What is Creating Bias-Free Classrooms?
Creating Bias Free Classrooms is an effective, innovative professional development program that uses live, improvisational theater to equip K-12 educators to build inclusive learning environments for students targeted by homophobia. Led by anti-bullying experts, this dynamic training workshop transports teachers into a realistic classroom laboratory--brought to life by trained high school student actors--in which teachers try out new anti-bullying strategies and build the confidence to create safer schools for all. Each 4-hour workshop combines these realistic theatrical moments with skill development and professionally facilitated dialogue, offering a uniquely multifaceted training approach. At the end of each session, teachers hear directly from a panel of LGBT students (and children of same-sex couples), who discuss how teachers' behaviors have supported or undermined their sense of classroom safety.
Creating Bias Free Classrooms was built upon the belief that the arts can play a critical role in building empathy, highlighting social concerns, and imagining a more compassionate tomorrow. The stories, voices, and scenarios presented in the Creating Bias Free Classrooms program are inspired by years of interviews, group dialogues, and experiences with youth and teachers.
Creating Bias-Free Classrooms is a program developed by Encompass which uses professional youth actors and live, improvisational theater to equip educators to build inclusive learning environments for students targeted by homophobia.
how does it work?
The training session blends guided self-refection, facilitated dialogue and experiential learning, offering a highly effective, multi-faceted training approach.
Teachers witness a live classroom scene where homophobia is taking place acted out by professional youth actors. Participants then discuss what happened, and what strategies they would employ in this situation, and give those strategies to the actor playing the teacher. The youth actors then return to the room to repeat the scene but the teacher behaves differently depending on the suggestions from the training participants. The youth actors improvise their reactions based on their knowledge of their characters and the actions of the teacher.
Participants see in real time with real youth how their actions in the classroom can affect a situation. The student actors also share with the participants how their characters felt throughout the simulation.
Most importantly, Creating Bias-Free Classrooms encourages teachers to learn from one another. During each training session, information is shared between the training facilitator and the teachers-and between teachers themselves.