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Current Events Discussion Club: Understanding Today by Looking to History

Nelson Vargas, J.D. Professor
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Using history to understand our world.

Class experience

US Grade 4 - 7
  • Students will learn to examine current events critically, looking at the historical context behind the latest news. I employ the Socratic method and will have students in later classes research and present on topics they have an interest in.
As required by Outschool regarding I have significant expertise in conflict resolution and mediation. I have received mediation training as part of my legal degree and receive continuing education training in both mediation and conflict resolution to retain my legal licensure. I have participated in several mediations and alternative dispute resolution proceedings. I have provided training in conflict resolution and de-escalation at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. In 2020 I co-taught a class on mediation at the Univerity of Maryland, School of Social Work.  
Homework Offered
After the first few classes, students will be asked to research and present a current event they are interested in.
1 - 2 hours per week outside of class
Assessments Offered
Grades Offered
Learners will not need to use any apps or websites beyond the standard Outschool tools.
Students will be expected and required to respect different views and experiences. To this end, we will look at current events from varying perspectives, with a focus on objective and provable facts. The class will focus on multiple perspectives about current events. Consequently, multiple news sources from varying perspectives will be used, to include most major news media sources (e.g. CNN, Fox, MSNBC, the Hill), as well as source material such as judicial decisions, legislative reports, and videos. Since this is primarily a history class there will be references to historical documents and articles from a variety of sources to include, but not limited to, reference materials from services such as Westalaw and Lexis/Nexis and the National Archives.   
Joined August, 2020
I am a judge, former federal prosecutor, policy counsel, and college and law school professor. My bachelor's degree is from the State University of New York at Albany in Political Science and History, with a minor in Economics. I also earned a... 
Group Class


1x per week
55 min

Completed by 551 learners
Live video meetings
Ages: 9-14
1-12 learners per class

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