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Create An Engaged Learning Environment Richard Andrew

4 East Belt, Rangiora, 7400 NZ

Richard Andrew

Richard has spent 25 years in the classroom, 6 as a Head of Department. He runs high-quality, comprehensive, self-paced, online PD for teachers, mostly in the field of mathematics. The overarching theme is authentic (intrinsic) student engagement; namely, implementing strategies which empower students to take responsibility for and experience ownership over their learning. Within the field of mathematics education, specifically, we also show teachers how to present mathematics in ways that promote an 'Understanding-first, Procedures-second' approach. This is because we want to maximise the amount of lesson time students spend actually understanding the tasks they are working through. When teachers extensively use approaches that allow students to 'get their hands dirty' using their own thinking rather than blindly following procedures written on the board, maths lessons suddenly become a desirable place to be.

Special Services
  • Maths
  • Behaviour Management
  • Teaching and Learning

WWCC no WWC2004978E

ABN no 44079773558

A quality, 4-month, online, guided learning journey. This 16-week online course is for both competent Middle and High School teachers who desire to create a quality learning environment with their students. This 'Engaged-Learning-Environment' course demonstrates links between rapport with students, lesson structure, engagement, praise and effective student management. This is a self-paced, online course and is therefore accessible 24/7. Classroom videos A feature of the course is the use of twenty excellent classroom-based videos, many of them showcasing teachers working with a consultant to improve their craft and featuring strategies relevant to all subject areas. In a nutshell ... The online format and the fact that it runs over 16 weeks allows participants to LEARN new strategies, IMPLEMENT some of the strategies with their students and SHARE their implementation experiences with their course colleagues. The course can be completed with a 1 to 2-hour commitment per week.

The Team Approach

This course is ideal to be run as a department-wide, or school-wide program to bring about department-wide or school-wide change. Details are below:

The Team approach enables multiple teachers from a school to progress through a course together, enjoy the usual benefits afforded to individual course participants yet also benefit from on-site, in-person teacher collaboration with TEAM members. 

What is a TEAM?
A TEAM is a number of teachers
(4+), usually from the same department, undertaking a course simultaneously.

  • A TEAM has a TEAM Leader who supports and encourages his/her team of teachers.

  • Teachers, including the TEAM Leader, progress through the content individually, with 24/7 access.

  • The TEAM Leader helps foster teacher collaboration between TEAM members as they progress through the course. TEAM members support each other as they create resources and plan and share implementations.

  • The course facilitator supports the TEAM Leader as well as the individual teachers.  

School Leader's exert pedagogical influence through TEAM

  • The TEAM Approach provides an ideal opportunity for School Leaders to affect the pedagogy of their staff by assuming a leadership role in the course.

  • The same advantage applies to Community of Schools Coordinators/Consultants. 

Additional advantages of the TEAM Approach

  • One major advantage of the TEAM Approach arises from the sharing of ideas both informally (e.g. over coffee, when conversations are 'fertile') and formally, during meetings - between one and three meetings are recommended during the final half of the course. 

  • Related to the above, collegial development occurs through collaborating on implementations and through sharing implementation experiences.

Support for TEAM Leaders

  • All TEAM Leaders are supported by the course facilitator via email and phone or Skype. The larger the TEAM, the greater the level of support.

Course Modules

1. Overview / Getting Started ( 30 min )
Participants are welcomed to the course and 'meet' the presenter/facilitator. The course requirements are explained. Participants introduce themselves via an introductory post.  

2. Teacher Development (1 Hour) (1 hr)
What is engaged learning? What are the common (lack of) engagement issues teachers face today? What qualities are required for a teacher to change? Participants reflect upon and respond to these and other questions regarding the task of cultivating engaged learners. 

3. Student Centred Learning (1.5 hrs)
Participants share their favourite strategies for student engagement/student management. Participants then critically watch/read and reflect upon two videos and an article regarding the value of well-run student-centred tasks and share the aspects from these they would like to implement.

4. Praising to Manage (1.5 hrs)
This session is about more than the 'Praise is good' mantra. This is about turning around an off-task class with a strategy we refer to as 'Praising to manage'. Participants critically view 3 videos in sequence including the associated notes, reflecting on each. A summary post is required at the end regarding the applicability of the strategy to their specific needs.  

5. Student discipline meetings (1 hr)
This session is all about turning around individual poor behaviour. One of the simplest, most effective strategies to achieve this is the 'Minute after class' strategy. But it needs to be executed well. Teachers are guided through a video and two article which show the merits of using an intelligent approach which enables the student to volunteer for change and uses an "I'm on your side and am here to help you change" rather than a "You did the wrong thing and this is your punishment" approach. 
Participants reflect on the example dialogue provided as well as other useful tips to help facilitate behaviour turnarounds. 

6. Good structure, good questions, engaged learners! (1.25 hrs)
Commonly, the difference between a great lesson and a poor lesson simply comes down to Lesson Structure - starters, transitions, the level of explicitness re instructions and endings. (And no, we did not 'get' this at uni - all teachers need to revisit these ideas!) Participants explore two readings, reflect upon their findings and share their intentions for implementation. In addition to honing their lesson structure participants reflect on a video and a reading regarding the use of quality questioning techniques, again sharing their views and plans for implementation. 

7. Rapport, control and being transparent (1 hr)
The task of assuming authentic control with students is a big topic and this session explores it in depth. Participants critically view and read five readings and two videos which explore the characteristics of authentic control and tips on how to achieve it. Related to this theme are the aspects of rapport and being transparent with students. Participants share their reflections and intentions for change via four posts.

8. Spoon feeding, choice & your students' shoes (1 hr)
Three separate 'mini-topics'. 1) Becoming a 'spoon-feeder' of your students is almost inevitable in today's education world of standards and pressure for results. However, 'Spoon Feeding' is always a losing game in the long-term. 2) Offering choice to students is a proven and simple way to increase engagement in students. 3) What's it like being a student in your classes? Would you feel talked down to? Would you feel exhausted through being (physically) inactivity? In this session, participants read three articles and view two videos, reflect on these three key ideas and share their thoughts and plans for implementation.

Paired Module 9A: Turning around an off-task class (Total time for paired modules 2 hours)
As the title implies, this module is all about student management. Participants critically view 4 excellent videos, each featuring a 'turn around' example where strategies were implemented which significantly turned around a previously disruptive and challenging class. Participants share a reflective comment on each video and comment on aspects they are inspired to implement. 

Paired Module 9B: Quality teaching and engagement (Total time for paired modules 2 hours)
This session features 4 excellent video examples of quality teaching in action, with exceptional dialogue between each teacher and the observing consultant. A reflective post for each video is required. 

10. Strategy Implementations and Reports  (2 hrs)
Participants submit their three implementation reports during this session. In addition, they each submit a document outlining specific changes in their teaching practice they are looking to accomplish over the next two years.

12. Course Completion (15 min)
The course completion process including accreditation information, a short survey, staying in touch and options for continued access.


It says courses commence in March, June, September and December of each year. Can I start at a different time which suits me better? 

Usually, yes. Included on the application form is an option to ‘Start now’. If you choose this option, we will contact you to ascertain the best occurrence to place you in. 

For Southern Hemisphere teachers - the December occurrence enables you to complete most of the content during the Christmas holidays, allowing you to run your implementations during Term One and complete the course by mid-March.

Should we enrol more than one teacher in this online course? 

This course is ideal for individual teachers who want to see significant changes occur in their classroom teaching. However, if you are looking for department-wide change, then the ideal way to achieve this is to enrol all or most of your teachers

What happens if I don't finish my course within the four months?

Teachers have hectic lives, and sometimes things get in the way of completing a course in the allocated time. Be assured that if this happens to you, and you are keen to complete, we will do enable you to do so.  ​​

Will I have to be logged in at specific times?

This is a self-paced course, and is therefore accessible 24/7. There is no requirement to be logged in at any specific time.

Example Implementation Reports

Wow! What a great start I’ve had to the year. Strategies I have implemented are: independent learning including think-pair-share, collaborative learning, questioning, praising-to-manage. the Kagan approach, minute after class, group work and roles, colour coding and round-robin discussions. (1000 words of detail removed from the original report)
After implementing 'Praising to manage' I couldn’t believe the effect it had on the others who immediately stopped and looked at me.  Who knew it could be such an attention grabber?! The smiles I’ve been seeing on faces has been fantastic. Even my most surly/uncooperative year 10 student now says hello to me when I greet him - clearly, this has all helped build rapport between us. 
The boys have given me really positive feedback so far too.  
I can’t thank you enough, Richard, for helping me to shift my focus and understand (finally) what it means to be student-centred.  I’m feeling so much more positive and relaxed about my teaching that even my husband has commented that I’m very calm and not cranky anymore... and that’s a miracle! 
Anne O’Rourke, Brisbane Grammar School, Feb 2016

I have my share of disruptive year 8's which I have mentioned several times in the comments of this course. I tired quite a few of the smaller strategies with them to try to begin to establish a wider cultural shift in my classroom. These have included:
-focusing on positive behaviour: this is so hard to do when the kids just seem determined to push the envelope; and you really don’t feel like you are doing your job as a teacher if you are letting things get away. However, I persevered and a little bit at a time this seems to be having a positive effect. I do feel that I need a lot longer before a real change will be noticed.

-reimplementing the 5 minute "fireside chat": this works well with boys and the few times I tried it, it worked well.  

-Narrating Behaviour: this worked really well with my classes. With the more intelligent but chatty classes it is almost a silver bullet for getting a room back to quiet. In some of the less intelligent classes it took kids a minute to figure out that I was actually congratulating them on their behaviour. In one specific example, a student had their laptop out on the correct work and I mentioned this out loud – to which he indignantly told me he had his laptop out on the correct work. He was pleased when he realised I had singled him out for doing the right thing.

-Saying Thanks instead of Please: This one was extremely interesting. I had no idea how much I used the word please in my teaching. I happened to do the module which talks about this before school one day, and I was conscious of it all day. A simple shift from giving an instruction including the word “please” to the exact same instruction with the word “thanks” and all of a sudden kid seem to sit up and pay attention. This one really makes me wonder if there are other little words or behavioural quirks which could be changed if we were aware of them. Douglas Hughes, Cowra High School, ‘Turning around an off-task report’, Sept. 2017

I tend to want to micro-manage my lessons.  As I have said in previous posts, I like students to be quiet and focused and I am not that great at loosening the reins.  Being a language teacher, the course can be textbook-focused, and students quickly tend to tire of this approach.  So I try to make fun and interesting activities that go with the textbook, using it as a guide only.  Still though, following a textbook-based course can tend to be teacher-centred.  A takeaway from your course is for me to try and become less controlling.  What I have implemented this term is I have added a project-based assessment to the assessment schedule, whereby students are left to their own creativity and imagination when doing the task.  There is a level of noise in my classroom that I am not that comfortable with, but I am trying to let go!!  I have been trying the `butterfly approach' mentioned in a previous video and it is very rewarding going around to individual students and groups and watching the creative process unfold.  My students are happier and I have learned that students can still be focused even if they are a little noisier. Head of Welfare, Kingswood High School, ‘Student-centred learning report’, Tenterfield High School, July 2017

Example Testimonials

I found the videos to be really inspiring and helpful and some of the articles - especially on praise - to be really thought-provoking! The psychology and language used in teaching is far more than what we just assume at face value and I found it helpful to really have literature to make me evaluate my existing practices.
Also, the gentle reminder that basics and simplicity are sometimes the most effective things we can work on, and everything else will follow. I am determined and positive that this year will be a great one in terms of seeing positive change Alicia Jordan, Goulburn High School, Jan 2019

The biggest strengths of this course is it's promotion
 of positive relationships between students and teachers through the behaviour management strategies taught. The fact that it is spread out over 16 weeks allows sufficient time to implement strategies, reflect on their effectiveness and improve them for future use. I have definitely been inspired to be more positive with students. I have already implemented a number of changes that have been highly effective in improving engagement and relationships so would say it's absolutely created a positive change for me. This course has also really helped define what an independent learner should look like. The phrase is often thrown around schools but I don't think it is actually unpacked sufficiently to give teachers strategies that can be used effectively in class. I have already implemented the strategies taught in the course to create more autonomous students in all of my classes and will continue to persist with them as I can already see huge benefits. Adriana Carle, Parkdale Secondary College, July 2018

I thought this was a fantastic course and great for every teacher, from the beginner to the experienced. I liked that it considered both the teacher who needs to focus on behaviour as well as the teacher whose major concern in engagement. The best part of this course is the specific examples given. It is so easy for information to say "praise your students" but it can be difficult to know exactly how to do this and what words to use. This course does exactly that- gives phrases, words and ideas on how to implement the strategies. I also found this course to be very encouraging and it provides a safe online environment where I felt open to share my issues or concerns with classes, without judgement. I think this was also attributed to how open the course facilitator is with their own past experiences, reflections and evaluations. There was a good balance between information given and the amount of feedback or input required in order to get the most out of the course. I am definitely inspired by this course and I feel more equipped and confident to engage and manage students in the classroom. Laura Drake-Brockman, Hunter River High School, Create an engaged learning environment’, Nov 2017

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15.00 hours
Cities served
VIC Wide
QLD Wide
WA Wide
SA Wide
TAS Wide
NT Wide
ACT Wide


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