About the Middle School Curriculum
Empowering Students, Challenging Bias is a curriculum for middle school educators who want to promote anti-bias concepts in order to create safe, respectful and equitable classroom and school environments. This anti-bias curriculum is organized into five instructional units with 30 lesson plans in total. The lesson plans encourage youth to reflect on their identity, understand and appreciate differences, explore societal issues arising from bias and discrimination, understand how people have historically confronted bias and injustice and take leadership roles in promoting justice and equity in their schools, community and society.
The anti-bias curriculum can also be used in Advisory, Social Studies and Health classes as well as integrated into other subject areas. Advisors for after-school diversity and affinity clubs can use the lesson plans to help youth understand issues and build upon that knowledge to create change in their school and community. An integrated approach to anti-bias education is significantly more powerful than tying it to one subject area.
The curriculum includes a bibliography, glossary and professional resources for educators.
Educational environments that reflect the rich diversity of the community, nation and world assist in opening young people's minds and actively engaging them in their own learning. Research has shown that prejudice is countered when schools and classrooms foster critical thinking, empathy development and positive self-esteem in youth.
Anti-bias education is a comprehensive approach to learning designed to actively challenge stereotyping, prejudice and all forms of discrimination. Creating inclusive, respectful classrooms where youth feel comfortable talking about difficult but important issues is an ongoing effort and working for social justice is a life-long endeavor. To prepare for successful learning of anti-bias concepts in the classroom, teachers should consider some criteria for creating positive, anti-bias environments where respect for diversity is taught, modeled and experienced firsthand.
With comprehensive anti-bias education, the mastery skills that participants acquire include the following:
- Young people understand the various dimensions of identity and apply this understanding to their thinking and behavior.
- Young people develop an understanding of basic terms and concepts relating to prejudice and discrimination and apply this understanding to their interactions with others.
- Young people increase their understanding of the impact of culture on communication and apply this understanding to their interactions with others.
- Young people develop the capacity to recognize and acknowledge bullying, prejudice and discrimination in themselves, in others and within institutions.
- Young people develop and put into practice skills to challenge bullying, bias and discrimination in themselves and others.