Implicit Bias In the Classroom: Can Video Games Help Combat It?
June 20, 2017
From Education Week:
Researchers at University of Wisconsin-Madison are developing a video game that will guide K-12 teachers through the hazards of unconscious attitudes and assumptions that affect the way they see their students, a phenomenon called "implicit bias."
This summer, the researchers will work with staff from two school districts to design the game, which will allow teachers to experience bias in the schoolyard, cafeteria and classroom from a student's perspective.
Christine M. Pribbenow, a senior scientist at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research at the university, says one scenario that could turn up in the game is common enough in real life—a teacher in a majority white school calls a black student by the wrong first name, confusing him for another student of color.
"What do you do about that?" said Pribbenow. "If you are calling students by the wrong name, a very simple strategy is to get to know them as individuals. If you're doing something like that, you're probably grouping kids together, like all the Asian kids together and all the black kids together."
The idea for a video game that teaches educators to recognize implicit bias is not new. Pribbenow had a hand in developing the video game Fair Play, which was the brainchild of University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of medicine Molly Carnes. In the game, university professors and administrators directly experience the discrimination against a black graduate student. Players guide the avatar, named Jamal Davis, as he navigates a university campus, networks with colleagues, picks an advisor and attends conferences. Along the way, the students and professors he runs into make assumptions about him because he's black.