Professional Development in dramatic inquiry including Mantle of the Expert




Dr Viv Aitken

Kia Ora - I do hope you've enjoyed exploring the website. It's been a labour of love since 2009! On this page you'll find out a bit more about me and the ways I may be able to 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’ve also published articles and book chapters related to education, including contributions to Connecting Curriculum, Linking Learning  (NZCER, 2013) and Facing the Big Questions in Teaching  (Cengage, 2014). I have a new book coming out soon: Real in all the ways that matter - Weaving learning across the curriculum with Mantle of the Expert (NZCER 2020 in press)
These days I am a full-time professional development facilitator. This allows me to focus on my passion - supporting teachers and school leaders to implement creative programmes for learning. I'm privileged to work with some wonderful teachers and children from early years through primary and intermediate to secondary and tertiary, providing 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 'centrally funded' PD. This which means we get to work together at no cost to the school.
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