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.
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.
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
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.
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
TEAM Approach provides an ideal opportunity for School Leaders to
affect the pedagogy of their staff by assuming a leadership role in the
The same advantage applies to Community of Schools Coordinators/Consultants.
Additional advantages of the TEAM Approach
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.
to the above, collegial development occurs through collaborating on
implementations and through sharing implementation experiences.
Support for TEAM Leaders
1. Overview / Getting Started ( 30 min )
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)
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)
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
5. Student discipline meetings (1 hr)
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)
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)
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
8. Spoon feeding, choice & your students' shoes (1 hr)
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)
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)
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)
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
12. Course Completion (15 min)
course completion process including accreditation information, a short
survey, staying in touch and options for continued access.
says courses commence in March, June, September and December of each
year. Can I start at a different time which suits me better?
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.
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
Should we enrol more than one teacher in this online course?
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?
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.
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.
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:
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.
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
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
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
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
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