“Putting my hope in Nevada” and other student reflections on election

This semester I teach a policy class on Tues/Thurs. I have a few “in person” students but mostly they are on Zoom, and so I have been challenged all semester with how to find ways for people to participate that doesn’t depend on a camera or their willingness to unmute themselves. I knew that today I wanted to give some space for people to talk about their questions and thought related to the election. I also wanted to “use time wisely” since we are very close to the end of the semester. Conveniently, because I planned it that way, their chapter reading for today was a review on the political process in social work. Voting, yes, but also problem identification, generating solutions, enacting legislation, implementing policy and evaluating policy.

At the last minute (last half hour before class) I got an idea. I used a padlet (my favorite pandemic teaching tool) to ask them to identify questions they had about the election, what they were thinking about as we wait for the final results, and any thoughts they had about the political aspect of social work in general. (At the beginning of the semester I had taken a poll and only half of my students agreed with the statement that social work was a political profession. So, I wanted to see if their ideas had changed.)

They padlet participation was just shy of 100% and I can’t ever say the same for in person classes, so that was a win. One person said, simply, they were putting their hopes in Nevada. Some people wrote paragraphs.

We talked about some of the responses in class, and I told them that I would review them prior to the next class and we could keep discussing, and I would share resources, etc. We talked about the electoral college, about the attempt to find shared values, about our concern for human rights. I tried to hold space for the anxiety in the room, as that was named in alot of the padlet posts.

For a spur of the moment idea, it turned out pretty well.

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