Masters Thesis

Experiencing Anti-Bias Professional Development: Reflections and Insights from a Community of Educators

By way of qualitative data, the researcher looked at the experiences of a community of educators during a series of professional development offerings. The purpose of the sessions was to unpack the ways in which the intersectional identities of individual educators impact how they show up in their work and interact with students, families, and colleagues. Based on the premise that educator bias is a significant contributor to the widely documented opportunity and achievement gaps in education, the researcher sought to determine what might happen when educators explicitly take on those issues in the spirit of critical self-reflection. The specific question being considered was: In what ways might explicit professional development about identity, bias, and critical self-reflection impact the beliefs and behaviors of a community of educators? The scope of the research was confined to a select group of educators who work for one school system and attended the same professional development series. The intention was to determine how a diverse group of educators experience a specific professional development and make meaning of those experiences. As a result, the researcher was able to determine several themes that emerged from those experiences and make recommendations for how to move forward with effective learning opportunities for educators to promote equitable opportunities and outcomes for all students. Adult Learning Theory, Critical Race Theory, Culturally Relevant Pedagogy, and Cultural Proficiency are applied to the date to interpret the experiences and determine a path forward.

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