The Unconscious Bias Toolkit

Caitlin McMillan

Caitlin McMillan is a teaching and learning consultant at London Connected Learning Centre and creative digital leader with the GEC EdTech Collective. She is also the project manager for TechPathways London, a new programme of free training for educators and careers professionals funded by the Mayor of London's Digital talent Programme.

Website: www.thegec.org Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Earlier this year, London CLC, in collaboration with Queen Mary University of London, launched TechPathways London, a new programme of free training for educators working with young people aged 11-24 in London.

Funded as part of the Mayor of London's Digital Talent programme, its aim is to bridge the digital skills gap between education and the 21st century creative and digital markets. Working closely with industry partners across London's digital and cultural sectors, the programme provides those working with young people with the tools to support the development of skills required to succeed in the modern workforce. A core component of the programme, and it’s first fully online course, is the Unconscious Bias Toolkit.

What is Unconscious bias?

Unconscious bias is an unintended consequence of the way your brain simplifies the information you receive to make it quicker and easier to interpret and act upon. This involves using your past experiences and impressions to look for patterns and make judgments about people, things and situations.

These seemingly instinctive responses are not wholly un-useful - if we weren’t able to form judgements in this way, we’d have to process so much information every second that the world would become a pretty overwhelming place. The problem is, because this happens unconsciously, we don’t get to decide what our brains think is a ‘relevant’ detail; our unconscious reactions, responses and biases are in great part a result of the patterns that we are exposed to, often without even noticing.

Exposure to patterns - women in tech

Currently:

  • Almost two-thirds (65%) of boards in the top tech firms have no female directors. (Inclusive Boards, Inclusive Tech, 2018)
  • 78% of students cannot name a famous female working in technology (PWC, Women in Tech, 2017)
  • Only 16% of females have had a career in technology suggested to them, compared with 33% of males (PWC, Women in Tech, 2017)

When these are the patterns that we are continually exposed to, and where our culture and media presents men as keener tech users than women and girls, ignoring the rich history of women in computing, is it any wonder that studies show that most of us see computing as more of a masculine subject than an feminine one? (see the toolkit for the shocking results of typing ‘computers for girls’ into Google images)

Unconscious bias also seeps into the language that we use with young people. A 2016 study from the Journal of Pediatric Psychiatry found that, after a trip to the emergency department of a hospital, parents were four times more likely to tell their daughters to be ‘careful’ than their sons. Whether we intend it or not, the evidence shows that we speak to male and female children differently.

As educators, we know how important confidence is to pupil’s engagement and attainment - by encouraging girls to ‘be careful’, are we making them more risk averse? More afraid to try in case they fail? 

How can the toolkit help?

The TechPathways London unconscious bias toolkit provides educators with a framework to identify, challenge and mitigate bias within their settings. 

The course contains an overview of the issues at hand, alongside practical advice and activities designed to help you to explore your own personal and institutional unconscious biases and take steps to address them. Once you have completed the course, you will gain access to the full course materials - the idea is that you can then present the toolkit in your own setting, enabling you to share and disseminate the knowledge gained.

To sign up to take the FREE Unconscious Bias Toolkit online course, visit: https://techpathways.london/courses/using-the-unconscious-bias-toolkit/

For more information on TechPathways London and our full range of free courses, visit: https://techpathways.london/

For further reading and practical advice to close gender gaps in your school, visit The Gender Equality Collective website.

Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support us.
When you register, you'll join a grassroots community where you can:
• Enjoy unlimited access to articles
• Get recommendations tailored to your interests
• Attend virtual events with our leading contributors
Register Now
Login

Latest stories

  • How to handle stress while teaching in a foreign country
    How to handle stress while teaching in a foreign country

    Teaching English in a foreign country is likely to be one of the most demanding experiences you'll ever have. It entails relocating to a new country, relocating to a new home, and beginning a new career, all of which are stressful in and of themselves, but now you're doing it all at once. And you'll have to converse in a strange language you may not understand.

  • Is Learning Fun for You, Teacher?
    Is Learning Fun for You, Teacher?

    Over the weekend, my family of five went to an Orlando theme park, and I decided we should really enjoy ourselves by purchasing an Unlimited Quick Queue pass. It was so worth the money! We rode every ride in the park at least twice, but one ride required us to ride down a rapidly flowing river, which quenched us with water. It was incredible that my two-year-old was laughing as well. We rode the Infinity Falls ride four times in one day—BEST DAY EVER for FAMILY FUN in the Sun! The entire experience was epic, full of energizing emotions and, most importantly, lots of smiles. What made this ride so cool was that the whole family could experience it together, the motions were on point, and the water was the icing on the cake. It had been a while since I had that type of fun, and I will never forget it.

  • Free recycling-themed resources for KS1 and KS2
    Free recycling-themed resources for KS1 and KS2

    The Action Pack is back for the start of the brand new school year, just in time for Recycle Week 2021 on 20 - 26 September, to empower pupils to make the world a better and more sustainable place. The free recycling-themed resources are designed for KS1 and KS2 and cover the topics of Art, English, PSHE, Science and Maths and have been created to easily fit into day-to-day lesson planning.

  • Inspire your pupils with Emma Raducanu
    Inspire your pupils with Emma Raducanu

    Following the exceptional performance from British breakthrough star Emma Raducanu, who captured her first Grand Slam at the US Open recently, Emmamania is already inspiring pupils aged 4 - 11 to get more involved in tennis - and LTA Youth, the flagship
    programme from The LTA, the governing body of tennis in Britain, has teachers across the country covered.

  • 5 ways to boost your school's eSafety
    5 ways to boost your school's eSafety

    eSafety is a term that constantly comes up in school communities, and with good reason. Students across the world are engaging with technology in ways that have never been seen before. This article addresses 5 beginning tips to help you boost your school’s eSafety. 

  • Tackling inequality in EdTech
    Tackling inequality in EdTech

    We have all been devastated by this pandemic that has swept the world in a matter of weeks. Schools have rapidly had to change the way they operate and be available for key workers' children. The inequalities that have long existed in communities and schools are now being amplified by the virus.

  • EdTech review & The Curriculum Lab
    EdTech review & The Curriculum Lab

    The world is catching up with a truth that we’ve championed at Learning Ladders for the last 5 years - that children’s learning outcomes are greatly improved by teachers, parents and learners working in partnership. 

  • Reducing primary to secondary transition stress
    Reducing primary to secondary transition stress

    As school leaders grapple with the near impossible mission to start bringing more students into schools from 1st June, there are hundreds of thousands of Year 6 pupils thinking anxiously about their move to secondary school.

  • Generation Z and online tutoring: natural bedfellows?
    Generation Z and online tutoring: natural bedfellows?

    The K-12 online tutoring market is booming around the world, with recent research estimating it to grow by 12% per year over the next five years, a USD $60bn increase. By breaking down geographic barriers and moving beyond the limits of local teaching expertise, online tutoring platforms are an especially valuable tool for those looking to supplement their studies in the developing world, and students globally are increasingly signing up to online tuition early on in their secondary education schooling. 

  • Employable young people or human robots?
    Employable young people or human robots?

    STEM skills have been a major focus in education for over a decade and more young people are taking science, technology, engineering, and maths subjects at university than ever before, according to statistics published by UCAS. The downside of this is that the UK is now facing a soft skills crisis and the modern world will also require children to develop strong social skills as the workplaces are transformed by technology. 

In order to make our website better for you, we use cookies!

Some firefox users may experience missing content, to fix this, click the shield in the top left and "disable tracking protection"