Notes from te Kura Hōtoke Winter school 2023

Te Kura Hōtoke Winter school is something of a highlight in the PLD calendar for the DI community in Aotearoa, with its focus on Mantle of the Expert. This year was the first time we included three course levels in the one event. We were delighted to have Tim Taylor from the UK joining us to lead the Advanced Practitioners group. Tim’s group focussed on deepening their theoretical and practical understandings of Mantle. Whakarongo Tauranga from Knighton School (also our most gracious host) led the Effective Teaching group with an introduction to teaching tools and strategies. And I took the Foundations group through the fundamentals of planning.

All three groups came together for a shared Mantle experience based around the picture book The Wooden Arms by Sarah Johnstone. In a previous post, I’ve shared the original planning around this book as created by KNS staff. The planning is also discussed as part of  the podcast series Introduction to Mantle of the Expert. For Winter school 2023 Tim, Whakarongo and I revisited and reworked the original planning, as shown here. It was a real treat to share the teaching with Whakarongo and Tim and it allowed participants to experience our three very different teaching styles within the one Mantle experience.

Thanks to everyone involved in making Winter School such a success, including the Ministry of Education for NEX funding, the DI Trust for organisation, our hosts at Knighton School for their generous manaakitanga, and to all the participants for investing their time over the holidays. I really valued the opportunity to be spend time with old friends,  connect with new colleagues, and deepen my understanding of Mantle of the Expert. It appears others felt the same. Here are some of the lovely comments we received from participants:

What a special time filled with manaakitanga thank you.

It was exciting to begin to understand the process and how it could change the way I teach in a way that is not only engaging for the students but for myself.

I enjoyed identifying the techniques and strategies being used and thinking more deeply about the “craft” of teaching a Mantle.

From Day one it influenced my perspective on teaching, demonstrating how combining imaginative storytelling with thoughtful questioning can unlock the full potential of the learning process. I am excited to learn how to integrate these new insights into my teaching practice and start on the dramatic inquiry journey.

Gaining the tools and insights into the planning process was invaluable. Planning with the group gave us a range of ideas and a good foundational understanding to move forward.

Learning how to integrate the core values into a mantle was great. It was great to see how the core values fitted into a mantle and seeing how these become a guiding compass that not only drives the teaching but the learning as well.

Participating in the workshop was a transformative experience that deepened my understanding of effective teaching methods and the power of blending fiction and reality in the learning process. As a student teacher, I found this approach to be enlightening, as it offered new perspectives on engaging students.

As I reflect on this workshop, I am inspired to incorporate Dramatic Inquiry into my teaching practice. I believe this method will empower my students to become active learners, enabling them to develop a deeper understanding of various subjects and their practical applications. By immersing them in engaging narratives and encouraging them to question and explore, I hope to nurture their curiosity and passion for learning.

The facilitators were all amazing and each brought their own flavour and expertise, which was lovely.

Wonderful! It was an incredible welcoming, inclusive, friendly, inspiring and supportive PLD experience.

Everything was amazing – as such the atmosphere was warm, inviting and friendly. I look forward to continuing my journey with Mantle of the Expert!