Tip: Post-election resources
Navigating challenging conversations with students in this particularly fraught time.
I remember very clearly teaching the day after the 2016 election. Working in a community college with students from immigrant communities, we had some difficult conversations in class that day - conversations that I felt very ill-prepared to facilitate on a variety of levels. Whatever the outcome of November 3rd - and the days or weeks after - it’s safe to assume that there will be people on our campuses who are elated and people who are disappointed. Given the general heightened tension and anxiety surrounding this semester, I thought it would be helpful to offer some resources to address what might be some challenging conversations on your campuses.
NB: I do not mean to suggest that we should feel obligated to drag our students into these conversations; they may be resistant or may simply be ready for a break in all things political - you may be as well! But, it’s also possible that these conversations will pop up whether we feel ready for them or not.
If you’d like to be prepared in a more general way…
University of Michigan CRLT's Preparing to Teach about the 2020 Election (and After) offers a list of strategies and resources for instructors to facilitate conversations about the election
Harvard’s Teaching & Learning Lab prepared a guide on Teaching in Times of Strife and Trauma that offers a large collection of resources for instructors and others working with college students
If you’re not currently teaching, you might be interested in exploring Tufts’ Institute for Democracy & Higher Education’s report, Election Imperatives 2020: A Time of Physical Distancing and Social Action, that addresses higher education administrators and student services staff in particular, with a goal of providing research-driven recommendations to increase student voting and change campus climates to improve equitable political learning, discussion, and participation in democracy
If your context seems to fit with a more proactive approach to navigating some post-election conversations…
Debra Mashek’s article, Avoiding Postelection Student Unrest, outlines a student workshop plan that could be adapted for use in the classroom
Vanderbilt’s Center for Teaching offered this article just after the 2016 election that focuses on navigating difficult conversations in the classroom
New York Times series, Teach and Learn With the 2020 Election, offers writing & reading resources for teachers; the focus is more for upper secondary-level students but some would be adaptable for use in higher education classrooms
POD Network for faculty developers complied this list of resources to help faculty navigate post-2016 election
If all else fails, respond with empathy. This very short (2.5 minute) animated clip from Brené Brown is so powerful for thinking about responding from a place of empathy versus a place of sympathy: Rarely can a response make something better. What makes something better is connection.
Some additional resources…
Tara Brach’s work on compassion: Recognize, Allow, Inquiry, Nurture (RAIN)
Magnify is a way for people to connect with volunteer projects in their community
Michele DiPietro, published a paper in 2003 in To Improve the Academy article about faculty responses to 9/11
Therese A. Huston & Michele DiPietro wrote In the eye of the storm: Students perceptions of helpful faculty actions following a collective tragedy
Resources from the Chronicle on Trauma-Informed Teaching
Sociologist Ilana Redstone, Univ. of Illinois, created a collection of videos on diversity and open inquiry, Beyond Bigots and Snowflakes