In 2016-17 A team of teachers at Otaika Valley school in Northland, lead by project leader Renee Downey conducted a really exciting TLIF funded inquiry exploring the use of dramatic inquiry to enhance writing outcomes for their students – including the high number of Māori learners in the school. Professional learning in drama and mantle of the expert was combined with learning about Te Ao Māori and culturally responsive pedagogy, supported by cultural mentors Maia Heteraka (Auckland University) and Matua Charles (Wānanga). Results were impressive and the school has gone on to embed dramatic inquiry across the school and in its curriculum documents.

You can read the final TLIF report here – it’s a credit to the hard work and commitment of Renee and the rest of the team – Deputy principal Heidi Neiddu and classroom teachers Courtney DeBoer and Hayley Alchin. Principal Terry Brock also carried used his sabbatical study leave to learn more about dramatic inquiry – particularly Mantle of the Expert. His report is here. How fantastic for the school to have a leader so keen to learn more and support the work.

Results from a research project run parallel to the TLIF and led by me (Viv Aitken) will be shared with the staff at the school soon, then in conference presentations and papers beginning in 2019.

In 2018 Renee went on to carry out further research at Masters level and these results, too, will be published shortly.

This has been a significant piece of work by the hardworking team of teachers at Otaika Valley, led with skill by Renee with great support from Terry. It was a huge privilege to be part of this mahi – thanks so much to everyone involved.