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May 122010

Haere Mai, Haere Mai, Haere Mai! WELCOME!

This website is for teachers in Aotearoa New Zealand interested in Dorothy Heathcote’s dramatic inquiry approach to teaching and learning –  MANTLE OF THE EXPERT (MOTE).

Here you can:

  • Find out more about Mantle of the Expert
  • Keep up with the latest news
  • Connect with others in your area for face-to-face meetings and support
  • Access and share resources for planning in your classroom
  • Read blogs from NZ teachers using MOTE in their classrooms (see ‘links’ on right)
  • Find information about workshops & courses in MOTE and related fields
  • Link to international online material related to MOTE

The design of the site is kept as simple as possible: the best way to find your way around is to use a ‘search’ for key terms – or you can use the ‘menu’ tabs (across the top of this page) or click on something of interest in the list of  ‘categories’ on the right.

Stay up to date by subscribing to our regular email updates (top right)

Please read ‘site protocol’ before posting on this site

Jun 192016

The second of two posts about forthcoming opportunities in Mantle of the Expert. This time, I’d like to let you know about the next Mantle summer school at Waikato University which will be held in Jan-Feb 2017. I’m extremely excited to be returning to Waikato to run this course again. I’ve been unable to upload the flier for some reason, so I’ve pasted in the information  below – along with some rather humbling testimonials from previous students.



ALED 515 – Drama as Pedagogy:

The Mantle of the Expert

Waikato University, Hamilton, New Zealand

On campus 9-13 January & 4-5 Feb

Online 18-27 Jan and 30 Jan – 3 Feb

Lecturer: Dr Viv Aitken

This summer school is for recent graduates or practising teachers in primary, secondary, intermediate, early childhood or community settings with an interest in inquiry learning, learner-centred education, experiential education, curriculum integration, problem-based learning and real-world learning.

The course offers an opportunity to experience, learn about, theorise and plan in Mantle of the Expert:  a drama / inquiry based cross-curricula teaching approach originally conceived by renowned educator Prof. Dorothy Heathcote [1926-2011] and used in a growing number of schools in New Zealand and around the world. The lecturer, Dr. Viv Aitken is an experienced practitioner and researcher with a number of publications in the field.

A key feature of the course is that it is taught using the Mantle of the Expert approach. This gives participants direct experience of what they are learning about. Participants are supported to explore current practitioner literature and research and to undertake planning for their own learners in a way that is intense, rigorous and engaging. See below for comments from previous students.



For more information about the course, contact the lecturer: vmck@waikato.ac.nz

To enrol, contact Christine Stewart: tcolsec9@waikato.ac.nz


 “In 2014 I took the Mantle of the Expert paper and it changed the way that I view education forever. Viv is an excellent facilitator of this course, and has a way of framing drama as a completely effortless and necessary element of education at all levels. On completion of this paper I felt like a better educator, a more confident researcher and an empowered member of a team of educators trying to change the face of education.” Sean Dunne – Senior Tutor, interior Design, Wintec


“This paper changed my thinking, my teaching and my world view. Actually, it liberated me. Before the paper I had a limited grasp of the concept of inquiry teaching and learning in secondary drama. This paper will give you an opportunity to step in with wonder into issues of educational sustainability, future- focused and effective pedagogy, assessment, literacy and numeracy, cultural and key competencies –I urge you to sign up.” Gaenor Stoate – Secondary drama specialist &  teaching fellow, University of Waikato


“I took part in Viv’s first post grad paper in 2009. It was stimulating and engaging not only as a dynamic pedagogy but teaching this way re-engaged me as a long time teacher and educational leader. Most recently I have used this to achieve accelerated literacy results at my school and I am currently working alongside two teachers who are really excited to be using this unique pedagogy that not only engages students but achieves academic results.” Sue Bleaken – DP Melville Intermediate School


“Absolutely recommend this course to anyone who’s interested in transforming the way they teach.  The course is run in a fun, dynamic way allowing you to get first -hand experience of how and why this approach works so well.  Viv is an amazing facilitator and really helped me to step out of my comfort zone as a learner and educator.  My whole staff now uses this approach and it has increased engagement and motivation in all students, particularly those who were previously disengaged from our normal inquiry approach.” Leslee Allen – Principal, Kaurihohore Primary School


“In 10 years of teaching, this was the most worthwhile professional development I’ve done.  Mantle of the Expert is now an integral part of my classroom program and one which has had an extremely positive impact on student learning and engagement.  I could not recommend this paper highly enough – Viv’s enthusiasm for and knowledge of Mantle of the Expert needs to be taken advantage of by more teachers!” Renee Downey Classroom teacher / Curriculum Development Leader, Otaika Valley Primary School


Jun 192016

This is the first of two posts about exciting opportunities coming up for anyone interested in learning more about Mantle of the Expert in New Zealand.

Te Aho Tapu – National Symposium in Mantle of the Expert, will be held at Rototuna Junior High school in Hamilton, on 15-16th October 2016. More details on the attached flier. This is shaping up to be an exciting event with opportunities to watch an experienced practitioner take a Mantle of the Expert session with a group of children from the school,  an introduction to the latest research and theory in Mantle and presentations from 14+ practitioners from around New Zealand  on how they have used Mantle of the Expert in their teaching.

This event has been priced very reasonably at $100 per head for two days. Places are limited and filling fast so please contact mantleoftheexpertnz@gmail.com for enrolment information.


May 112016

Greetings all …. There will be a cluster meeting in Hamilton on Thursday of this week hosted by Carrie Swanson and Sue Bleaken at Melville intermediate.

Here’s a message from Carrie with further info.


Hi everyone,

A reminder about our Waikato Mantle of the Expert cluster meeting later this week. Two people will talk about their recent classroom experiences. I will talk about the some of the outcomes of my thesis. We will also bring you up to date with information about the Mantle of the Expert symposium later this year and study options in January 2017.

Date: Thursday the 12th of May
Location: Melville Intermediate, Mount View Rd, Melville, Hamilton
Time: 4-5:30 pm
Food provided

Carrie Swanson

Aug 272015

Kia Ora

Thursday of next week Viv will be running an introductory workshop  for teachers in the Hawke’s Bay interested in learning more about Heathcote’s Mantle of the Expert approach. Suitable for primary through to secondary and for curious beginners to experienced practitioners, this meeting will be a low key gathering in the tradition of the successful cluster meetings that have run in Hamilton, Bay of Plenty and elsewhere for the last few years.
Where: Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT) 501 Gloucester St, Taradale, Napier
Room L319 (third floor of the library block – you’ll find the lift by “Bean There” cafe)
When: 4.30 for 5pm until 6.30pm on Thursday 3rd September
Bring: a friend and a contribution to shared kai (finger food or drink)
Cost: Only your time
Be ready to: Actively participate and plan together, share knowledge, experience and questions,
Take away: Something to try in your teaching.
Since this is the first session in Hawke’s Bay it would be good to have an idea of numbers attending, so please RSVP to VAitken@eit.ac.nz
Hope to see you there…
Aug 032015

Hi everybody,

The next meeting of the Tauranga Cluster group will be held at Omokoroa Point School on Thursday 10th of Septembeer at 4pm.

We are lucky enough to be Andrea O’Hagan, a drama specialist, taking us through Drama activities and conventions. Hope you can make it.


Jul 302015

Kia Ora Friends…! Things have been quiet for a while but behind the scenes there are exciting changes afoot with the Mantle of the Expert website… We are about to engage a website designer to give us a new ‘look’ and improved features on the site.  Thanks for your patience while we go through this process, which will result in a much improved site and iron out some of the technical issues we’ve been having with some of the blogs, links etc… In the meantime, please remember that the Facebook page is available for discussion / updates / sharing of ideas…

Changes are also afoot within the cluster meetings. Some of the tireless volunteers who have been actively involved in facilitating these groups over the years are meeting soon to discuss new possibilities for supporting teachers and keeping the mantle flame alive. There are some neat ideas in the offing… We will keep you posted… watch this space!

In the meantime, there is a meeting planned for Hawke’s Bay teachers on 3rd September. Details to follow shortly…

Apr 292015

Hi team

The next cluster meeting for the Waikato region, which was scheduled for 6th May has been postponed. However, keep watching this space as there are plans afoot for a session based on drama conventions to be held out at Te Kauwhata school soon…

Apr 202015

Hi everybody,

A reminder of our first cluster meeting of 2015. It will be held on Thurdsay 23 April at Windermere in the Maharaia Room, 3:30 nibbles with a 4 pm start. Omokoroa Point School will be sharing their journey so far.

Hope to see you all there.


Mar 112015

Hello everyone,

A quick message to let you know that we will now have our first gathering on the 23rd of April, 4pm at Windermere in  Maharaia. It was scheduled for tomorrow but a number of us were not able to make this. Hope this suits everybody.

We will have a focus on planning and Omokoroa Point will share their journey so far.

Hope to see you all then,