Selecting culturally relevant and anti-bias materials for your environment is aptly named. I thought it was fascinating to realize that I had already purchased all my school’s materials without really considering a wide array of cultures. I thought I had covered all of my bases by making sure we had gender-specific and gender-neutral materials, but this is an even more dynamic filter through which I should purchase materials in the future. I guess it’s easy to forget that home life and parenting styles can be so different that learning and educational tools themselves might be represented in significantly different ways.
As stated in one of my journal logs, I think every school should interview the parents before proceeding with the child’s attendance. Obviously, many schools don’t have a budget that can support a full understanding and individualized curricula, but issuing a questionnaire that covers cultural traditions, parental strategy, and general expectations and meeting in person about it would allow parents and administrators to make a more informed decision. In some cases, parents might decide to take their children elsewhere, without the pains of enrolling and later disenrolling.
Materials sources themselves reflect bias, so expanding the sources of materials can be helpful in diversifying. I use Amazon for a lot of things, so the selection is much wider than many vendors. Even Amazon’s recommended products algorithm is constructed with biases – keywords and relevance being the two major factors in that algorithm.
At the end of the day, I will buy future materials that are more culturally diverse, but I also need to think they’re worth their price. I’m sensitive to the many cultural identities of the world, but even that has its limits. I’m sad to say that limit is financial in nature. A business can have the best of intentions, but if the financial backbone isn’t there, there’s no business to spread the wealth of any education at all. I know that sounds like typical capitalistic justification, but it’s the truth when you’re a small business without any major investors.
Anyway, this was an interesting module with a solid guest speaker, a nice digital format and a cool way to log journal entries and final notes.