Black male teachers learn to use cultural intelligence to banish bias

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Regardless of one’s race, gender or background, everyone has unconscious bias. It’s a fact, says Aaron Joseph, a member of the professional development team conducting teacher training on cultural intelligence (CQ).  “All individuals and all systems have bias,” according to Joseph, who is passionate in his approach to helping educators become more aware of and better able to manage their bias, so they are more effective teaching students from diverse backgrounds.

This week, he helped lead a session on the topic for the first cohort of Black male teachers hired as part of the district’s commitment to increase equity and positive outcomes for Black male students.

Joseph’s training team included professional development instructors Jonathan Parker and Jeremy Harden. Together, they engaged the teachers in a wide-ranging session about cultural intelligence. They explored CQ and how it can serve as a tool to combat the negative influence of unconscious bias in their work with Black students and families.

The trainers made the case for why teachers need to grow their cultural intelligence. It’s a learned skill that can help teachers make their classrooms and instruction more inclusive, assist them in having more tactful and productive conversations with Black parents, and break down systemic bias in the school environment. One hoped-for outcome of improving teachers’ CQ is equipping them to improve the success of the district’s Black male students.

The training team has been busy this semester working to provide similar sessions to the district’s entire teacher corps. Training 100% of staff in CQ and unconscious bias before the end of the school year is one element of the district’s commitment to improve service to Black students and  English learners.

Joseph said his ah-ha moment in this week’s session came when the teachers’ questions and responses showed they were adapting the concepts to apply to their individual work with students, which is an important goal of the training.

Staff and community members can learn more the district’s push to increase equity and reduce bias through CQ training by registering here to view the second in a series of webinars, Using CQ to Create an Anti-Racist School System set for 5 p.m. Tuesday, Dec 8.

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