bias: prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair Oxford Dictionaries
Earlier this week, I received an e-mail from a person writing a book about leadership in which there is a chapter on biases. He wrote:
One of my beliefs (OK, biases) is that a large share of biases aren't even recognized as such, so they never get challenged. I want to encourage people to identify and challenge their biases. Only by understanding their biases can they look at all options and set a direction for the team that will be successful.
...and requsted my permission to use some of my posted biases. I was delighted, as always that something I had written was useful, and it was a good excuse to re-examine my old list of biases that are linked on my blog. Here we go.
My Freely Admitted Personal Biases as of August 2013
(subject to change on short notice)
- The solution to all the world's problems will rely on effective education (operative word is effective).
- Libraries and uncensored Internet access are vital to a democratic society.
- A teacher's primary job is to instill a sense of importance in his subject. Skills will follow.
- Schools should teach children to think, not to believe.
- Creativity, empathy, and humor are as important to success as reading, writing and numeracy.
- An effective school library program should be available to every child.
- Money alone won’t improve education. Chastisement alone won’t improve education.
- All citizens should pay for public education. Don't you want an educated person changing your drool bucket in the nursing home?
- Also see "All 10 fingers, all 10 toes" on my educational wishes for a new grandson.
- All kids should be treated the way I want my own grandchildren to be treated.
- There is no place in the future for teachers. Only co-learners.
- Like it or not, what gets tested, gets taught.
- On data driven decision-making: anything that you can get someone else to believe is true.
- Anything fun in education is automatically suspicious.
- The best way to show gratitude for a professional courtesy is to pay it forward. Show a person new to the field a kindness.
- When traveling, never eat anything you can't translate.
About politics and religion:
- Both politics and religion should be viewed with profound skepticism.
- Legislators should not require children to take tests that they themselves can’t pass.
- Standardized testing is more about discrediting public schools than improving education.
- All political extremists of both the left and right should be put in a compound surrounded by razor wire and armed guards in western North Dakota – and kept there. Ann Coulter and Al Franken should have to share a room.
- If life isn't fair, why should the afterlife be?
- The best gifts given are to those who are actually in need.
- Strength of opinion and depth of knowledge rise and fall in inverse proportion.
- Technology is neutral.
- Best practices should drive educational change, not technology.
- Short-term fixes rarely fix anything and usually aren’t short-term.
- PowerPoint doesn’t bore people: people bore people.
- Machines are the easy part; people are the hard part.
- Cell phones are evil. (Exception to bias #1.)
- Macs are better than PCs. But both are detestable.
- More and better are not synonymous.
- My best decisions are made when I think of myself first as a child advocate, second as an educator, and lastly as a technologist.
- The motto of most technology departments should be: Solving problems with technology that you didn't have before there was technology.
About race and culture:
- Swedes are superior to Norwegians in every way. But mixed marriages can work. I’m a Swede, my wife (aka the LWW - Luckiest Woman in the World) is Norwegian.
- Everyone has a funny accent except Minnesotans.
- George Carlin, Bill Maher, and Jon Stewart are always right.
- Overpriced and unrecognizable food served in small portions artfully arranged on over-sized plates served by an obsequious waiter is not fine dining.
- No male over age 10 should wear bangs.
On human nature:
- Although I may not say it out loud, my grandsons are better than any other children on the face of the planet.
- I really want most urban legends to be true.
- Most of us would prefer shallow wit to deep intelligence in our writers and speakers. Thank goodness.
- Sport stadiums should be paid for by the people who use them; community centers, parks, bike trails, libraries, and swimming pools should be paid for by everyone.
- Smoking and overeating should be considered poor health choices, not moral failings.
- Most of us should be a lot more thankful than we are.
- Most of us should worry a lot less than we do.
- Change is inevitable - except in human nature.
- Say something nice about your spouse to your spouse everyday.
- If you wait for the perfect conditions, you’ll spend your life waiting.
- It's easier to find something than to find it again.
- Rules and reasoning only work with the rational.
- Unless you are the bride, never be the thing people remember most about a wedding.
- Only English majors and film critics like tragic endings.
- Nice people ought to get better service.
- Charitable giving is the best investment you can make. Spoiling your children and grandchildren is the second best.
- The happiest people in the nursing home are the ones with the best stories, not the ones with the most money.
- If you can't find someone on whom to pass your stress, you're stuck with it.
- Everytime a grandfather farts, an angel gets its wings.
Everyone should have such a list. Everybody's biased. It's OK. Just let the rest of us know where you're coming from