Critical Practices for Anti-bias Education

Professional Development Topic
Classroom Culture
Family & Community Engagement
School Climate
Teacher Leadership

This seminar is based on the original version of our Critical Practices publication, published in 2014. Learning for Justice released the new edition of Critical Practices for Social Justice Education in 2023. The new edition is informed by the current social and political landscape, and it acknowledges the ways educators have been challenged by increased political scrutiny, censorship and debate about what can be taught in schools. Please stay tuned for updated professional development resources around this publication.  

This professional development seminar shows how teachers can take action and create the conditions that bring the key components of culturally responsive pedagogy to life:

  • building and drawing upon 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
  • making the implementation of anti-bias curriculum part of larger individual, school and community action
  • supporting students’ identities and making it safe for them to fully be themselves
  • using instructional strategies that support diverse learning styles and allow for the development of critical thinking skills.

We offer here a set of critical practices to help teachers effectively implement culturally responsive components in their own practice. This professional development is divided into four main categories: Instruction, Classroom Culture, Family and Community Engagement and Teacher Leadership. Each section includes five carefully chosen approaches that we believe are crucial to anti-bias/social justice education. For each of these you will find a brief description and specific examples of implementation strategies. 

The professional development here can be done in a small group setting or individually. Many of the exercises will assume you are working independently, but participants working in small groups can adapt the work for collaborative practice use as well. 

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Four Professional Development Modules

Critical Practices for Anti-bias Education: Instruction
Define critical engagement with material; explore differentiated instruction methods; identify key components of cooperative and collaborative learning; explore methods for making real-world connections to instruction; and evaluate grading procedures to look at more value-based assessments and evaluations.

Critical Practices for Anti-bias Education: Classroom Culture
Identify thoughtful classroom setup and structure that honor student experience; establish norms for shared inquiry and dialogue; establish how to create social-emotional learning safety in the classroom; and analyze behavior management practice to ensure value-based components.

Critical Practices for Anti-bias Education: Family and Community Engagement
Develop strategies to tap into family and community wisdom; develop strategies to tap into local resources; develop strategies to increase connections among families; identify community issues that impact classroom culture; and identify methods of culturally sensitive communication.

Critical Practices for Anti-bias Education: Teacher Leadership 
Increase self-awareness and cultural competency; Identify skills to speak up against and respond to prejudice, bias and stereotypes; explore building allies; and define leading beyond the classroom.

Megan Fuciarelli currently serves as the Director of Curriculum in Indian Springs District #109, a southwest suburb of Chicago, Illinois.  

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