Ngā Matapakinga | Discussion

    Alex Hotere-Barnes
    Implicit bias - "What? Not ME?!"
    21 September
    Public discussion Created by Alex Hotere-Barnes

    In my work with a range of educationalists about establishing Tiriti honouring relationships, I've started to uncover my own implicit biases. I've always known that people hold biases, and we are never value neutral. But I've only recently started to think about my own biases: what guides my thinking and practices?

    Here are a few examples of my own biases:

    • That a well-structured one-off professional learning session will lead to instant and positive behaviour change
    • People who aren't interested in forging Tiriti relationships are inherently racist
    • Being a Pākehā middle class male automatically creates a problem for all Māori people
    • I tend to seek out educational research and evaluation findings that support my own points of view
    • Conflict between different people's ideas and practices is be avoided.

    Even writing these feels 'risky'! That's part of the process - becoming aware of bias is risky business personally and professionally. But it's worth it because I can now challenge my own thinking and practice with a good dose of reality! I only became aware of these biases because colleagues have offered me respectful feedback with evidence to back them up. 

    The work of Dr Viviane Robinson (and colleagues) and Anton Blank (and colleagues) is worth reading. Or, for a quick overview on bias, check this site out. Can you identify a situation when your implicit biases came out of the shadows in your work with young people, families and colleagues?

    Because of this post it has heightened my  senses when I come across different readings/posts etc. A post about unexpected bias in artificial intelligence caught my attention as many points within the post are relatable to what we have been discussion in this thread.

    In particular this statement:  Bias arises based on the biases of the users driving the interaction.

    5 points covered in this post:

    1. Data driven bias

    2. Bias through interaction

    3. Emergent bias

    4. Similarity bias

    5. Conflicting goals bias

    I quite like these 5 points as I think with each one I can relate to something in my practice (a story). It also resonates the importance of what has been said in prior posts in this thread about how we begin to establish relationships and ensuring we all have an agreed shared understanding. 

    What do you think about some of these bias identified and how they relate to the way we operate and interact?

    - By Katrina Laurie
      • Katrina Laurie
        By Katrina Laurie
        Sep 29

        Because of this post it has heightened my  senses when I come across different readings/posts etc. A post about unexpected bias in artificial intelligence caught my attention as many points within the post are relatable to what we have been discussion in this thread.

        In particular this statement:  Bias arises based on the biases of the users driving the interaction.

        5 points covered in this post:

        1. Data driven bias

        2. Bias through interaction

        3. Emergent bias

        4. Similarity bias

        5. Conflicting goals bias

        I quite like these 5 points as I think with each one I can relate to something in my practice (a story). It also resonates the importance of what has been said in prior posts in this thread about how we begin to establish relationships and ensuring we all have an agreed shared understanding. 

        What do you think about some of these bias identified and how they relate to the way we operate and interact?

        • Tessa Gray
          By Tessa Gray
          Sep 27

          Thanks for kicking this off Alex, everyone else has been brave to share too.

          Shocked I have plenty of biases and a strong view or two (I can hear the sucking in of air as you read this) and from a personal perspective, I’ve taken onboard ‘fictions’ of my forefathers. My nana would share how as a Christian, she wasn’t allowed to play with the Catholic kids on the same street. She didn’t know why, just got told off for doing it. Some biases I’ve blindly accepted until questioned, others have made my toes curl.

          In a professional realm I’m probably most biased towards the implementation of digital technologies, so I need to be more understanding other people’s views/opinions/angsts and try and helicopter-up and understand where these come from and why. I also need to be open to trends, research and findings that offer a different truth – ie: like healthy safe use (overuse) of digital technologies and the growing digital divide in NZ.  I also agree that I need touchstone learning conversations with teachers and colleagues to help me hold my ideas lightly.

          I also want to ‘avoid conflict’, having a structure or framework to have quality learning conversations is vital. What tools do others use to help do this? 

          • Alex Hotere-Barnes
            By Alex Hotere-Barnes
            Sep 27

            Tēnā koutou Chris, ko Katrina, ko Lynne! Thanks for feeding into this thread. I can relate to all of your experiences on some level. Being pleasantly surprised by my own biases, and pigeon-holing people!

            In response to your question Katrina about strategies used to help different points of view be accepted by a group... I find establishing some common ground-rules or kawa with a group, at the beginning of a session most helpful. While this is basic facilitation, it's important I come back to these if strong differences come up between people i.e. creating a space that respect peoples various positions/allow people to speak up and express themselves in ways that work best for them. 

            • Chris McLean
              By Chris McLean
              Sep 26

              Kia ora Alex

              I really admire people like you and Kathe who can be overt about their biases and it's made me realise that perhaps I should be more honest about mine. There's something I've maintained from my upbringing (and generation) which is about not upsetting the status quo. I'm aware of my biases ... they tend be be 'not the norm'. Therefore sometimes I'm pleasantly surprised when my 'bias' turns out not to be the reality. I'm starting to front up a bit more, in a tactful way, but I still have a long way to go. 

              Great discussion topic! 

              • Katrina Laurie
                By Katrina Laurie
                Sep 25

                Kia ora Alex

                Firstly I love the risk you have just taken to share examples of your own biases.
                 
                This has been a game changer question to read on a Monday morning about what does guide my thinking and practices and what implicit biases do I have? The link to the overview website on bias was really helpful, in particular about identifying risk areas where our implicit biases may affect our behaviours and judgments. 
                 
                Kathe's point about being overt and then inviting discussion around this is a really good 'tip'. I think that the more we think about this and show transparency will support strengthening relationships and allow us to be open to many points of view. 
                 
                You have also made me think about another lens to use when in professional spaces and in particular what I am presenting in this space. How/has my implicit bias impacted this?  You asked if we can identify a situation when our own implicit bias came out of the shadows. My mind is running over many different situations that I have made a statement about something but then someone in the room has challenged this. Thankfully they did! A good reminder about being open to different points of views. 
                 
                I am now thinking of times I have been around others with strong points of view and have more of an understanding that this could be their implicit bias driving this. I will take a risk now too with this question- can you think of a time this has happened to you and what strategies did you use to help different points of views to be accepted in a group?
                 
                 

                 

                • Lynne Silcock
                  By Lynne Silcock
                  Sep 25

                  Kia ora Alex

                  I used to judge gymnastics and spent a lot of time examining my own biases and working with others to identify and take into account their biases.

                  Your post has made me think about my own biases in terms of my work and honouring Tiriti relationships.

                  I certainly share your first bias about one off PLD (contrary to all the evidence). I think for me, one personal experience can blow all evidence out of the water. I know of a few times when a one off has lead to significant change and tend to cling to that as my evidence rather than thinking of the hundreds for whom the one off had no effect.

                  When I think about my biases in working with Māori I realise that I have an belief/assumption that Māori with be more social and caring than their Pakeha counterparts but less likely to be techy. OK so now I have actually verbalised that it's embarrassing and I have just pigeon holed two whole populations!!

                  Thanks for prompting my thinking - now I can start working on how I stop pre-judging/pigeon holing people before I even know them.

                  Lynne 

                   

                  • Alex Hotere-Barnes
                    By Alex Hotere-Barnes
                    Sep 25

                    Tēnā koe Kathe! Yes - being upfront about bias is important. I've found this helpful too - it's a good way to keep it real!

                    • Kathe Tawhiwhirangi-Perry
                      By Kathe Tawhiwhirangi-Perry
                      Sep 25

                      Kia ora Alex

                      I must admit, I overtly put my biases on the table when I'm speaking with groups of people. (Both in a professional sense and personal!) It stops people from wondering about whether I am biased (or not) and I invite their push-back and/or differing opinions to what our discussion is about. 

                      I am on a huge learning joining regarding the Treaty of Waitangi. The more I find out, the more I realise I don't know! 

                      Ngā mihi

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