We have just entered the third decade of the 21st Century. The past twenty years have provided humankind with inventions, disruption of traditional businesses, and the exploration of deep space, personal technology devices, artificial intelligence, and the health of the planet. These are the “current events” of the 21st Century. Focusing on what is new enables robust discussion without worrying about politics.

Here is a suggestion, introduce your residents to something new: a new way of processing what is going on in the world. Residents watch television, some still read the newspaper, and many are reading their news online. Just like younger generations, they appreciate the opportunity to “learn more” about a topic and be able to put it in context with their lives. How do they do this? By engaging and interacting with their peers; by learning from others.

Retire the term “Current Events” and replace it with “The 21st Century.” Here are a few ways to get your participants started:

  1. Ask participants to suggest topics that interest them.
  2. Each week select a topic, do a web search, and find a YouTube video or documentary that explains the problem & possible solutions.
  3. If you can’t find a YouTube video or documentary use “brainstorming:” this 21st Century learning strategy is an excellent way for participants to share what they already know about a topic. Use a flip chart or whiteboard to record their responses.
  4. As participants arrive, give them an index card, pen or pencil, and ask them to write questions that they think the group would benefit from discussing.
  5. Finish the session by letting participants read their questions and encourage group discussion to reveal all of the ideas.

While it is challenging to make changes, your residents will appreciate the opportunity to look at things in new ways. After all, isn’t that what the 21st Century is all about?