Preventing Favouritism in Class: A Teacher’s Perspective
In the early days, the apple of one’s eye was referred to as the “aperture at the centre of the human eye” In modern days, it’s a famous idiom “the apple of my eye” meaning, a special favourite, beloved person or thing.
When I was a teenager (more than 20 years ago), I was just that, the apple of my teacher’s eye, the special “kid” Perhaps, I was the product of a feeling or emotion experienced by the teacher that could have been easily prevented. Back then, did the class circumstances justify the teacher’s behaviour to have a supposed favourite? I think not!
Now, I am in those very same shoes. I could not even have imagined that it would be so hard to control these emotions. The line between supporting a hard worker to be the best and outright favouritism is muddy and unclear.
As a teacher, I get bombarded by different emotions or feelings every single day. Either positive or negative. Emotions are normal and can be justified. But is it acceptable to treat students differently based on how they make me feel?
The majority of battles we face in life can only be fought effectively if we have a clear understanding of the enemy. In this post, I will explain favouritism and offer guidance for preventing favouritism in the classroom.
Defining favouritism and its trigger.
Some say favouritism is the practice of giving unfair preferential treatment to one person at the expense of another. Trigger points of favouritism often include similar sociocultural and economic backgrounds between teacher and student. Gender and race can also unwillingly trigger favouritism. A teacher might also lean towards favouritism, especially when the student makes a good first good impression.
The Crippling effect of favouritism.
Favouritism, in effect, can be very harmful to both the teacher or student. This type of behaviour often leads to questions about the moral compass or the ethical standards of the teacher. This can open the door to being labelled as a “teacher who has questionable ethics.” Whereas so-called “favourites” may fall victim to isolation and rejection from their peers. While on the other hand, some of their peers can become angry and act out or withdraw their class participation. Either way, the outcome will make or break the teacher-student relationship.
The Red flags of favouritism.
Half the battle is recognizing the emotion and the behavioural traits of favouritism, namely:
· The impulse to isolate students and overtly show that you favour some students over others.· Giving undeserved praise and overlooking the mistakes of students.· Ignoring some students and openly giving more attention to a select few.
The inevitable result of favouritism.
Favouritism could lead to the unhealthy promotion of incompetent students, who suffer from low self-esteem. Students may even develop a sense of privilege. These students can form negative attitudes towards life and struggle to function in social circumstances. Generally, favouritism creates an unavertable unhappy classroom environment.
Prevention is better than cure.
One might prevent favouritism in the following ways:Following a code of conduct – The classroom management system that has been prescribed by the school.
Acknowledge the emotions – It is our responsibility to be aware of our emotions, albeit positive or negative.
Be in control – Through the process of self-improvement, we can continually be motivated to do our best by setting the standard of exemplary controlled behaviour.
Build a good report – Avoid situations to pick favourites. Remain impartial by not leaving any student behind. Treat all students equally in all class-related situations.
Create a positive culture in the classroom – Where students feel encouraged to be positive. Let students know they are welcome and equally important. Always give honour and praise to all students.
Set the tone – Enable every student to believe they are a favourite.
Assure fairness – Be fair-minded when assessing students. Outline a clear assessment framework to ensure every student is treated fairly.
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.” ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War.
While preventing favouritism can be a challenging task, it is not an excuse to treat students differently. We can only hope to level the playing field by knowing and understanding our enemy. Be honest with yourself. Take action by following a strong moral code of conduct and implement a strategy to overcome favouritism. This will ensure that we protect ourselves and our students resulting in a trustworthy environment in which everyone is treated equally, allowing them to function at their best in their education process.
How do you avoid favouritism in your classroom? Do you have any classroom management tips that you use to prevent unfairness in your class? Please share your thoughts on the topic in the comment section below. We’d love to hear your responses.
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