Gender Bias

Tackling Gender Bias for Learners

From the moment you are born you are defined by your gender. Different language is used to describe you as a boy or girl. There is a resulting bias when parents, teachers and society treat learners differently depending on their gender.

As a teacher there are a few easy steps you can use to help you tackle bias for learners in your care, which I will cover in detail in this article. Please read this entire article so that you have a greater understanding of the impact this can have in your classroom.

Steps to Help You Tackle Gender Bias

1. Make sure your learners know the meaning of bias and prejudice, allowing them to identify bias in gender and culture.

2. Be a role model and examine your own behaviors toward both sexes.

3. Look for gender bias among your learners by frank discussions and sharing of ideas.

4. Encourage play that explores gender roles. Eg: home corner, sports, music.

5. Read books to your learners that challenge stereotyping.

It is easy to challenge gender bias if learners are given opportunities to succeed. Success leads to increased self- esteem, improved self-confidence and acceptance of differences. As a teacher it is your duty to address gender bias within yourself and your learners to bring harmony and positive input to a learning environment.

Gender Bias

Teaching Your Learners the Meanings of Bias in Gender and Culture

Teachers often undervalue the importance of letting students figure out things on their own. It’s also important that your learners understand the importance of bias and prejudice too. They need to be able to identify bias in gender and culture so that they know what is healthy and what isn’t.

When I took the position and role as a teacher, I knew full well that I needed to be a role model for the learners, and examine my own behaviors toward both sexes so that I could be honest with my learners and set the example for them. Don’t forget that as a teacher and one who is in authority that everything you say and do matters.

Discussions with Learners May Help You Identify if They Have Gender Bias

How do you know if your learners are struggling with gender bias? You simply talk with them to figure it out, and once you know, you then come up with a plan to work with them in a way to overcome this.

Have frank discussions about this so that learners can share their thoughts and feelings about it, and so that they can understand what a healthy perspective is and why. Encourage learners to share their ideas, so that you have an idea of why they have the perspective that they have. Encouraging their expressions will increase confidence and trust over time with learners, making it easier for everyone to learn from each other.

Refer to Materials That Challenge Learners to Examine Why They are Stereotyping

Now that you have a better idea of how to address learners regarding gender bias, you can help them learn why they feel that way and how to change it. Sometimes good reading materials are the best way to help them see this and how it needs to change. Are you prepared for that?

If you aren’t sure what reading materials to choose from, consult with principal or another authority figure within the education system that you trust before you choose something and implement it in you classroom.

Read books to them as well, and point these things out as you challenge them to think about things more in depth. There is never a time when helping your students learn is wrong and it’s always best to help them to clearly identify where their feelings come from.

As a teacher you will discover that most learners are coming to you with ideas that stem from how they were raised, and this can be cultural as well, so approach them with an open mind.

Now that you have read this article, I hope that you can clearly see how gender bias can affect your classroom. Students are there to learn for themselves and not to judge others, and it’s our responsibility to make sure that gender is something that is not an issue at the forefront, but rather something that you can talk about freely.

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Heather Collins

Heather Collins is an Early Childhood and Special Education Teacher who makes developmentally appropriate resources for teachers and parents to use with their children. She is author and co-author of poetry books and children’s books. She is a passionate collagist and has crafted beautiful finger puppets and story aprons suitable for early childhood education.

Her resources can be purchased on this website or she can be contacted at Create-Ed by emailing You can order an original apron for any favourite storybook.

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