Teaching and the Election

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GSIs play an important role in demonstrating an ethic of care to students who are currently dealing with multiple sources of significant stress. The following resources provide specific steps GSIs can take to assist students and their learning leading up to and following the election:

  • A blog post from the University of Oregon outlines helpful actions instructors can take to support students’ connection with course content and one another and self-care strategies instructors and students can employ to decrease stress during this time.
  • Stanford’s ACT to Sustain Learning through Current Events provides a concise, three-part structure to support students and their learning through the election and beyond.
  • Should conversations become heated, GSIs should revisit with students the community standards they may have established with students at the beginning of the semester. The University of Colorado Boulder provides additional useful suggestions on de-escalating situations and moving conversation forward.

We also recommend that GSIs seek input from the faculty member they are teaching with on how to support students during this time and draw on Berkeley’s Gold Folder and other Resources for Students Under Stress. GSIs should also apprise students of the Election 2020 Debrief Spaces that the campus is making available.

Finally, while it is important to acknowledge the stress students are experiencing and point them to helpful resources, GSIs should not turn their sections into a space of advocacy for particular political viewpoints or positions. As much as possible, connect discussion of the election to
course content and overall learning outcomes established for the course.