I read an interesting piece this week about confirmation bias and how important it is to the FBI. Apparently, they train their agents to notice conformity and prejudice in themselves before they even commence to look for clues, evidence or facts relevant to any new case. Confirmation bias is the very human habit of only looking for evidence that matches, suits or builds upon a pre-existing belief or hypothesis.
We even have an emoji for confirmation bias that has become one of the most widely used across the planet. It conveys a clear “Hmm, I’m pretending that I’m thinking but I’ve really already made my mind up about you/this?”
My contention (and this might be a little difficult to read) is that our schools are overloaded with confirmation bias. And we have to collectively see it and stamp it out.
Ask yourselves some basic questions about oft referred assumptions in your school and whether they could be indicators of confirmation bias:
- Are certain students believed more than others due only to ‘past history’?
- Are there students who we assume have troubled home lives who actually might not?
- Are some students afforded lower expectations due to a limiting label or diagnosis?
- Are parents really unwilling to work with us or have we just not made them feel adequately welcome yet?
- Does our data really say that we’re either that bad/good?
- Am I really completely exhausted or am I looking around for evidence that I could be?
- Does my Principal really not care about what’s happening in the classroom in preference to focusing on budgets and admin?
Answering these questions might just point you to some surprising, or even inconvenient, truths. And that’s ok. Schools shouldn’t be expected to be perfect –but we should expect ourselves to be scrupulously honest.
Free WEBINAR – Switch Off!
I’m delighted to announce that we have a Guest Presenter for our April Webinar – Angela Lockwood. How can I put this? … Ange is awesome!
Drawing upon a long career working with children, individuals, schools and organisations, Angela knows how to integrate the skills of slowing down into the fast-paced and pressured lives of educators.
- Recognise when it’s time to switch off and how to take immediate action.
- Understand your behaviours and triggers to prevent a melt-down.
- Build habits that help you flick the switch between focus, productivity and rest so you can have the energy to take you through the year.
Whether you’re needing time to contemplate big decisions, feeling burnt out in need of a holiday, or just needing some time to clear space in your life, this webinar will introduce you to a practical framework to help you slow down and take control.
This Real Schools Webinar is aimed at Teachers, School Leaders and Administrators of all phases of learning.