Mantle of the Expert in Aoteaora New Zealand

28th January 2018

A personal perspective from Viv Aitken
Visit the New Zealand Mantle of the Expert website

New Zealand has a long association with the work of Dorothy Heathcote, after her visits in the 1980s inspired many to implement her methods in their classrooms. The subject society set up at the time of these visits, now called Drama New Zealand, continues to support and represent teachers today.

In New Zealand we have a curriculum framework that was introduced in 2000 with a significant revision in 2007 and further updates in 2017* I think we sometimes forget how liberating it is to be teaching under this curriculum, which emphasises key competencies, principles, values, lifelong learning and supports teaching as inquiry. This gives schools permission to select content and teaching approaches that work for them and their students – the perfect context for using Mantle of the Expert! The other great thing about the 2000 curriculum was it included drama as part of the Arts Learning area for the first time. It named process drama as a suggested approach and mentioned several ways in which it could be used for integrating curriculum. Mantle of the Expert was named as a convention of drama and later included as an ‘effective pedagogy’ on the Ministry’s TKI website. The 2000s were a fruitful time for drama in New Zealand as video and print materials were produced by the ‘Learning Media’ arm of the NZ Ministry of Education and drama advisors were employed to provide support across the country. Unfortunately, the visibility of drama was much reduced in the 2007 revised curriculum document and the funding for both Learning Media and drama advisory were cut in recent years. This leaves us facing a real challenge in ensuring knowledge about drama for learning is passed on to future generations of teachers. There is some optimism following the new government’s decision to scrap National Standards reporting in literacy and numeracy, which signals a shift back to a more holistic approach to curriculum.

New Zealand has enjoyed a number of key conferences and research initiatives related to Mantle of the Expert. In 2009 the ‘Weaving our Stories’ conference was held at Waikato University – with presentations from Dorothy Heathcote, Luke Abbott , Tim Taylor,  Julia Walshaw and Allana Taylor. This very memorable event inspired many of the 100+ delegates to explore Mantle of the Expert in their own teaching. In the same year, a TLRI (Teaching and Learning Research Initiative) project led by Prof. Deb Fraser, researched Mantle of the Expert alongside other arts-based integration approaches over two years in five schools in Waikato and Bay of Plenty. The teachers involved in that project continue to use the approach and have supported others in their schools. The last ten years have seen numerous papers, workshops and articles related to Mantle of the Expert at Drama New Zealand conferences and in the New Zealand professional and research literature (see ‘research’ tab of www.mantleoftheexpert.co.nz). In 2016, A Mantle of the Expert symposium Te Aho Tapu was held in Hamilton, gathering 68 delegates and 22 presenters to share and learn from each other. In 2017, a TLIF (Teacher led innovation fund) project led by Renee Downey at Otaika valley school, Northland explored the use of Mantle of the Expert to support writing, with encouraging results. The project also considered Mantle of the Expert through the lens of cultural responsiveness, which helped reframe the approach in the unique context of our country.

A number of tertiary institutions in New Zealand now include an introduction to Mantle of the Expert in their teacher education programmes. Since 2009, the University of Waikato has offered entire courses devoted to the approach at undergraduate and Masters level and it has been my privilege to teach these. Students emerging from these courses have gone on to lead Mantle of the Expert in their schools and some have researched the approach to Masters and PhD level. I also offer professional development and workshops to teachers and schools who can apply for Ministry of Education funding to pay for these. Teachers with a commitment to the approach have formed a strong community and stay in touch through informal cluster meetings and online groups. See this article for more https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-94-6351-062-2_18

New Zealand now has dozens of individual teachers for whom Mantle of the Expert is a core part of their practice. Most of these are at primary level but the numbers include some notable intermediate, secondary, early childhood and community educators. Across the country, five primary schools have a commitment to using Mantle of the Expert as a school-wide teaching approach, while several others are considering it as a future direction. This includes high schools that are interested in cross-curricular approaches and primary and intermediate schools that have been designed as ‘Innovative Learning Environments’It’s my impression that more and more teachers, principals, Boards of Trustees, parents and children are seeing Mantle of the Expert as an approach that fits the needs of 21st century learning in the cultural and social context of Aotearoa New Zealand. It’s an exciting time!

*NB: The New Zealand Curriculum sits alongside other curriculum frameworks used in Māori immersion and early childhood settings.


Research and teaching in Mantle of the Expert in New Zealand

Current research projects

2016
TLIF (Teacher led innovation fund) initiative funded by the Ministry of Education. Project leader Renee Downey from Otaika Valley School, Northland led this inquiry which found accelerated achievement in writing in classrooms where Mantle of the Expert / drama for learning was introduced.

2016-2017
A research project led by Viv Aitken running alongside the TLIF project (above) exploring teacher and student responses to a whole-school implementation of Mantle of the Expert. Initial findings are increased engagement in teaching and learning by staff and students, with the whole school now committing to the approach.

Past research projects

2009-2012
Connecting Curriculum, Connecting Learning TLRI (Teacher led research initiative) led by Prof. Deb Fraser from University of Waikato, with Dr Viv Aitken, Graham Price and Barb Whyte. A two year project investigating arts-based integration approaches (5 of the 7 classrooms involved used Mantle of the Expert)

2011
IDEA drama – a review of five years of the IDEA (Intellectual Disability Empowerment in Action) drama group in Hamilton, facilitated by Viv Aitken. This group used Mantle of the Expert strategies for collaborations that provided social, creative and education outcomes for adults with intellectual disability, their support workers, teaching students and family members.

University Courses in Mantle of the Expert – University of Waikato, New Zealand

2009—2014
TEAL387: A special topic option for third year Bachelor of Teaching students (included a weekly visits to co-teach in a local school) Lecturer: Viv Aitken

2009 – 2014
ALED 390: A summer school for third year Bachelor of Teaching students. This course used Mantle of the Expert as the teaching method. Lecturer: Viv Aitken

2009-2017
ALED 515: A Postgraduate summer school for Masters students and practising teachers. This course used Mantle of the Expert as the teaching method. Lecturer: Viv Aitken

Plus – several directed studies, Masters and PhDs.

New Zealand research

From ‘research’ tab of www.mantleoftheexpert.com
Please note this list is limited to ONLY material specifically related to Mantle of the Expert. There is a huge quantity of further material in drama for learning / process drama / drama in education.

BOOKS
Fraser, D., Aitken, V., & Whyte, B. (2013). Connecting Curriculum, Linking Learning. Wellington, NZ: New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER). http://www.nzcer.org.nz/nzcerpress/connecting-curriculum-linking-learning

CHAPTERS
Aitken, V. (2017)  It’s not what we’re teaching, it’s how we’re teaching: The story of the ‘Mantle Underground’ teaching community. In Cowie, B. & McNae, R. (eds). Realising Innovative Partnerships in Educational Research. Waikato University.

Aitken, V. (2013). Dorothy Heathcote’s Mantle of the Expert approach to teaching and Learning: A brief introduction. In D. Fraser, V. Aitken, & B. Whyte, Connecting Curriculum, Linking Learning (pp. 34–56). Wellington, NZ: New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER). Chapter available here MOTE Chapter 3_Aitken_Pages from Connecting Curriculum, Fraser, v3 220213 by permission of publishers.

THESES
Swanson, C. J. (2016). Positioned as Expert Scientists: Learning science through Mantle-of-the-Expert at years 7/8 (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10289/9974

Stoate, G. A. (2013). The dialogic aspects of Mantle of the Expert pedagogy used to teach devising at NCEA Level 2 in a Year 12 classroom ‘I don’t think it’s about credits- definitely not about credits’ (Thesis, Master of Education (MEd)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10289/7963

PEER REVIEWED ARTICLES
Aitken, V. (2014) Risking Heuristics: towards a classification of key features of Mantle of the Expert through the metaphor of the Korowai. Drama Research International: International journal of drama research 5, 1 (article 10). Available here DR Article 10 Aitken_ Risking Heuristics  with permission of journal editors

Aitken, V. (2014) From teacher-in-role to researcher-in-role: Possibilities for repositioning children through role-based strategies in classroom research. Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, Special Edition on innovative research methodologies.Vol19, 3  pp255-271

Aitken, V. (2015) “When you’ve been doing it as long as I have…” Repositioning children through role-based strategies in classroom research. Waikato Journal of Education, 20, 1. http://wje.org.nz/index.php/WJE/article/view/180

Fraser, D.,  Aitken, V., & Price, G. (2012) Inquiry learning, drama and curriculum integration. SET: Research Information for Teachers, (3). http://www.nzcer.org.nz/nzcerpress/set/articles/inquiry-learning-drama-and-curriculum-integration

Hall, M. (2014) Patriotism versus privacy: What is the price of citizenship? A teacher’s story. English Teaching: Practice and Critique 13, 2. pp141-156 https://edlinked.soe.waikato.ac.nz/research/journal/view.php?article=true&id=932&p=1

Swanson,C. (2015) Purpose, Power, Position: Border crossing between science and drama through Mantle of the Expert.Waikato Journal of Education, 20,1. http://wje.org.nz/index.php/WJE/article/view/187

Stoate, Gaenor. (2014). Developing learning partnerships through Mantle of the Expert at NCEA Drama Level 2. SET: Research Information for Teachers, (3). http://www.nzcer.org.nz/nzcerpress/set/articles/developing-learning-partnerships-through-mantle-expert-ncea-drama-level-2

OTHER ARTICLES
Aitken, V. (2009). Call in the experts. Tukutuku Kōrero (pp. 9).

Aitken, V. (2009) Revolution in the classroom. CommUNity: The University of Waikato Staff newsletter

Aitken, V. (2009). Mantle of the expert.  New Zealand Education Review, July (pp. 10).

Battye, S. (2016). Arts – drama for learning: Mantle of the Expert makes its Mark. Staffroom Magazine. Tomorrow’s Schools Today, NZ. Available from http://www.tstnz.com/staffroom-magazine/arts-drama-for-learning-mantle-of-the-expert-makes-its-mark/

Battye, S. (2010). Dramatic reputation echoes in classrooms. New Zealand Education Review. June. Available from  http://www.educationreview.co.nz/magazine/june-2/dramatic-reputation-echoes-in-classrooms/#.WGR18LZ97-Y

PEER REVIEWED CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS
Aitken, V. (2014)  Possibilities for dramatic inquiry in teacher education: Preliminary findings from a recent project in Mantle of the Expert at Waikato University. TEFANZ(Teacher Education Forum of Aotearoa New Zealand) conference, Hamilton, (second author: Prof. Brian Edmiston, Ohio State University)

Aitken, V. (2013)  Risking Heuristics: Towards a classification of key features of Mantle of the Expert through the metaphor of the korowai. Heathcote Reconsidered National Drama Conference, Greenwich, UK. July.

Aitken, V. (2013)  “Embracing the Elephants”: A space for difficult conversations about preservice and inservice teacher education in Mantle of the Expert. Heathcote Reconsidered National Drama Conference, Greenwich, UK, July.

Aitken, V. (2012) When you’ve been doing it as long as I have: Repositioning children through role based strategies in classroom research. IDEIRI 7 (International Drama in Education Research Institute), Limerick, Ireland, July. Also presented at IDIERI 7 : The NZ Papers University of Waikato, Hamilton 28th November.

Aitken, V. (2011) Connecting curriculum, connecting learning: Findings from a two-year study into negotiated curriculum through Mantle of the Expert and other forms of arts-based integration. The Second Critical Research in Drama in Education International Symposium: Pedagogy of Possibilities. The University of Auckland; 1 December.

Aitken, V. (2011) with Bingham, D., Gough, A., Henshilwood, D. IDEA drama group 2005-2011. ASID (Australasian Society for Intellectual disability) NZ 8th Annual Conference and AGM. Novotel Rotorua Lakeside, New Zealand; 31 August – 2 September.

Aitken, V. (2011) Mantle of the Expert in the secondary English classroom. IFTE (International Federation of the Teaching of English) Conference 2011. University of Auckland, New Zealand; 18-21 April.

Aitken, V. (2010) ‘Disrupting power relationships through Mantle of the Expert’. AARE(Australian Association for Research in Education)  Conference: Making a Difference. December, Melbourne

Aitken, V. (2010) ‘It’s like everything links to everything really: drama as research tool in Connecting Curriculum, Connecting Learning’. Critical Studies in Drama Education International Symposium,  University of Auckland, October

McGregor, D., Anderson, D., Baskerville, D., & Gain, P. (2014). How does drama support learning about the nature of science: Contrasting narratives from the UK and NZ. ESERA Conference Proceedings 2013, 6, n/p.

Swanson, C. (2012) Purpose, Agency, Position: Border crossing between science and drama through Mantle of the Expert. IDIERI 7 (International Drama in Education Research Institute), Limerick, Ireland, July. Also presented at IDIERI 7 : The NZ Papers University of Waikato, Hamilton 28th November.

OTHER CONFERENCE & SYMPOSIUM PRESENTATIONS / WORKSHOPS / ROUND TABLES / PANELS
Abbott, L. (2009) Mantle of the Expert: A historical perspective – Keynote presentation. Weaving our stories: International Mantle of the Expert conference. Hamilton, August. https://www.mantleoftheexpert.com/wp-content/video/LukeKeynoteWaikatoedit.mp3

Abbott, L. (2009) Mantle of the Expert teaching demonstration. Weaving our stories: International Mantle of the Expert conference. Hamilton, August

Aitken, V. (2016) ‘Te Aho Tapu: Precious threads in Mantle of the Expert.’  Te Aho Tapusymposium, Rototuna Junior High School, Hamilton, October.

Aitken, V. (2015) ‘Can you help me understand?’: Using role to reposition the researcher-participant relationship and generate rich data. Brown Bag Research presentation, Eastern Institute of Technology, 28th May.

Aitken, V. (2013)  An introduction to Mantle of the Expert in Aotearoa Te Kore, Drama New Zealand Conference 2013, University of Waikato, 26-28 April.

Aitken, V. (2011)  Everything links to everything really doesn’t it?: Drama and learning in Mantle of the Expert. Drama New Zealand Conference 2011. St Kentigern College, Auckland; 27-29 April.

Aitken, V. (2009) Dorothy Heathcote’s Mantle of the Expert approach: A new paradigm for education? ALED research bites series, University of Waikato, September

Allen, L. & team (2016) Mantle at Kaurihohore School. Te Aho Tapu symposium, Rototuna Junior High School, Hamilton, October.

Allen, L., Hall, H. & Tierney, M. (2016)  Triumphs and cautionary tales, Lessons from first steps in Mantle Planning in Mantle for different ages: A round-table discussion. Te Aho Tapu symposium, Rototuna Junior High School, Hamilton, October.

Amey, S., Battye, D., Beu, C., Markham, S. (2009) Mantle of the Expert – the New Zealand Context. Panel discussion. Weaving our stories: International Mantle of the Expert conference. Hamilton, August

Anderson, E. (2016) Giving it a shot: Having a go and the mantle of parenthood Te Aho Tapu symposium, Rototuna Junior High School, Hamilton, October.

Anderson, H. (2016) Mantle in the secondary drama classroom Te Aho Tapu symposium, Rototuna Junior High School, Hamilton, October.
Battye, S. (2016) Rolling role – across time and space Te Aho Tapu symposium, Rototuna Junior High School, Hamilton, October.

Battye, D. (2013) Journey to the deep: Mantle of the Expert meets marine science. Te Kore: Drama NZ Conference, Hamilton,
April. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5naqghwMg4dQ09YcVVOajM5REE/view?usp=sharing

Bleaken, S. West, K. & Whyte, R(2016)  Triumphs and cautionary tales, Planning approaches, Mantle as a tool for lifting achievement: A round-table discussion.Te Aho Tapu symposium, Rototuna Junior High School, Hamilton, October.

Bleaken, S. (2016), A talk /presentation around using MOTE to engage and develop student agency in an innovative learning environment..Te Aho Tapu symposium, Rototuna Junior High School, Hamilton, October.

Board, R. (2016) Developing mantles in a collaborative teaching environment.Te Aho Tapusymposium, Rototuna Junior High School, Hamilton, October.

Coleman, C. (2015) Drama NZ conference, Wellington.
Downey, R. (2016) Our TLIF inquiry: raising writing achievement through Mantle. Te Aho Tapu symposium, Rototuna Junior High School, Hamilton, October.

Dunne, S. (2016) Findings from a recent action research project undertaken with a group of first year interior design students at the Waikato Institute of Technology. Te Aho Tapusymposium, Rototuna Junior High School, Hamilton, October.

Gain, P. (2016) In the spaces for play: Learning in Mantle of the Expert. Te Aho Tapusymposium, Rototuna Junior High School, Hamilton, October.

Gain, P., Gilbert, G. & Jones, N. (2016) Triumphs and cautionary tales, Mantle for Gifted and Talented learners, Sustaining a long term Mantle programme: A round-table discussion. Te Aho Tapu symposium, Rototuna Junior High School, Hamilton, October.

Gilbert, G. (2016) Highlights from Mantle Adventures at Hillcrest Normal school. Te Aho Tapu symposium, Rototuna Junior High School, Hamilton, October.

Hall, S. & Knell, V. (2016) Our Journey as a school. Te Aho Tapu symposium, Rototuna Junior High School, Hamilton, October.

Heathcote, D. (2009) Mantle of the Expert: My current understanding – Keynote address via live link. Weaving our stories: International Mantle of the Expert conference. Hamilton,
August. https://www.mantleoftheexpert.com/news/dorothy-heathcote-explains-moe/ (link currently under repair)

Hesketh, M. (2016) Mantle in the secondary classroom: More than a nice idea? Te Aho Tapusymposium, Rototuna Junior High School, Hamilton, October.

McGregor, D., Anderson, D., Baskerville, D., & Gain, P. (2014). How does drama support learning about the nature of science: Contrasting narratives from the UK and NZ. ESERA Conference Proceedings 2013, 6, n/p.

O’Connor, P. (2016) Demonstration teaching session. Te Aho Tapu symposium, Rototuna Junior High School, Hamilton, October. An extract of this session can be viewed
here https://www.dropbox.com/s/8yin33nuzapzqsp/Minister%20of%20Immigration%20VIDEO.m4v?dl=0

O’Hagan, A. Downey, R. & Grove, H. (2016) ‘Our Spelling/Punctuation Skills Aren’t Good Enough!’ – the  Publishers hire an Expert. Te Aho Tapu symposium, Rototuna Junior High School, Hamilton, October.

Stoate, G. (2016) Mantle of the Expert in the context of secondary drama. Te Aho Tapusymposium, Rototuna Junior High School, Hamilton, October.

Stoate, G. & Westhead, K. (2013) Cracking the confines of timetable and curriculum constraint: Using Mantle of the Expert to teach Greek Theatre at year 10. Te Kore: Drama NZ Conference, Hamilton, April

Swanson, C. (2016) ‘I like doing experiments and I like finding out answers by doing drama’: findings from a mixed method action research study. Te Aho Tapu symposium, Rototuna Junior High School, Hamilton, October.

Swanson, C. (2013) Working with the fictional other – managing self through ethical tensions in Mantle of the Expert.Te Kore: Drama NZ Conference, Hamilton, April

Tauranga, W. & Bigham, V. (2016) Big and Little: A collaborative approach to Mantle. Te Aho Tapu symposium, Rototuna Junior High School, Hamilton, October.

Tauranga, W. & Collins, M. (2013) Reality through mantle and back – our journey from Te Kore ki Te Ao Marama. Te Kore: Drama NZ Conference, Hamilton, April

Taylor, A. (2009) Mantle of the Expert workshop. Weaving our stories: International Mantle of the Expert conference. Hamilton, August

Taylor, T. (2009) Mantle of the Expert workshop. Weaving our stories: International Mantle of the Expert conference. Hamilton, August

Walshaw, J. (2009) Mantle of the Expert workshop. Weaving our stories: International Mantle of the Expert conference. Hamilton, August

Whyte, R. (2016) Digital aspects of Mantle with young children. Te Aho Tapu symposium, Rototuna Junior High School, Hamilton, October. Te Kore: Drama NZ Conference, Hamilton, April

Yardena, K. (2013) Writing under dramatic conditions: Teaching creative writing through Mantle of the Expert. Te Kore: Drama NZ Conference, Hamilton, April

PUBLIC LECTURES AND ADDRESSES
Aitken, V. (2015) Mantle of the Expert: Dramatic Inquiry in the classroom and beyond. Eastern Institute of Technology Public Lecture Series. EIT, Napier. June

VIDEO
Shaw, J. (1986) Those Who Sailed With Cook  (90 mins ) Visual Production Unit, Department of Education, New Zealand. Item Nos. 85/120 and 85/121, 1984.

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