Critical Skills Classroom/ Problem-Based Learning Concentration

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Our Problem-Based Learning concentration uses the highly regarded Critical Skills Classroom.  Since 1986, the Critical Skills program has offered educators a powerful set of learning experiences in support of classroom and school change initiatives through the MEd program as well as via institutes and workshops through the Antioch Center for School Renewal.

We help you to develop a cohesive approach to 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.

The Critical Skills Classroom is a mindset in which the teacher and the student are co-learners, engaged in the same learning process but focused on different learning goals.  Critical Skills supports a wide array of school change initiatives including:

  • Maker Movement
  • Common Core State Standards
  • College and Career Readiness
  • 21st Century Skills
  • International Baccalaureate
  • Social- Emotional Learning
  • Differentiated Instruction
  • Performance Task Design and Implementation
  • 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

Learn more!

  • Achieving substantive and compelling learning for students
  • Students in the Critical Skills Concentration will not only learn about the CSC, but through it, learning with program faculty who are current k-12 teachers and leaders and who have significant experience and success implementing Critical Skills  in their own classrooms.

    The Critical Skills Classroom is a comprehensive approach that creatively and effectively integrates four powerful teaching methodologies:

    • collaborative learning
    • experiential learning
    • problem-based learning
    • standards-aligned/ competency-based learning.

    Concentration Goals

    Graduates of our Critical Skills/ Problem-Based Learning (PBL) 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 Inclusive Classroom Learning Communities
    Teacher Facilitation in a PBL Classroom
    Assessment in a PBL Classroom
    Instructional Design: Crafting Problem-Based Challenges
    Next Generation Teaching and Learning

    Practicum Courses
    Child Study
    Equity and Change

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