Changing the lens: Building teacher capacity to understand the effects of teacher implicit bias on educational experiences for students living in poverty

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jamie Hooper (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site:
Heidi Von Dohlen

Abstract: Students living in poverty and/or experiencing childhood trauma consistently report suboptimal educational results nationwide. This research study examines the impact of building teachers’ capacity in understanding their own implicit bias by addressing classism in the school environment, and assets-based ideology related to students and families living in poverty to increase educational experiences for students living in poverty. To increase teacher capacity to address poverty at one rural elementary school, a four-session professional learning module was delivered containing the following topics: National and local data demonstrating teacher implicit bias, teacher implicit bias and privilege, school discipline and exceptional children data demonstrating disproportionate representation of students living in poverty, assets versus deficit thinking, myths versus realities of poverty, dispelling the culture of poverty, ACEs and their impacts on education, and culturally responsive classroom practices to address poverty at school. A mixed methods model of data collection was used to evaluate the effectiveness of the research initiative. Pre and post survey data were collected measuring teacher beliefs, classroom practices, and implementation of new learning throughout the initiative. Participant written responses were analyzed to determine new learning viewed as important and aspects challenging to their current perspective related to teacher implicit bias, privilege, and assets-based thinking related to students in poverty. Data results demonstrated a 92.86% participant implementation of classroom practices associated with assets-based thinking, and for students living in poverty, a 25% decline in referrals for exceptional children testing, and a 6.61% decline in out-of-class discipline. Addressing teacher implicit bias, privilege, assets-based thinking, the impacts of trauma, and culturally responsive teaching practices must be considered an essential part of teacher professional development to ensure equitable access to education for all students.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2022
Assets-Based Ideology, Priviledge, Students Living in Poverty, Teacher Implicit Bias
Low-income students
Teachers -- Training of
Privilege (Social psychology)
Culturally relevant pedagogy

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