Teaching During the US Election
This guide suggests ways to engage and support students while teaching during the 2020 US Election.
- Acknowledge the moment and possible impact on students.
- Recognize that students may come from a range of perspectives, experiences, and countries, all affected to varying degrees by the US election.
- Provide structure for discussion.
- Revisit or introduce expectations for maintaining an inclusive learning environment. The Intergroup Dialogue Project created this resource on framing discussions about the election.
Encourage students to vote, and spend a few minutes talking about why voting is important to you. Discuss ways the election may affect issues related to your course topic or discipline.
How might you engage students in an election related activity?
- Critical analysis of a speech, op-ed, article, etc.
- Compose an op-ed, speech, letter to a public official, etc.
- Statistical analysis of polling or demographic data
- Research pros and cons of a public policy
- Identify problems in a community to research and propose solutions
- Discuss fake news and evaluating sources (library resource on critically evaluating media sources)
The results may not be reported immediately. Regardless of the outcome, students will have varying emotional reactions; some may be jubilant while others might feel crushed or uncertain. After results are announced, acknowledge that both you and students may find it hard to concentrate. Remind them that not all members of our community will feel the same way. Encourage students to reach out to those close to them to both receive and offer support and process the news.
Consider engaging students in a short (5-10 min), private, writing time at the start of class to help them reflect, process, and acknowledge the event.
- What are you feeling?
- What are your hopes?
- What is something you can do?
- Cornell Votes
- Intergroup Dialogue Project Election Guide
- How Faculty Can Support Students During COVID
- Notice & Respond: Assisting Students in Distress Fall 2020 Edition
The Center for Teaching Innovation is available for teaching consultations for instructors concerning the election or other course-related matters. Contact us by email or through our Online Drop-In Hours.