Turning your maths classroom into an engaged learning environment

Richard Andrew
This online course explores proven strategies, resources, and student-centred units which maximise student engagement in the maths classroom. 12 hours
Target Audience
Secondary & Middle School Maths Teachers
136 reviews

Learning Areas

Teaching Standards

General Description

Are you tired of dealing with students who lack enthusiasm and engagement in your maths lessons? Are you the hardest working member in your classes? This 12 hour online course investigates some recent findings about learning and, in response, provides a model for secondary and middle-school mathematics teaching/learning which can be applied to any mathematics topic. The strategies explored in the course are designed to significantly improve the learning environments in maths classrooms thereby improving student engagement along with their mathematical understanding. Participants will explore numerous resources, explore principles for creating quality resources, create some resources of their own, trial some of the ideas and strategies in their classrooms and report back to the course on their findings. The benefits of student-centred units of work will also be explored. The elements of the course are in line with the Australian Curriculum proficiency strands. The December date enables the course to be completed during the Christmas holidays, finishing mid Term 1. Accredited PD Hrs = 12


Secondary & Middle School Maths Teachers

Available Delivery Formats

Format Description

Most TTA online courses are available with an Online Subscription. For a little more than the price of one course, you can gain up to 20 PD hours per year. Learn more HERE.

A normal online course is delivered over 1-12 weeks and is worth from 3-12 PDhrs depending on the course content and its objectives. Participants will not need to take time off, the course date is the START date only, end dates will be advertised with course hours.

The course can be accessed 24/7 over a 16 week period. Due to the requirements of self-reflection and the implementation of strategies, participants will need to spread their involvement evenly over much of the 16 week period.
The December occurrence runs through the Christmas holiday period, ending mid Term One. Participants are able to work on the course whenever it suits them during that period.

This course contributes to 12.0 professional development hours.


There are no occurrences of Online - Individual in Australia (ACT) at this time.


Session 1: Introduction and Overview

30 minutes

Welcome, Meet your facilitator, Course requirements, Introductory post.

Session 2: The mathematics Classroom unpacked

1 hour and 30 minutes

The first of several modules which prepares the ground for the coming opportunities for change. Before we can improve we need to acknowledge where we are at in our teaching. Several typical classroom scenarios are explored which have the effect of putting everyone at ease and to which participants respond. Module Two also explores some factors effecting change and issues around control within the classroom.

Session 3: Engagement

30 minutes

Explores the nature and make up of an engaged mathematics classroom. An opportunity to share.

Session 4: A human is a learning machine

1 hour

The process of learning is explored with the help of an excellent snippet from a TED talk. This leads to an unpacking of independent – or student-centered – learning. Also, a quick look at student resistance and creating pro-active vs reactive students.

Session 5: School mathematics - A game of memory

1 hour

Is school-based mathematics too compartmentalised? And if it is, what is the alternative? These and related issues are explored as an introduction to the remaining modules. An opportunity to share.

Session 6: Unpacking conceptual teaching and learning

1 hour

The notion of conceptual teaching and learning has received a pretty bad rap over recent decades and many widely-held misconceptions abound. Participants commonly respond at this point with comments such as “This all sounds fine but I just can’t see this working” to which I respond with “Thanks, that’s a very understandable response … but stay tuned!” The videos, articles and opportunities to comment in this module allow participants to reap the benefits during the remainder of the course.

Session 7: Conceptual teaching and learning - some strategies

1 hour and 30 minutes

Here we unpack specific, tried-and-proven strategies which can be implemented ‘the next day’ by any teacher, strategies which serve to increase engagement of students – and the teacher – as well as understanding, collaboration, higher order thinking and more. An opportunity to comment is provided. Teachers choose some of these strategies to implement with their students during the remainder of the course.

Session 8: Conceptual teaching and learning - some examples

1 hour and 30 minutes

Now we explore specific, tried-and-proven resources which are infused with the conceptual approach principles proposed throughout the course. Again these are resources and ideas which can be implemented ‘the next day’ and prove to be excellent for implementations. This is the point in the course where participants become especially inspired.

Session 9: Dealing with student spread

30 minutes

If we are going to approach mathematics teaching in a more student-centered, conceptual manner then we need to learn to deal with the resulting increased student spread. This is easier said than done if you don’t have appropriate strategies. This module equips teachers with some excellent strategies to effectively deal with student spread.

Session 10: The Work Requirement System

1 hour

One excellent option for running an engaging, student-centered, conceptually-based unit of work is the consistently successful Work Requirement System. The system has proved to be a popular implementation choice for course participants.

Session 11: Engaging assessment

1 hour

Is the term ‘engaging assessment’ an oxymoron? No it isn’t. This module explains why and gives several easy-to-implement examples of engaging assessment tasks.

Session 12: Further engagement and management strategies

30 minutes

There’s always more to explore! This module, in addition to sharing some extra engagement strategies, includes some bonus tried-and-proven student management strategies for those with students of the more ‘difficult’ type.

Session 13: Implementation Reports

15 minutes

Participants share their experiences of trialling their chosen strategies from the course.

Session 14: Completing the course

15 minutes

The final washup, including some extra resources, a list of ‘must-watch’ (motivational) videos and a short survey. That’s it!

What To Bring


User Rating


Latest Reviews

Please note the feedback listed here is unfiltered, and includes all comments and ratings collected.

Turning your maths classroom into an engaged learning environment
by Ken Walkinshaw on 07/04/2017

The course was good because the strategies presented along with the course notes and videos were easily related to a normal classroom situation. The strategies when implemented consistently made improvement to my classroom and my teaching.

Turning your maths classroom into an engaged learning environment
by Amanda Blair on 19/12/2016

The course offered some great suggestions and food for thought to try to deal with the increasing problem of lack of motivation and engagement of current students. There is no magic bullet but the course offered a way to help improve the situation.

Turning your maths classroom into an engaged learning environment
by Elke Birt on 09/12/2016

I found the course interesting, useful, applicable to my teaching and students.

Turning your maths classroom into an engaged learning environment
by Glenda Morrissey on 06/12/2016

Course was stimulating and filled me with enthusiasm moving forward with my career. In the scheme of things, this was probably the most useful course I have ever done. Lots of ideas were given, it provoked genuine thought and evaluation of my classroom practices, but most of all, it gave me the courage to step outside my comfort box, not to be fixated on ticking dot points so much as ensuring that the learning was happening in an exciting and relevant way and to try new approaches with confidence.

by Nicole Love on 18/10/2016

This was a great course that gave me lots of very interesting information and ideas on how to improve my maths classrooms.

Turning Your Maths Classroom into an Engaged Learning Environment
by Dianne Hamilton on 13/10/2016

Course was very good. Made us think about student engagement and our classroom practices. I would recommend it to other teachers to complete.

Turning Your Maths Classroom into an Engaged Learning Environment
by Samuel Prasad on 13/10/2016

Fantastic, practical course that has changed my teaching and my mindset. Would recommend for experienced and beginning teachers alike!

Turning your maths classroom into an engaged learning environment
by LInda Groucutt on 26/09/2016

This course hasn’t been what I expected, but hasn’t been disappointing either. I have been challenged on all fronts, big and small.
I will endeavour to keep including the strategies just not all at once. I will use the WRS combined with the mini lesson, develop more OEQ’s, continue doing AfL but extending them.
I have been challenged to relinquish control for better student engagement, and will continue to work on creating rapport. It is just easier with some classes/students than others.
It has been very worthwhile experience!

Turning your maths classroom into an engaged learning environment
by lyndell hatch on 23/09/2016

The best aspects of this course is reading other peoples thoughts and ideas. It has been truly enlightening. This course has changed the way I am teaching my current classes and has change my outlook on how to deal with disengaged students. It has been a very positive change in myself and the students learning. My students are actually liking maths and can’t quite believe that “I can do this” regularly slips out of their mouth. I wish more courses were as useful as this one. I will definitely be doing more of this type of courses in the future. Richard your feedback and comments have been very helpful, thought provoking and supportive. Thank you.

Turning your maths classroom into an engaged learning environment
by Judy Still on 19/09/2016

The course was informative and flexible in terms of being able to trial, reflect, modify and reflect again. Such a useful course all would benefit from.

Turning your maths classroom into an engaged learning environment
by Simone Piercy on 11/08/2016

I found this course very interesting and relevant to my classes at this time, I have used the strategies used in this course straight away.

Turning your maths classroom into an engaged learning environment
by Sophie Scroope on 08/08/2016

Course was highly worthwhile with lots of practical strategies to improve classroom engagement.? There were lots of opportunities to reflect on current practice and make plans to improve independent learning and student self-direction.

Turning your maths classroom into an engaged learning environment
by Paul Harrison on 02/08/2016

This was the first online course that I have completed where I felt it was worth my time. I learned a few new things and it reinforced some ideas that I was already trying.

Turning your maths classroom into an engaged learning environment
by Jane Ayerst on 18/07/2016

I have found the course extremely useful and inspiring. As a result I have drastically changed my teaching approach with a number of my classes. The course offered so many practical and simple ways to alter my teaching that can make a huge impact on student engagement and learning. It has been a learning experience for me as well as the students. I am very grateful for the number of ready to use resources I have walked away with. It has given me many ideas to create my own while allowing examples to use immediately. I would definitely recommend this course to other teachers.

Turning your maths classroom into an engaged learning environment
by Leah White on 13/07/2016

Course was very good. It certainly gave me food for thought and now a bag full of ideas to incorporate into the classroom.

Looking forward to seeing how engaging these may be over the next couple of terms.

Richard’s feedback along the way was great. The only criticism I would have is the navigation around the course. It was hard to relocate yourself to where you were up to each time you accessed the course.

Turning your maths classroom into an engaged learning environment
by Melissa Standing on 12/07/2016

I really enjoyed reading through the personal reflections in this course and related to it really well. I’m hoping to facilitate the course at a faculty level next year. I have found a renewed passion for the teaching, I’m focussing on achievable goals and making small changes that I am hoping will have a big impact.

Turning your maths classroom into an engaged learning environment
by Meryl Briggs on 12/04/2016

I found the course interesting and helpful. Some very positive ideas were presented and also some actual classroom material.

Turning your maths classroom into an engaged learning environment
by Rebecca Dark on 12/04/2016

This course revived my teaching methods. It was interesting and motivating.

Turning your maths classroom into an engaged learning environment
by Simone McKay on 29/03/2016

An excellent course that has provided me with more tools to use in the classroom. I have already put some techniques into practice and have changed the way I view classroom management.

Turning your maths classroom into an engaged learning environment
by Shona Maskelyne on 23/03/2016

I have found this course a breath of fresh air – I have started the year off consciously thinking about my ‘control’ and ‘charisma’ in the classroom. I’ve definitely been inspired by the content that was delivered in this course, so much so that I have shared the course overview with other teachers that I think would also benefit/enjoy the content.
I’ve loved being able to discover, implement and share concrete strategies for use in the maths classroom. I’m yet to try all of them, but I will get there eventually!
Positive change – definitely! Moving students to a self-directed and independent learning style has helped to make lessons less burdensome for me, in a sense. Students are (not all, but largely!) the drivers of their learning, I’m just the passenger giving directions and assisting if they find they may have taken a wrong turn. It is much more bearable and the students are less ‘needy’ as they aren’t constantly asking “What do I do next? Can you mark this?”.
My next BIG goal is to move maths assessment items in our school to become ‘comment only’ feedback; hopefully students will gain more from this AND if they want to find out a grade or mark, they may have to calculate it themselves!...I mammoth task but again, persistence is key!
Lastly, a HUGE thank-you to you, Richard, for all of your authentic and constructive feedback. It has been greatly appreciated!

About the team

Richard Andrew


Richard has taught in 3 states and territories of Australia over the past 25 years and has been Head of Mathematics at Oxford Falls Grammar School for 6 years. He has developed a teaching style which is interactive and relational, directed yet open ended, and which fosters individual progression, higher-order thinking, and collaborative learning. Richard is a passionate campaigner for conceptual learning; his professional journey continues to lead him to discover more and more ways of teaching mathematics conceptually and he delights in sharing these with other teachers.