrowing from Peti (1995, p. 96) who created the ‘Little Egg Folks Program’ in Canada, the program advocated for in this papers seeks to attain several goals. The first goal aims to help students develop positive self-identities on issues related to culture, race, gender, social class and physical capacity or appearances. By extension, the foregoing goal should help students become more accepting and accommodating of other peoples’ diverse attributes. The second goal seeks to encourage students to be more aware of their differences and similarities. The third goal seeks to encourage students to identify biases that target them and resist or challenge the same. Finally, the program seeks to encourage students to be more open towards other people, develop an interest in understanding other people and even become more willing to cooperate with people from diverse social, cultural and economic backgrounds.

Individual and institutional steps necessary to make the program a success

The program will teach students that they are perfect and that their respective personalities are just ideal for the kind of people they are. The program will further reinforce the importance of the feelings and emotions that each student goes through and indicate that it is such unique traits that make them able to pursue own lifestyles. The program will also emphasize the importance of understanding that it is normal for students (and even adults) to experience frustrations and happiness as part of the human experience. Finally, the program will emphasize the importance of positive self-perception among students because, as John and Robins (1994, p. 207) note, positive self-perception is correlated with high self-esteem. Negative self-perception is, on the other hand, linked to diminishment bias against oneself, hence increasing the possibility that a person (or a student in this context) will believe that the biased treatment from others is justifiable.

To accommodate the program, the teacher will work with the school administration to have room for at least one lesson of guidance and counseling per week for targeted classes. Individually, the teacher will need to study widely about teaching methods and activities, and develop appropriate pedagogical strategies, which he will use to meet the program’s goals and objectives. He will also develop an evaluation technique that will help him gauge the effects of the program hence enabling him to decide whether it is effective or not.

Championing change through other people’s help

Hooley (2005) underscores the importance of collaborative inquiry in education by indicating that it brings about “transformative consciousness” (p. 71). Following Hooley’s (2005) advice, the program will enlist the help of other teachers in the school. Specifically, the program initiator will enlist the help of other teachers to scrutinize the philosophies, pedagogy and the effect of the program on students. If some of the teachers like the program, an arrangement will be made for them to try it in their own classes.

Should a great number of teachers adopt the program in their own classes, the program initiator will enlist a researcher to gauge the effect of the program on student’s ability to resist and challenge biases. According to Hooley (2005, p. 71), researchers have the capacity to reveal what people think on a personal and professional level through their studies. Enlisting a researcher can enhance future practice by impacting the philosophies that teachers hold on personal and professional levels.


As evident in other parts of this paper, the proposed program will address student’s ability to resist and challenge biases. The program has been developed in recognition that despite students being educated and sensitized to the need to embrace diversity, some of them will never embrace it fully. Consequently, there always be learners who will hold negative stereotypes, prejudices and perceptions towards other people. The proposed program is thus meant to create the capacity for self-appreciation among students and thus the ability to resist and challenge negative biases. To succeed, the program will require the teacher and the institution to take specific steps that will make its implementation successful. Specifically, the teacher will need to acquire pedagogical skills necessary for implementing it while the school will need to support the teacher’s initiative through the necessary resources. Finally, the teacher will need to enlist the help of other teachers who can scrutinize the pedagogical strategies the proposed for use. The program initiator could also enlist the help of researcher if the implications of the program are considered important.


Derman-Sparks, L. (1989). Anti-bias curriculum: tools for empowering young children. Washington, DC: National Association for Education of Young Children.

Derman-Sparks, L., Gutierrez, M., & Phillips, C.B. (2006). Teaching young children to resist bias: what parents can do. REACH, Fall, 1-6.

Hooley, N. (2005). Participatory action research and the struggle for legitimation. Australian Educational Researcher, 32(1), 67-82.

John, O.P., & Robins, R.W. (1994). Accuracy and bias in self-perception: individual differences in self-enhancement and the role of narcissism. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 66(1), 206-219.

Lin, M., Lake, V. E., & Rice, D. (2008). Teaching anti-bias curriculum in teacher education programs: what and how. Teacher Education Quarterly, Spring, 187-200.

Peti, J.L. (1995). The curriculum manual for Little Egg Folks: an early childhood anti-bias curriculum. Thesis/Dissertation- University of Regina, 1-117.