At ASCD’s L2L conference, I’ve had the opportunity to reflect quite a bit on my own learning. In one of the first sessions I attended, we spoke a lot about our own biases, known and unknown. The facilitator, Krista Leh, helped me to truly think about my own biases and, that it isn’t a negative, of a flaw, to have biases. Instead, it is an expectation that we all do.
What is most important, however, is how we notice those biases and how we address them. One of the first things I realized is that I have to do a better job staying aware of my own inherent views. We are all born with things that we think, and we need to be able monitor our own thinking so that when we interact with others, we do so in a way that will be most effective. For me, this means working harder to think before I speak. While I’ve grown in this area quite a bit over the last few years, I still have much work to do. One way for me to address this is to understand that awareness of speaking involves more than one layer. For instance, I might think before I speak in terms of the content of my words, but I might not think ahead about my specific word choice.
Language is layer-rich, and Krista’s session helped me to realize this.
Another area I thought about was in how I address my biases. This means being even more cognizant of all the differences that exist between us. It isn’t just about differences that I have always recognized, but instead, drilling down even deeper to see that these differences are even more prevalent than I might have previously thought.
And, that’s a good thing.
We can never be too aware. In fact, our ability to work with others is dependent on our ability to understand who people are, where they come from, and how best to reach them. Awareness is always a need if we are to keep doing the good work and truly meet people where they are.