Understanding Implicit Bias in English Learning


What is implicit bias?

Implicit bias is a subconscious subjective view of a particular group. It arises due to the existence of stereotypes against a specific group that we have seen ourselves or we got it from the media or other people. Implicit bias is often difficult to detect because we tend to perceive certain stereotypes as normal.


It is also essential for educators to understand implicit bias because what teachers share will influence students’ implicit bias. One example is that we often give English sentence templates to students without realizing that there are stereotypes in it. Here are some sample sentences:

  • My father goes to the office on weekdays.
  • My sweeps the floor every morning.
  • Ani can make delicious cake.
  • Budi is a good football player.


Do you think the sentences above are odd?

If you don’t think there’s anything strange about the sentences above, you most likely have an implicit bias regarding gender. The sentences above represent gender stereotypes: women do housework and cook, while men work and do physical exercise.


Why does implicit bias have a bad effect?

If the teachers are not aware of the stereotypes they convey to the students, then they will consider it as a normal thing. For example, the teachers will transfer the implicit bias related to gender above to the students through sample sentences used as English learning materials without any filtering. Therefore how to detect implicit bias and avoid stereotyping in the classroom?


A way to detect implicit bias is through educating ourselves and enriching knowledge by learning anything from various points of view. Therefore, we will no longer understand something from a side only. In addition, we should provide a variety of example sentences and texts for students in order to reduce any stereotypes. Here are some alternative examples of reducing implicit bias:

  • My father often cooks dinner for us in the evening.
  • My mother is currently working as CEO in a start-up company.
  • Ani has just graduated from industrial engineering school.
  • Budi likes making flower arrangements in his spare time.


So that’s implicit bias and its negative effects. Therefore, please educate yourself and don’t be easily influenced by other people’s implicit biases.


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