This review of the issue of bias in children’s materials has shown that, while books continue to be the prime learning resource for children and adults and continue to have a following for private leisure, the bulk of them are perniciously biased. Pejorative bias is far-reaching in its effects and occurs in all areas of children’s literature and learning resources.
Increasingly, educational practitioners are acknowledging these realities and taking action to combat the potentially damaging effects of bias in materials. They are discussing the issues, developing their own awareness and sensitivity and their own skills in appraising materials. They are developing approaches to combating the effects of biased books in the schools and teaching children to challenge the authority of the printed word and to trust in their own judgment. When selecting new resources, bias is more frequently a criterion for rejection.
Practitioners are extending the school curriculum in relation to available positive resources, and into areas that will give students a wider understanding of people of other races, other cultures, other classes and the opposite sex. They are designing a school curriculum founded on a global, rather than an ethnocentric perspective, and creating an ethos in the school that allows for discussion of issues of racism and sexism.
Practitioners are responding to Local Education Authority policy documents on issues of equality in education, and developing similar policies for their individual schools. They are alert to the statements and recommendations of government, national and professional bodies which declare prejudice, inequality and discrimination to be abhorrent in our society. Views like ‘I treat them all the same’ or ‘Now they’re here, they should become like us’ are no