Our biases are constantly at work and fool us into ignorance. Wow! That’s harsh, eh? Check out the video and see how you do.
Ola Rosling pieces together the ignorance puzzle for us. It flows from the neighborhoods we are raised in, the schools we attend and the media we are subject to. The three big pieces are, 1. Personal Bias, 2. Outdated Facts and 3. Media Bias.
While we can’t help living in a neighborhood that is not representative of the overall population, we are exposed to the world like never before and have a tremendous opportunity to expand our perspective if we only first learn to be empathetic and to be critical thinkers.
We are all subject to the changes in the media landscape. The skewed information that has us believing that the greatest threat to our personal security is shark attacks, regardless of where we live, combines with our own intuition and we generalize rules for the world that are significantly distorted. We have yet to provide an adequate level of media and information literacy to combat the ever-increasing levels of access to information. We are often racing blindly into a very dark room.
Without meaning to, “Teachers tend to teach an outdated world view” in schools. We certainly have the power and the moral responsibility to present an updated and relevant world view but we need to actually get on to doing so. Again, media and information literacy would seem to be a good starting point.
After first becoming aware of how much our biases effect our world view, we then need to be able to generalize our own rules in a way that fosters an open stance and equips us to better understand our world. You can’t possibly understand your world without a fact-based world view.
We can look at the current trend of students walking to school. Today roughly 24-28% of students walk to school, down from roughly 58% a generation ago. Some of this can be explained by the anxiety parents have about their child’s safety based on a biased view. It’s sad that so many people feel that the crime rate is going up despite the fact that it has been in steady decline since the early 1990’s. There are very few sharks on the way to school.
What about teaching and learning? If you teach it is it ‘learned?’ Is silent compliance ‘engagement?’ How do we assess alignment between the intended, the taught and the learned curriculum?
What generalized rules guide your thinking? When have you last examined them; challenged them?