Waikato Journal of Education


Implicit bias
critical content analysis


In order to disrupt hegemonic thinking, the foundation of biases on which this thinking is built must first be confronted. I became increasingly aware of the detrimental impact of implicit bias during a research project I conducted in a children’s literature course with preservice teachers. In this research project, I analysed the responses of the preservice teachers to a cosmopolitan approach to reading children’s literature. A cosmopolitan approach in literacy invites a reflexive consideration of personal perspectives and an opening towards learning from the perspectives of others (Hansen, 2017). In encouraging the ideals of a cosmopolitan approach to literacy, I encountered areas of resistance from the preservice teachers. These instances of resistance were often rooted in implicit bias. During the final stages of completing my research, the picturebook Milo Imagines the World by Matt de la Peña (2021) was released. Milo Imagines the World reveals how deeply held ideologies and biases impact perceptions of reality. An awareness of how biases impact one’s perception of reality is an important factor in developing greater self-awareness and combating hegemonic thinking. In this article, I provide a critical analysis of the various forms of bias encountered during my research along with a reflective exploration of the picturebook Milo Imagines the World. This picturebook and analysis provide a context for better understanding the subtle pervasiveness of biases that often contribute to the maintenance of hegemonic thinking.

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