Professional Development

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'm in the final throes of completing a book on planning in Mantle of the Expert for NZCER - out soon!
Also, as you'll know if you've attended a cluster meeting, I really enjoy facilitating networks to bring teachers together and I’ve convened numerous conferences and symposia over the years.
In 2016 I left full time academia though I'm still a research associate with Waikato University, where I worked for 20 + years. I decided to 'take the leap' and become a consultant with Waikato University’s Institute of Professional learning so that I could spend more time in classrooms and focus on my passion - supporting teachers and school leaders to implement creative programmes for learning. I'm so glad I made the move - I've been privileged to work with some wonderful teachers and children at every level from early years through primary and intermediate to secondary and tertiary.
I create 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 for performance
•          Drama for literacy
•          Presentation skills and vocal confidence
Sometimes schools pay for my time but as an accredited facilitator with the NZ Ministry of Education, they can also apply for 'centrally funded' PD which means we get to work together at no cost to the school.
It’s so exciting to see growing numbers of schools around New Zealand embracing dramatic inquiry with positive impacts on engagement and achievement levels. I'm proud to walk alongside the hundreds of teachers and school leaders who have brought about this change and I look forward to doing so for years to come!
I hope you will get in touch if you would like to discuss professional development for your staff. Please allow for lead in time as I am generally booked 3-6 months ahead. 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