Returning to the Classroom After the Election Resources

in News & Announcements
November 12th, 2016

We have been hearing from many instructors seeking guidance on how to talk with their students in the days following the election. Depending on many factors, you may or may not choose to engage students in conversation about the election results. 

In a recent blog post, our colleagues at the University of Virginia remind us that even if you choose not to discuss events directly in class, there are a few things you can do to support your students’ well-being and learning. For example: your students will appreciate it if you acknowledge in-person (or in an email) that due to recent events they may be struggling to keep up with school work. This simple acknowledgement can normalize feelings of distress, ease a sense of isolation, and signal that you care.

If you teach immediately following a distressing incident, consider inviting your students at the beginning of class to free-write for a few minutes about a prompt such as the following: “How do you make sense of the current events and your emotions in light of your values? Who do you want to reach out to later in the day for more processing and support?” You may also give students the choice to leave class if they need to process differently and offer flexibility regarding assignment deadlines. We know from the research that such an acknowledgement can increase students sense of belonging and their ability to learn.

We would be happy to talk with you about further strategies within the context of your particular teaching setting. Call us at 617-358-0017 or request a confidential consultation online. The FSAO is also available for confidential consultations for issues beyond the classroom. BU’s Student Health Services also offers advice for helping students in distress.

We’ve collected a number of online resources to guide and support you:

Difficult Dialogues
Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching

Post-election resources and support (Post-Election Community Conversation Topics)
University of Washington Center for Teaching and Learning

Returning to the Classroom After the Election
University of Michigan Center for Research on Learning and Teaching

Teaching in Response to the Election
Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching

Resources for Teaching the Presidential Election and Other Controversial Topics
The Ohio State University, University Center for the Advancement of Teaching

Teaching the Election Reading Group
The Ohio State University, University Center for the Advancement of Teaching

Teaching After the U.S. Election
Brown University’s Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning

The Political Classroom: Evidence and Ethics in Democratic Education
By Diana E. Hess, & Paula McAvoy
Google Books Link  & A Book Review published in the Journal of Social Studies Research

The following BU services are available for you to share with your students:

Dean of Students Self-Care Website

Student Health Services

Behavioral Medicine

Center for Anxiety & Related Disorders

Boston University Chaplains

Howard Thurman Center

International Students & Scholars Office

Boston University Police

CAS Academic Advising handout with detailed information about BU resources:
self-care guide for students

We will continue to update this list as additional resources become available.