Professional Development in dramatic inquiry including Mantle of the Expert




Dr Viv Aitken

Kia Ora - I do hope you've enjoyed exploring this website, which has been a labour of love since 2009.
On this page you'll learn more about the dynamic community of teachers around Aoteaora whose mahi is celebrated on these pages. I'll also tell you a bit more about  how you can access professional development in Mantle of the Expert and other Dramatic Inquiry approaches.
The Dramatic Inquiry Network Aoteaora is a not for profit Trust, formed in 2020 to support teacher networking and peer-peer support through workshops, cluster meetings and courses. You'll see many of the Trust's activities advertised on this site. It's a privilege to be part of this organisation, which will soon have its own website etc. Please email if you'd like to know more about the Trust and its activities.
Meanwhile, here's a bit more about me and how I can support you and your school. 
I've always been passionate about drama and learning. I studied theatre for my masters and PhD and I've worked as a theatre practitioner, English and drama teacher, teacher educator, academic and researcher - learning with and from some amazing colleagues over that time.
I also love public speaking, writing and researching in education. I have been keynote presenter at a number of events, most recently the National Literacy conference in 2019 and the Drama NZ conference in 2018. My  publications include over 30 articles in peer reviewed journals,  contributions to Connecting Curriculum, Linking Learning  (NZCER, 2013) and Facing the Big Questions in Teaching  (Cengage, 2014). My most recent book  is Real in all the ways that matter - Weaving learning across the curriculum with Mantle of the Expert (NZCER 2021)
These days I am a full-time consultant / professional development facilitator. I work with teachers and school leaders in settings across New Zealand helping them to implement creative programmes for learning from early years through primary and intermediate to secondary and tertiary.
In addition to helping you access support from the Dramatic Inquiry Trust, I can provide tailored professional development, mentoring and ongoing support in the following areas:
  • Socio-dramatic Play (within play based / learning through play environments)
  • Process drama
  • Mantle of the Expert
  • Drama and literacy
  • Developing local curriculum
I'm an accredited facilitator with the NZ Ministry of Education, which means schools can apply for funding to cover all the costs of our work together. I prefer to work with schools for several months, or a number of years at a time, so that we can build relationship and embed practice. See below for testimonials.
Please get in touch if you would like to discuss professional development for your staff. I can also work with you to apply for Ministry funding.
P.S. As well as formal PLD, I'm always happy to offer informal advice, planning tips, encouragement and a listening ear. It makes my day to hear from people who want to share their stories - so please get in touch!

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 Allan - Principal Kaurihohore School & founder of 'Number Agents'

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 … Viv's enthusiasm for and knowledge of Mantle of the Expert needs to be taken advantage of by more teachers!

Renee Downey -  Classroom teacher / Senior Curriculum leader Otaika Valley School