Here, we want to raise awareness what might happen in school contexts. For this, we have a few examples.
The role of teacher expectations
The role of teacher expectations:
A study in Berlin by the BIM 2017 has shown that teacher biases can have direct effect on the success on pupils. Teachers had lower expectations towards certain groups of migrant children. Consequently, they did not interact with them as often as others.
Another study by the University of Mannheim 2018 showed that prospective teachers gave different grades to different „names“ of pupils. They had to correct exactly the same essay, one with the name „Max“ and one with the name „Murat“. „Murat“ got worse grades in average than „Max“.
> So here, it shows how important it is to have anti-bias trainings for teacher students.
Research shows, that even the threat of a stereotype might have a direct impact on the performance of students, since it takes a lot of thoughts and energy to fight possible stereotypes!
Biases towards migrated parents
During our PARENTable project, newly migrated parents told us their experiences. Some voices are here:
It was a history lesson, and a teacher said something like “the refugees who run away”. After the class, my daughter asked me: ‘Mom why did we run away and why we are we here’ and she was really offended by this. And it was difficult for me how to describe the situation for her. She is too young to understand this.
When my husband went to school, the teachers there said to his daughter: 'She is excellent. There is no problem at all. Everything is going very well, she does everything that needs to be done’. (...) And whenever we ask them how to motivate her more, they tell us everything is fine. But it's clearly not. There should be honesty when they give us feedback
And now that I have learned some German, I introduce myself like this at parental evenings: 'I am a physics and chemistry teacher’. And I can see their astonishment and how their look changes. They have a wrong opinion about us.
And then parents and teachers look at me, they look at how I am dressed, how my daughter is dressed, how I take care of her. These are all things they notice. (…) Then the teachers ask a lot of information to my daughter about us, about how we live at home.
If I knew the language better, I would explain them in detail, but I prefer now to stay silent.
These parents found different strategies how to fight these biases.
They directly started to talk to people, they explained their situation, they confronted the school officials. But it is important to raise awareness for these stories so they don‘t happen again!
Exercise: The danger” of the single Story”
This video gives you a better understanding how we all grow up with biases.
What about you?
Which children's books did you read? Who were the characters? Did they consist of "single stories"? Could you see yourself in it?
When did you have a single story of others in your head in school context?
When were you affected by a "single story" on you (as parents, as teachers, etc.)?
What was your feeling and reaction?
How did you react with situations of single stories as teachers and parents? What were your strategies?