Critical Skills Classroom/ Problem-Based Learning Concentration

Our Problem-Based Learning concentration uses the highly regarded Critical Skills Classroom model.  Since 1986, the Critical Skills program has offered educators a set of powerful learning experiences in support of classroom and school change initiatives. Using the Critical Skills Classroom model, we help you to develop a cohesive approach to address many of the challenges faced by educators today: aligning curricula with state and district learning frameworks; designing real-world, problem-based learning experiences; shaping safe, collaborative classroom and school cultures; integrating critical skill development with content learning; implementing competency-based assessment practices; and achieving substantive and compelling learning for students.

Our program faculty and staff are experienced Critical Skills master teachers and leaders who have significant experience and success implementing Critical Skills and who have completed advanced Critical Skills and leadership training. The Critical Skills Classroom is a comprehensive model that creatively and effectively integrates four powerful teaching methodologies into coherent strategies such as; collaborative learning, experiential learning, problem-based learning, standards-driven or competency-based learning.

Concentration Goals

Graduates of our Critical Skills/ Problem-Based Learning (PBL) program concentration are able to:

  • Design powerful, real-world, problem-based learning experiences (aka Challenges) that target student acquisition of essential knowledge, critical skills and fundamental dispositions.
  • Create strong, safe, collaborative classroom communities built on the principles of sustainability, inclusion and equity.
  • Integrate, visibly and intentionally, critical skill development with content learning. These skills include: problem-solving, decision-making, critical thinking, creative thinking, organization, communication, collaboration, leadership, self-direction, curiosity and ownership in learning.
  • Engineer and implement comprehensive competency-based, authentic assessment practices, both formative and summative, to inform learning and teaching.

Program Delivery

  • Start in January or May
  • Five-semester, 33-credit degree program
  • One or two weeks of face-to-face core and electives courses on campus at AUNE for two summers
  • Five online classes with a focus on Problem-Based Learning
  • Three semesters of practicum work at your school or work place
  • All classes are 3 credits

Complete your degree in 5 semesters!

Most students take 6 credits in the fall in spring semesters. This includes one required on-line class and a choice of practicum. During the summer, students will take one on-line required course in your concentration and one or two week-long face-to-face courses on campus at Antioch New England in Keene, NH. The summer residency is typically the middle two weeks of July. It is possible to spread out your program to take fewer courses in a given semester. Please inquire during the admissions process to learn more about this option.

On-line Courses:
Building Strong Classroom Learning Communities
Teacher Facilitation in a PBL Classroom
Assessment in a PBL Classroom
Instructional Design: Crafting Problem-Based Challenges
Critical Skills for Critical Times (online)

Practicum Courses
Child Study
Curriculum
Equity and Change

Summer Courses
Developing Mind
Critical Skills Level I Institute
Philosophy of Education and Change