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CDSBEO Educators Uncover Personal and Systemic Bias in Professional Development Session

School teams gathered today at the eQuinelle Golf Club in Kemptville to learn about diversity and systemic bias. The training session was hosted to support the Ministry of Education’s Equity and Inclusive Education strategy, and included a keynote address and facilitation by Shakil Choudhury, co-founder and senior partner with Anima Leadership.

The session aimed to bring awareness to personal biases and beliefs, and to help the group gain a deeper understanding of equity and inclusivity for creating safe, respectful and supportive learning environments in CDSBEO schools.

Choudhury discussed ideas of how unconscious bias and self-hate (also known as internalized racism), can manifest in many ways including racism, gender bias, homophobia, classism, and ableism.

“Self hate is not just based on racism, and can translate on gender and internalized sexism,” explained Choudhury. “For example – math isn’t for me, or boys are better at that. These are examples of internalized sexism.”

The goal of the keynote address was to bring these ideas of unconscious bias to the forefront, and to help the group to develop awareness, empathy and compassion for one’s self, and others.

“Sometimes we can see patterns – patterns that indicate internalized hate, patterns that indicate loss of success. For us as educators, we need to be aware that this is what’s happening. We have to be connected to that, and recognize it.”

Choudhury used personal anecdotes as a springboard for those in attendance to discuss and uncover their own stories, and to discover and make connections to instances along their personal and professional journey, where they were made to feel like the minority. The discussion also focused on topics such as emotion, leadership, empathy, and different types of bias.

Attendees were also provided with takeaways to help support classroom instruction and assessment, including a checklist for an inclusive classroom community.

Shakil Choudhury of Anima Leadership addresses school teams
Shakil Choudhury of Anima Leadership addresses school teams from across the CDSBEO at a session focused on uncovering personal and systemic bias.

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