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…
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