Skillfully integrating an understanding and requisite
developmental skills in eliminating bias in our programs
enhances our ability to uphold the agency mission through
active resource stewardship. This component provides
specific considerations to introduce all interpretive
park rangers to the biases that would prevent their
interpretive and educational contacts from achieving
their goals with the widest possible range of audiences.
Identifying and removing bias from programs and media
enhances interpretation, which in turn allows a broad
audience to discover personal relevance and reasons
to care for the resource.
Upon completion of this component, learners will be
bias and explain its relevance to interpretive and
three examples of bias in existing educational or
interpretive materials and offer alternatives to
at least three different types of bias in interpersonal
interactions and offer alternatives to remove them;
a rationale for presenting "bias-free"
programs, and be able to defend it on a psychological,
social, and cultural basis;
three things they can do to ensure that the programs
they present are free from bias.
Educational programming is an effective vehicle for
interpreting the significance of National Park Sites
with school groups, youth groups, and adult learners.
Interpretive programs have the potential to contact
many park visitors, and education programs may contact
learners who have never visited a national park site.
People who visit park units come from diverse backgrounds
and have had a variety of experiences before coming
to our sites. As interpreters, our challenge is to make
the stories of our sites accessible to the public, while
creating a safe learning environment that engages visitors
and accords them dignity and respect.
To this end, it is critical that interpreters learn
to identify and remove bias from all aspects of interpretation.
In Module 110, park rangers achieved competency in assessing
visitor needs and characteristics. This component provides
one technique to allow interpreters to provide inclusive,
multicultural programs that will respond to a wide variety
of those needs and characteristics. Module 102, component
Quality Service also
provides basic information that may help the learner
acquire skills to help with this material. The supplemental
readings included with Module
103 include a file on bias. As in Module 101, Fulfilling
the NPS Mission, the content of Module
201 applies to all aspects of NPS interpretive and
Bias, whether overt or unintended, influences people's
sense of self and others. Bias is defined as any attitude,
belief or feeling that results in or justifies unfair
treatment of an individual because of his or her identity
(i.e. race, sex, physical ability, sexual orientation,
ethnicity). Bias is communicated in a multitude of ways:
verbally and non-verbally, in written or graphic materials,
and in the design of physical spaces.
Bias in interpersonal communication can take the form
of making eye contact with males more than females,
ignoring African Americans while responding to people
of Anglo European descent, or asking higher order questions
of able-bodied people than of those with physical disabilities.
Bias in written materials includes the use of characterizations
and stereotypes, inappropriate language and terminology,
and cultural tokenism.
In order to develop and present interpretive and educational
programs that are free of bias, interpreters must be
able to recognize and remove bias from all aspects of
programs. This component provides the building blocks
needed to present bias-free programs. Once completed,
this component will help the learner recognize bias,
explain the value of creating and presenting bias-free
programs and materials, and cite strategies for presenting
programs free from bias.
A. Bias (gender, class, racial, ethnic, others)
II. Forms of bias, prejudice, stereotyping
A. Interpersonal communication
a. Speaker's point of view (From what perspective
does the interpreter speak? What assumptions does
she/he make about the topic and audience?
b. Pronoun usage (Are masculine pronouns used
when referring to gender neutral objects? Are
feminine pronouns used diminuitively?)
c. Euphemisms (Are euphemisms used to diminish
the import of sensitive or controversial issues
such as: slaves/servants)
d. Terminology (Are terms used with cultural sensitivity?)
a. Eye contact (With whom does the interpreter
make the most eye contact?)
b. Body language (What does body language communicate
about accessibility/inaccessibility or interest/disinterest?)
c. Gestures (How are gestures used to prompt or
silence members of the audience. To communicate
d. Positioning (Where does the interpreter spend
the most time?)
e. Inclusion (Who gets called upon? With whom
does the interpreter spend time? What questions
are asked of different students/visitors?)
B. Printed materials
a. Narrator's point of view
b. Pronoun usage
a. Artwork (Does artwork depict people with
cultural authenticity? i.e Are Native Americans
always on horseback and in feathers, or, are the
Dutch always in clogs?)
b. Photographs (Do photos include faces similar
to those who you are speaking to, for inclusion?)
C. Exhibit design and support materials
1. Layout and sequencing of text/illustrations
(Do the experiences and views of a particular group
predominate? Are views of other groups included?)
2. Accessibility (Do manipulatives and exhibits
allow for access by physically disabled? Children?
Effects of bias and prejudice
A. Sense of self
B. Sense of others
C. Quality of experience
D. Discovery of personal meaning
E. Resource stewardship
Rationale for presenting bias-free programs
A. Psychological (How does bias affect a person's
aspirations, motivations, impressions of self and
others, and ability to function effectively in diverse
B. Social (What impact does bias have on the social
fabric? How does bias affect ability to function as
C. Cultural (How does bias affect cultural expression?
What impact does bias have on the health and perpetuation
of diverse cultural groups, their traditions and belief
systems? How does this impact our understanding of
ourselves and human experience?)
Strategies for presenting bias-free programs
A. Appropriate and effective communication techniques
1. Verbal (language usage, higher and lower order
questioning, direct/indirect communication)
2. Non-verbal (eye contact, positioning gestures,
affirmation, time spent with individuals or groups,
intonation and inflection)
B. Printed materials (Is language sex-fair and inclusive?
Is material devoid of stereotypes and characterizations?
Do graphics support content? Is the narrator's perspective
C. Content, perspective, approach (Are a range of
experiences included? Are people represented with
cultural authenticity? Are sources current? Does the
approach accommodate different learning and communication
D. Props and materials (Are materials accessible to
a range of users? Are alternatives available for people
with disabilities? Do materials include images that
are relevant to the audience?)
Anti-Bias Curriculum: Tools for Empowering Young Children,
6th edition, Derman-Sparks, Louise and the A. B. C.
Task Force., Washington, DC: National Association for
the Education of Young Children, 1992. Discusses the
extent to which children internalize bias at a young
age, and explores the role adults play in teaching bias
to children. Includes practical strategies for identifying
bias in classroom curricula, language, and the environment.
Crossing Cultures through Film, Summerfield, Ellen,
Intercultural Press, Yarmouth, ME, 1993. An excellent
resource for putting together intercultural training
for staff.Includes an annotation of over 70 classic
films and their potential uses for cross-cultural training.
Developing the Multicultural Process in Classroom Instruction:
Competencies for Teachers, Baptiste, H. Prentice, Jr.,
University Press of America, Phoenix, AZ, 1979. Though
dated, this work offers a competency-based approach
to developing a multicultural curriculum. Includes lesson
plans, strategies, and suggestions for creating a comfortable
Diversity in the Classroom: New Approaches to the Education
of Young Children, Kendall, Frances, 2nd edition, Teachers
College Press New York, NY, 1996. Focuses on creating
an environment conducive to learning in culturally diverse
settings. See especially Developing a Multicultural
Classroom Environment, assessment tools, and bibliography
of children's literature.
Experiential Activities for Intercultural Training.
Vol. 1. Seelye, Ned, ed., Intercultural Press, Yarmouth,
ME 1996. Includes training materials (simulations, case
studies, role plays, and individual and group exercises)
useful for developing intercultural awareness and cross-cultural
Failing at Fairness: How Our Schools Cheat Girls, Sadker,
Myra, and David Sadker, Scribners and Sons, MacMillan,
1994. Provocative examination of the factors influencing
girl's desire, or lack thereof, to participate in traditionally
male-dominated careers. Sheds light on the extent to
which classroom bias affects girls motivations.
Girls in the Middle: Working to Succeed in Schools,
AAUW, Washington, DC, 1996. This report and video show
how middle school girls, regardless of race, ethnicity
or socioeconomic status, use the same basic behavioral
strategies to cope with adolescent challenges.
Guidelines for Selecting Bias-Free Textbooks and Storybooks,
Council on Interracial Books for Children, New York,
NY, 1980. Though dated, the guidelines remain current.
How Schools Shortchange Girls: A Study of Major Findings
on Girls and Education, AAUW, Washington, DC, 1992.
This report discusses the lack of attention given to
girls and education, and the impact this will have on
achieving goals articulated in "America 2000."
In a Different Voice, Gilligan, Carol, Harvard University,
Cambridge, MA, 1993. Discusses the ways males and females
think and the different values the bring to public and
private issues. Examines the profound and enduring impact
of gender bias on the psychological growth and development
Looking at History: A Review of Major U.S. History
Textbooks, Davis, O.L., Gerald Ponder, and Lynn Burlbaw,
et. al., People for the American Way, Washington, D.C.,
1986. Includes reviews of twenty major U.S. history
Making Choices for Multicultural Education: Five Approaches
to Class, Race and Gender, Sleeter, Christine E. and
Carl A Grant, Merrill, Columbus, OH 1988. Focuses on
the theory and pedagogy of multicultural education.
Each chapter includes a section titled, "Recommended
Practices," though the book is largely theoretical
Multicultural Education: A Teacher's Guide to Content
and Process, Hernandez, Hilda, Merrill, Columbus, OH,
1989. This book provides a balance between theoretical
material and classroom teaching strategies.
Multicultural Teaching: A Handbook of Activities, Information
and Resources, 3rd edition. Tiedt, Pamela L., and Iris
M. Tiedt, Allyn and Bacon, Boston, MA, 1990. This text
contains a variety of lesson plans focusing on stereotyping,
equity, self-esteem, and culture. Includes an appendix
entitled, "A Literature Base for Multicultural
The Nature of Prejudice (abridged), Allport, Gordon.
Doubleday, Garden City, NY, 1988, chapter 1, pp. 3-16.
This seminal work provides one perspective on the root
of prejudice and its impact on group interactions. Readers
should be cognizant of the use of dated terms, reflecting
the era in which the book was originally printed.
Resources for Educational Equity: A Guide for Grades
Pre-Kindergarten - 12. Froschl, Merle, and Barbara Sprung,
New York: Garland Publishing, 1988. This guide focuses
on issues of educational equity, with particular attention
paid to issues faced by girls and women. The guide includes
an annotated bibliography for each of its chapters.
Sounds from the Heart: Learning to Listen to Girls,
Barbieri, Maureen. Includes meaningful commentary on
teaching techniques, psychological development theory,
and strategies for balancing risk taking and security
in the classroom.
Teaching with a Multicultural Perspective: A Practical
Guide, Davidman, Leonard, and Patricia Davidman, Longman
Publishing, White Plains, NY, 1994. Presents an integrated
multicultural model of curriculum and instruction.
Turning on Learning: Five Approaches for Multicultural
Teaching Plans for Race, Class, Gender and Disability,
Sleeter, Christine and Carl A. Grant, Macmillan Publishing,
New York, NY, 1989. This work is an excellent and practical
companion piece to Making Choices.
You Just Don't Understand, Tannen, Deborah, William
Morrow and Company, New York, NY, 1990. Explores the
relationship between gender and communication styles.
Provides practical suggestions for improving communication
between people with diverse communication styles.
Journals and Magazines
Multicultural Leader, a newsletter published quarterly
by Educational Materials and Services Center, P.O. Box
802, Edmonds, WA, 98020. This newsletter includes essays,
a book review, a journal watch section in which essays
are briefly summarized, a research review, and practical
ideas for teachers. An excellent source for information
on multicultural education and teaching.
Teaching Tolerance, a journal published twice a year
by the Southern Law Poverty Center, Montgomery, AL.
For information, write: Editor, Teaching Tolerance,
400 Washington Avenue, Montgomery, AL 36104. A collection
of ready-to-use ideas and strategies related to teaching
and diversity. Each issue includes lesson plans and
ideas submitted by teachers from throughout the country.
ERIC-Education Resources Information Center, Largest
education-related database. Contact the Clearinghouse
for Science, Mathematics, and Environmental Education,
1929 Kenny Road, Columbus, OH 43210-1080. Also can be
accessed on-line through ALTA VISTA search engine.
Title IV Desegregation Assistance Centers (DACs)
Desegregation Assistance Centers are charged with assisting
educational organizations achieve equity goals outlined
in Title IV. While DACs work primarily with schools,
they are an excellent resource for learning about issues
related to bias and equity. DACs are funded through
three-year federal grants.
CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT
New England Deseg. Assistance Ctr.
144 Wayland Avenue
Providence, RI 02926
NJ, NY, PR, VI
The Metro Center
32 Washington Place, Room 72
New York, NY 10003
DE, DC, MD, PA, VA, WV
5454 Wisconsin Ave., Suite 1500
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
AL, FL, GA, KY, MI, SC, TN, NC
Southeast Desegregation Assistance Ctr.
Miami Equity Associates, Inc.
8603 S. Dixie Highway, Suite 304
Miami, FL 33143
IL, IN, MI, MN, OH, WI
Programs for Educational Opportunity
University of Michigan
1005 School of Education
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
AK, LA, NM, OK, TX
Intercultural Dev. Research Association
5835 Callahan, Suite 350
San Antonio, TX 78210
IA, KS, MO, NE
Midwest Regional Desegregation Center
Kansas State University - Bluemont Hall
Manhattan, KS 66505
CO, MT, ND, SD, UT, WY
Metropolitan State College/Denver
1100 Stout Street, Suite 800
Denver, CO 80204
AZ, CA, NV
Southwest Regional Laboratory
4665 Lampson Avenue
Los Alamitos, CA 90720
AL, HI, ID, OR, WA, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana
Islands, Trust Territory of the Pacific
NW Regional Education Laboratory
101 SW Main Street, Suite 500
Portland, OR 97204
ERIC -Educational Resources Information Center
The world's largest education-related database. Call
800-LET-ERIC or contact the ERIC Clearinghouse for Science,
Mathematics, and Environmental Education, 1929 Kenny
Road, Columbus, OH 43210-1080. ERIC is online and easily
accessed through the Alta Vista search engine
National Coalition for Sex Equity In Education
NCSEE provides leadership in the identification and
infusion of sex equity in all education programs and
processes and within parallel concerns, including, but
not limited to age, disability, national origin, race,
religion, and sexual orientation. NCSEE serves as a
national network for individuals and organizations committed
to infusing equity and reducing role stereotyping for
1. Gender Bias in Interpersonal Communication (need
to find full citation for Dateline NBC segment and need
to identify which chapters from Sadker and Sadker are
most useful) Watch the Dateline NBC segment featuring
Myra and David Sadker's report on classroom gender bias
and chapters 1, 3-5, 8 and 10 of Failing at Fairness:
How Our Schools Cheat Girls (see resources) Write down
the forms of gender bias identified, as well as any
comments made by the Sadkers on the enduring impact
of this bias. Then, do one of two things:
A. Review a videotape of yourself presenting an educational
or interpretive program, and make note of any bias you
see similar to that identified by the Sadkers on the
Dateline NBC segment (Remember - bias can be very subtle.
You may want to do this with someone else). For each
type of bias you identify, write a statement on the
potential impact of that bias on the individual, and
develop an alternative teaching strategy to mitigate
B. Observe an interpretive program and make note of
any bias you see similar to that identified by the Sadkers
on the Dateline NBC segment. For each type of bias you
identify, write a statement on the potential impact
of that bias on the individual, and develop an alternative
teaching strategy to mitigate the bias.
2. Identifying Bias in Printed Materials
"Review Ten Quick Ways to Analyze Children's Books
for Sexism and Racism" and "Examples of History
Textbook Bias" in Guidelines for Selecting Bias-Free
Textbooks and Storybooks (see Resources). List the different
types of bias identified. For each, cite at least one
strategy that will enable you to identify this bias
when assessing publications.
Once you have reviewed the articles and made notes,
review a park publication for bias using information
gleaned from the first part of the assignment. Make
a list of any bias you find, noting the type and frequency.
Summarize your findings in a paragraph that describes
the nature and frequency of bias, the likely impact
of bias on readers, implications for resource stewardship,
and a specific action items for removing