Critical Explorers Summer Workshop
for Educators

Explore, discover, and design

authentic learning experiences
at the 3-day workshop in August!

Information about the 2019 Summer Workshop will be available in the spring.  Until then, the 2018 details are archived below for reference.

Critical Exploration is a distinctive teaching approach that powerfully supports inquiry and engages students in developing deep understandings of the subjects they study. Through CE, teachers bring students into direct contact with complex, thought-provoking materials. Teachers learn how to encourage student thinking while helping students discover and pursue promising puzzles and questions. This transformative process expands students’ awareness of their own intellectual capacities while deepening teachers’ appreciation of their students’ potential.

This workshop is designed to equip participants with a foundational understanding of critical exploration, as well as actionable classroom strategies that will challenge your students, deepen their confidence, and strengthen their capacities to share and build on each other’s ideas. Through the Critical Explorers Summer Workshop, you’ll experience, reflect on, and create questions, activities, and curriculum that inspire inquiry, and you’ll strengthen your practice, whatever your previous experience.


K–12 teachers seeking to involve students in absorbing investigations and meaningful learning

K-12 curriculum coordinators and administrators seeking to promote student-centered curriculum design

University, college, and district teacher educators


Sessions each day with Eleanor Duckworth,
Professor Emerita, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Experience curriculum developed by Critical Explorers
in collaboration with teachers in public school classrooms this year

Engage in special discussion groups formed in response to your interests, with topics such as writing, assessment, and thematic and interdisciplinary curriculum

Share practical strategies for expanding and sustaining student investigations in your classroom, school, or district

Questions?  Please email us at


“It was great to have a lesson presented that I will use all year. … I so appreciate this opportunity. I plan to be back. I plan to read your books, check in on your website, review a Piaget primer… Thank you.”
Kathryn Koontz, Stevenson School, Carmel, CA

“I think that we’re really building life-long learners – people who can think and speak and ask questions and be okay with not knowing the right answer right away . . . . This has changed not only the way that I teach but also the way that I learn, and I hope this for all teachers. I really think this is the best thing we could do for our kids.”
Lynette Goulet, Watertown Middle School, Watertown, MA

“Now, when I’m making my lessons I’m always thinking, what am I saying to students, and how can I expose my students’ thinking?”
Laszlo Bardos, Rivendell Academy, Fairlee, VT and Orford, NH

“Through Critical Explorers, kids learn the value of patience and deliberateness, and that really hit home for me a couple of years ago when I got the first group of students in my 9th grade course who had gone through the Critical Explorers program in 7th grade. I gave them something to do, and they really dug into it — to a degree that I had never seen before. And I knew it was because of their CE experience. I think that’s a great thing to be able to teach kids to do — to dig deep, and be thoughtful, and careful, and patient, as they wrestle with big ideas.”
Kraig Gustafson, History Coordinator, Watertown Public Schools, Watertown, MA

“My looking at the piece [in Steve Seidel’s session on looking at classroom work] felt like an ‘opening up’ process as opposed to the ‘narrowing’ feeling or process I sense when ‘correcting’ or typically ‘commenting’ on a student’s work.  The order of the steps encouraged wondering and, in the process — awe.”
Holly Turner, The Common School, Amherst, MA

“When a veteran teacher comes to me and says, ‘You know, I’ve been through a lot of professional development activities before and this one really hit home for me, it really resonated with me,’ you have to give the teachers a chance to explore that as much as they can.”
Kimo Carter, Principal, Watertown Middle School, Watertown, MA

“What if we were doing this from year to year, from grade to grade, every teacher approaching it from their own context, their own curricular perspective as we went along, what would that do over time for the thinking of our students?”
Gordon Christie-Maples, Samuel Morey Elementary School, Fairlee, VT and Orford, NH