Critical Practices for Anti-bias Education

As more and more emphasis is placed on improving academic outcomes, it can begin to feel as if there just isn’t enough time for relationship building and social emotional learning. But that doesn’t have to be the case.

This critical practices guide offers practical strategies for creating a space where academic and social-emotional goals are accomplished side by side. It also provides valuable advice for implementing culturally responsive pedagogy and describes how teachers can bring anti-bias values to life by

  • building and drawing on intergroup awareness, understanding and skills;
  • creating classroom environments that reflect diversity, equity and justice;
  • engaging families and communities in ways that are meaningful and culturally competent;
  • encouraging students to speak out against bias and injustice;
  • including anti-bias curricula as part of larger individual, school and community action;
  • supporting students’ identities and making it safe for them to fully be themselves; and
  • using instructional strategies that support diverse learning styles and allow for deep exploration of anti-bias themes.

Critical Practices for Anti-bias Education is organized into four sections: Instruction, Classroom Culture, Family and Community Engagement, and Teacher Leadership. In each section, you can explore recommended practices, find helpful explanations and learn how each practice connects to anti-bias education. Drill down further for specific strategies you can try in your own classroom.

The critical practices in this guide are supported by the Social Justice Standards and classroom resources available on this site.

Social Justice Standards

The critical practices in this guide are based on the values exemplified in the Learning for Justice Social Justice Standards. These standards offer the first road map for anti-bias education at every grade level and is organized into four domains: Identity, Diversity, Justice and Action. Together, these domains represent a continuum of engagement in anti-bias, multicultural and social justice education.

The standards include a set of anchor standards, corresponding grade-level outcomes and school-based scenarios to show what anti-bias attitudes and behavior may look like in the classroom. You can see the full Social Justice Standards in the PDF version of this guide.

Student Texts

The Student Text Library offers a diverse mix of stories and perspectives. This multi-genre, multi-media collection aligns with the Common Core’s recommendations for text complexity and the Learning for Justice Social Justice Standards. Users select from informational and literary nonfiction texts, literature, photographs, political cartoons, interviews, infographics and more.

Teaching Strategies

Learning for Justice offers an array of teaching strategies to build literacy and social-emotional skills while exploring meaningful texts. Unlike conventional or scripted lesson plans, these strategies allow educators to select and combine vocabulary, reading, and speaking and listening activities, customizing a pathway that supports their instructional goals.

Student Tasks

Designed to measure student writing, civic engagement and critical literacy skills, student tasks are divided into two groups. "Write to the Source" tasks allow students to demonstrate their argumentative, explanatory and narrative writing skills by responding to customizable prompts. "Do Something" tasks empower them to take action in their school and community.