Inside Higher Ed :: The Real Bias in the Classroom

This looks to be an interesting study.

There may be political bias in the classroom, but headed in the other direction. A new study — soon to be published in PS: Political Science & Politics — finds that students are the ones with bias, attributing characteristics to their professors based on the students’ perceptions of their faculty members’ politics and how much they differ from their own.

The authors of the study say that it backs the claims of proponents of the Academic Bill of Rights that students think about — and are in some cases concerned about — the politics of their professors. But the authors also say that the study directly refutes the idea that students are being somehow indoctrinated by views that they don’t like. “Students aren’t simply sponges,” says April Kelly-Woessner, part of the husband-and-wife team of political scientists who wrote the study. Further, she adds that the study suggests that not only do students not change their views because of professors, but may even “push back” and judge professors based on politics, not merit.

My own experience says that this is true, and applies as much to religion as politics. In fact, it is usually the religion and not the politics that are to the fore, as one might expect, in my classes and I have indeed found that students who have pegged me as having a particular view point that they do not share begin to shut down and no longer engage with me, even in the classroom context. I should note that they often have the wrong impression of my religious convictions and politics. 🙂

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