Developing self-awareness, generating attitudinal change and providing teachers with the tools, skills and impetus for delivering an anti-bias approach to their teaching is the focus of NICIE’s OCN Level 3 accredited professional development course ‘Anti-Bias in Education’. This three day course has been designed to explore and enhance elements of the document ‘ABC: Promoting an Anti-bias approach to Education in Northern Ireland.’
The training is highly interactive and stimulating for participants. It moves from exploring the development of anti-bias in a local and global context to participants being encouraged to reflect on their own experience of bias, prejudice and discrimination and facilitated to draw conclusions about the impact of the latter on young people within the education system. The structure of the course encourages deep reflection on the nature and impact of the integration of education in Northern Ireland, throughout the remaining days of the course. The impact of segregation, within our society today, is brought into stark relief by a visit to West Belfast on the evening of Day 2. The residential nature of days 2 and 3 provides participants with an opportunity to reflect, debrief fully and chat deeply about this experience. A change of pace on Day 3, with an emphasis on application to practice, enables participants to apply learning to their own contexts and action plan for their future work back at school.
This training has been delivered by NICIE over the last 6 years and has been particularly successful due to the diversity within the group and their high level of participation in the programme. Positivity about the course has been illustrated through participant feedback during the evaluation process. On the subject of personal learning, many have commented on increased insight into their own personal bias and the need for sensitivity towards others: “I didn’t realise I was biased and made assumptions as readily as I do. It has taught me to be more sensitive and aware of others – and how assumptions and bias can impact on others.”
A number of teachers have also spoken of having experienced a renewed vigour and passion for Integrated Education and a desire to be more reflexive in their own teaching:
“…excellent course – enjoyed every minute of it! It rekindled my passion in teaching and promoting the integrated cause!”
“Thank you for revitalising my own beliefs in integration. I’m going back to school refreshed in my ideas and opinions – but exhausted.”