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Engaging Adolescent Learners (online)

Teenagers undergo various changes that have implications on their health, wellbeing and ultimately their academic progress. Through this course, you will learn why adolescent learner engagement is so important, how to maximise this success through innovation and the impact of positive teaching ideas.

About this course

Ever wondered why it can be challenging to engage adolescent learners? Contemporary research shows that changes in the human brain during adolescent growth affect the child and its optimal development depends strongly on the provision of a suitably innovative and engaging learning environment. With the latest studies also revealing how positive teaching and learning will lead to increased student involvement, most importantly, it can also result in greater Year 12 completion rates.

This course has been designed to show teachers how to increase the amount of meaningful learning taking place in their classroom through building effective teaching practice. The workshop is led by expert educators at UTS. Drawing on the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) research conducted by CAST (the Centre for Applied Special Technology), it demonstrates how to ensure access to the curriculum for all learners while maintaining high academic standards.

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Course structure

Session 1

  • Identifying the changes characterising adolescence
  • Workshop activity exploring youth issues (such as alcohol, sleep, bullying, mental health and risk behaviours such as vaping)
  • Resources available for assisting teenagers to cope with problems they may face
  • Role play exploring how adolescent issues may present in the classroom and how teachers can respond to these to improve student learning.

Session 2

  • Overview of the importance of engagement in relation to NESA requirements and learning as a whole
  • Analysis of the range of factors that influence engagement including videos and documentation from CAST
  • Reflective group discussion exploring the ways to identify engagement or a lack of engagement and the principles of engagement (based on the Universal Design for Learning)
  • Practical tasks examining case studies of engaging learning designs
  • Personal development of your own practice-based examples of engaging learning design.

Learning outcomes

  • Define and describe the physical, social and intellectual characteristics of adolescent students, and the challenging issues they and their teachers face
  • Outline teaching strategies to improve student learning
  • Explain different strategies that increase engagement of students in learning.
  • Apply these strategies in the development of their own learning designs.

Additional information

  • Laptop or mobile device required.


Who is this course for?

This course is suitable for:

  • NSW secondary teachers
  • NSW pre-service teachers & tertiary supervisors
  • Learning designers
  • School counsellors
  • Parents.




30 September




6 hrs

Meet the Expert

Dr Keith Heggart

Dr Keith Heggart
Lecturer, School of International Studies & Education

Dr Keith Heggart (PhD) has established a long career as a high school educator, working in school leadership in government and non-government schools in the UK and Australia. He is an Apple Distinguished Educator and a Google Certified Innovator. He is currently the Academic Lead for the Graduate Certificate in Learning Design.

Dr Heggart's research focuses on learning and instructional design, educational technology and civics and citizenship education. He is currently exploring the way that online learning platforms can assist in the formation of active citizenship amongst Australian youth.

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Dr Tracey-Ann Palmer

Dr Tracey-Ann Palmer
School of International Studies & Education, FASS UTS

Dr Tracey-Ann Palmer has lectured in marketing, organisational behaviour and currently teaches primary science and technology, curriculum integration and adolescent educational psychology at the UTS. She has also been involved in a number of research projects at the UTS aimed at enhancing the quality of primary and secondary science teaching in Australian schools.

Tracey-Ann has skills in project management, traditional and leading edge research methodologies (including Best Worst Scaling) and data analysis techniques (including NVIVO).

Dr Palmer has a BTeach, BSc(Hons), an MBA, and PhD. She has worked in research science (biochemistry) and as a manager for two scientific personnel consultancies. She has experience in the finance industry in the areas of marketing, product management and project management. 

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Book a session

Wed 30 Sep 2020 -
Wed 07 Oct 2020
Expert: Dr Keith Heggart, Dr Tracey-Ann Palmer

Laptop or mobile device required.

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