World Trust

Addressing Unconscious Bias Tip #6: Practice New Habits of Thinking

Posted by Adwoa Gyimah-Brempong on October 23, 2014


One of the strongest perpetuators of the system of racial inequity is unconscious bias. As diversity trainers and educators, it is crucial to find ways to interrupt this bias so as to pave the way for change.

Transformative learning asks adult learners to engage in critical reflection on their experiences and learned beliefs, for the purpose of deconstructing embedded assumptions about how the world works. 

At World Trust, we have found that transformative learning is the perfect pedagogy for addressing unconscious bias. In our latest series, we'll look at six elements that can be included in your diversity activities, harnessing the power of transformative learning to combat unconscious bias.

Preparing for Action: Using case studies and group exercises to practice new ways of thinking.
Another way to interrupt unconscious bias, or overcome ingrained ways of handling information, is by putting new learning into practice. In this way, practitioners encode new ways of seeing and being in the world to be accessed again in future. They start to practice new habits of thinking. 

Some modules in our product for facilitators and educators Beyond Our Wildest Dreams: Racial Equity Learning Modules contain case studies or role-playing in order to facilitate this process.

The core learning module Understanding the System of Racial Inequity is one example. In one section of this module called Taking Action/Becoming Allies, participants watch a TEDTalk by Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative.

Using the understanding of the system of inequity that they have acquired in previous sections, they then take on the task of creating interview questions to ask potential candidates for local office.

The questions are geared toward identifying an understanding of a candidate’s ability to adequately represent one’s community – and to be aware of the types of responses and outcomes they might seek.

The Takeaway
It is crucial that the learning about unconscious bias that takes place in a diversity training does not end when the last presenter speaks, or when the Powerpoint ends, but is put into practice. If properly integrated into a training, practicing on-the-ground choices can help prepare participants to take new habits of thinking into action in their personal and professional lives. When learning can be put into action, the impact of the training can ripple out into your organization long after the workshop is over.

Want to learn more about our Racial Equity Learning Modules? For more information, please click here. Curious about the rest of the tips in this series? Download them all for free below!

Download "Addressing Unconscious Bias" from World Trust

Topics: Resources for Facilitators & Educators