Adventures in Learning The Experiential Classroom Certificate

The Adventures in Learning program focuses on integrating experiential based methods into the classroom and school. This program of study is designed for classroom teachers, guidance counselors, special education staff, physical educators, alternative school staff and school administrators.

The focus of this coursework includes school-wide climate change, classroom community building, and strategies for increasing teacher effectiveness. This program empowers teachers with a variety of experiential methods for engaging students and meeting academic standards. Educators will gain new perspectives on educational practice through learning the foundations of experiential learning theory and through reflection on their own practice as an educator.

Coursework will involve a combination of theory, classroom practice and the development of a self designed capstone experience. Participants will gain practical tools, activities, and strategies to increase engagement, positive behaviors and positive academic and social outcomes with students.

Educators can earn credit through a combination of coursework, a self designed independent study project, supervised curriculum development as well as imbedded professional development in their own classroom with repeated targeted in-school support. Learners will focus on topics such as:

  • experiential methods for positive school climate change
  • classroom community building
  • experiential methods for teaching core curricular content
  • student asset building
  • differentiated instruction
  • reflective practice
  • motivating students to become life long learners

Competencies to be Demonstrated for Particular MEd Concentration Program Standards

Various major/concentrations in the Masters of Education degree at Plymouth State University require demonstrated competency in meeting articulated professional standards in a particular field.  As a basic requirement the Adventures in Learning program certificate themes bear a direct relationship to Vermont's Framework of Standards and Learning Opportunities published by the Vermont Department of Education in 2000. Vermont Dept of Education 120 State St Montpelier, VT 05620

All program courses are linked to the conceptual framework that underlies all teacher education programs at Plymouth State University. All course objectives and expectations in our experiential education courses meet the CHECK framework including the five conceptual goals of the program: Commitment, Holism, Experience, Collaboration and Knowledge.

Candidates earning a certificate in the Adventures in Learning Experiential Approach to Teaching Certificate will be able to demonstrate the following based on these standards:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the philosophical approach to experiential education and techniques for teaching in an experiential student centered way (Learning Opportunities standard B. Instruction), VT DOE.),(HECK)
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the experiential approach to education and its relation to brain based learning, asset development, and character development. (Learning Opportunities standard B. Instruction, D. Connections, VT DOE), (HECK)
  • Implement activities and methods to build a positive learning environment in the classroom and school community (Learning Opportunities standard A. Access, B. Instruction, VT DOE), (CHECK)
  • Demonstrate the ability to assess the differing needs and learning styles of students
  • and use this information to apply a variety of approaches and practical methods for differentiated instruction (Learning Opportunities standard A. Access, B. Instruction, VT DOE), (HEK)
  • Sequence activities and lesson plans in a way to empower students to take control of their learning (Opportunities standard B. Instruction, D. Connections, VT DOE), (EK)
  • Help students understand their own strengths and capitalize on them (Learning Opportunities standard B. Instruction, D. Connections, VT DOE), (CHECK)
  • Use new approaches for motivating students and encouraging pro-social behaviors in the classroom (Learning Opportunities standard A. Access, B. Instruction, D. Connections, VT DOE,(CHECK)
  • Design experiential based lessons to teach core academic subjects (Learning Opportunities standard A. Access, B. Instruction, E. Best Practices, VT DOE), (EK)
  • Engage learners in reflective practice that helps connect classroom experiences to real life and future learning using a variety of methods (Learning Opportunities standard C. Assessment, D. Connections, VT DOE),(EK)
  • Apply experiential approaches to important school issues such as bullying and harassment prevention, drug and alcohol abuse prevention (Learning Opportunities standard B. Instruction, D. Connections, E. Best Practices, VT DOE),(CHEK)

Adventures in Learning: The Experiential Classroom Certificate

Certificate Core Courses:

Students are required to complete 12 credits or more to complete the certificate program including the core courses plus electives.

  • ED 5060 Theories of Learning and Cognitive Development (3 credits)
  • EE 5160 The Experiential Learning Cycle (students are required to complete all three one day course components to earn 2 credits)
    • Adventures in Learning and Teaching-Shaping the classroom learning community
    • Activities for Academic Success- Teaching curricular content in an engaging experiential way
    • Teachable Moments Maximizing Outcomes through Reflective Practice
  • EE 5150 Experiential Group Facilitation: Beyond Basics (2 credits)
  • EE 5140 Experiential Education and Differentiated Instruction - Meeting the varying needs of learners (2 credits)
  • EE 5130 Building Your Repertoire (complete 3 workshops to complete 2 credits)
    • Teachable Moments
    • Metaphors for Change
    • No Props No Problem
    • Games for Any Space
    • 10 Props 100 Games
  • EE 5190 Independent Study (1-3 credits)


  • EE 5170l Introduction to Low Challenge Course Elements (2 credits)
  • ED 6900 Graduate Capstone Experience in Experiential Education (variable credit)


Assessment for all courses will be based on attendance and participation in activities and discussion and completion of course assignments. Course assignments are assessed based on the application of material to the practitioners own classroom or educational practice including documentation of the impact new content is having on teaching practice and student outcomes. Specific assignments grading requirements will be outlined for each course.

Course Texts

Required and recommended texts and articles for each course will be chosen from the following list. Final list to be determined

Bower Nancy Macphee, (1998). Adventure Play: Adventure Activities for Preschool and Early Elementary Age Children. Simon and Schuster and Project Adventure

Cain, Jim; Cummings, Michelle; & Stanchfield, Jen (2005) A Teachable Moment-A Facilitator's Guide to Activities for Processing, Debriefing, Reviewing and Reflection, Dubuque: Kendall Hunt Publishing.

Dewey, John. (1938). Experience in Education. New York: Collier Books.

Frank, Laurie, (2004) Journey toward the Caring Classroom, Wood-n-Barnes Publishing

Jensen, Eric (1998) Teaching with the Brain in Mind Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

Jackson, Tom, (2005) Still More Activities That Teach. 55 hands-on activities that are educational, practical, user-friendly and fun! Red Rock Publishing

Jones, Alanna. (2000) 104 Activities That Build: Self-Esteem, Teamwork, Communication, Anger Management, Self-Discovery, Coping Skills. Richland: Rec Room Publishing

Luckner, John, and Nadler, Reldan (1992). Processing the Experience. Dubuque: Kendall Hunt Publishers.

McDermott, John, (1973). The Philosophy of John Dewey. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press

Paley, Vivian, (1992). You Can't Say You Can't Play. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Rohnke, Karl & Butler, Steve (1995). Quicksilver, Dubuque: Kendall Hunt Publishing Company

Simpson, Steven (2005) The Leader who is Hardly Known: Self-less teaching from the Chinese Tradition. Wood-n-Barnes publishing

Stanchfield, Jennifer. (2007) Tips & Tools for the Art of Experiential Group Facilitation Wood-n-Barnes Publishing

Tomlinson, Carol Ann (2001) The Differentiated Classroom Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

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