By Ruthie Szamozi, English Teacher and Guidance Counselor
On January 9th, a day before Term 2 began this January, Linden faculty and staff attended a professional development session facilitated by Shakil Choudhury of Anima Leadership. Shakil is a diversity and leadership consultant with a background in teaching, and specializes in anti-discrimination, equity, conflict resolution, and emotional intelligence. He led us through a day-long workshop based on the framework provided in his most recent book, Deep Diversity: Overcoming Us vs. Them. In this workshop, we looked at implicit bias, the ways it can affect the work we do at Linden, and how we can work to overcome it.
At Linden, we strive to work within an anti-oppression framework by approaching the curriculum from multiple perspectives. This means looking at our work from feminist and anti-racist viewpoints. Faculty and staff found this professional development opportunity to be very valuable. Several teachers have already started using the topics that we discussed on Monday in our classrooms and other interactions with students, and we are excited to see where else these conversations can take us. Faculty are looking forward to their next PD session with Shakil later in the year.
"Shakil's discussion on how our unconscious biases influence our choices and preferences really resonated with me. While unconscious bias is not a new idea for me, Shakil's perspective shed interesting light on where the bias comes from; how it is a natural product of our evolution and was originally designed to protect us. We need to make ourselves aware of the existence of our biases and consciously work to reduce them," said Janice Gladstone, Linden's Principal. "I was also very taken with the powerful team-building work we did that will continue when we meet again later this year," she added.