2012 Workshop

We invite you to step into the Shifting Thinking Workshop space in Wellington in May. The Workshop is for anyone with a connection to education, including teachers, tutors, leaders, people working in youth development, policy makers and anyone interested in challenging their thinking and practice.

Workshop underway

The Shifting Thinking workshop is underway at the St James theatre in Wellington. Here are two clips from the performance that kicked off the workshop. Jenny Whatman, a director, finds herself wondering if anyone will show up to the audition for her new play.

In the second clip, Jenny is joined on stage by Rachel Bolstad, who was a young science teacher in the play at the Shifting Thinking conference in 2009.

Participating and contributing…

Shifting Thinking team member Jennifer Garvey Berger explains how participating and contributing create an incredible demand for us to make sense of the world in new ways.

When: 3rd and 4th  May 2012

Where:  Wellington at the St James Theatre, 63-95 Courtenay Place (View  Map)

Cost: $440 per person (incl GST)


What were people saying after the last Shifting Thinking Gathering?

(If you can’t see the comments, click the refresh button on your browser)

NZCER’s Shifting Thinking project began in 2009 and is designed to explore the new thinking and learning needed in education for the 21st century. This year we are running a highly interactive two-day workshop shaped by the theme of participating and contributing.

(Blog: Why participating and contributing?)

It is a workshop for anyone with a connection to education in their work, including teachers, tutors, leaders, people working in youth development, policy makers and anyone interested in challenging their thinking and practice. We will be drawing on your knowledge, interests and talents as well as those of a diverse NZCER team to create an inspiring, knowledge-generating event together.

We hope this workshop will  be a space where:

  • people at the leading edge of change can make powerful connections
  •  ideas, knowledge and experiences are shared and developed
  • challenge and great questions abound
  • and there are possibilities and pathways for change

The format

During the two days you will be sometimes work within a learning group, participate as individuals  in organised workshop sessions,  and at times come together as a full group. We will provide stimulating speakers, resources and on-demand support from the NZCER team.

We have identified five themes or ‘entry points’ that offer ways of exploring the connecting theme of participating and contributing. There will be sessions on each and you will contribute to the building and challenging of these ideas in your learning  groups. When you register for the event, you’ll get the chance to tell us which theme you are most interested in exploring and we’ll hook you up with participants with a similar interest. There is also the possibility for one session to be opened up to participants to  run discussion sessions or mini-workshops on work or projects they are involved with that link to the “participating and contributing” theme.

Through the course of the workshop we will support your learning groups to direct your thinking and learning towards a collaborative task – generating something new that can be shared back with other participants. Over the two days you will develop an understanding with your learning group about the scope of this task and how you will work together to achieve it!

NEW: Before you come to Shifting Thinking, please read this update and respond to our two questions

NEW: Wifi will be available to participants for both days of the Workshop.

The programme

Colour key

Whole-group sessions
Learning group sessions
Entry point options
Meal breaks and registration

Day 1 (Thursday)

8.15-9 Registration
9-9.30 Plenary welcome
9.30-10.30 Introduction to Shifting Thinking
10.30-11.00 Morning tea
11.00 – 12.30 Learning groups
Get to know your group and facilitator, explore the tasks that lie ahead
12.30-1.15 Lunch
1.15-2.45 Entry point session I (Choose one)
Option 1: Local and global participation
Option 2: Culture and identity
2.45-3.15 Afternoon tea
3.15-4.45 Entry point session II (Choose one)
Option 1: Sharing power and responsibility
Option 2: Dealing with complexity
4.45-5.15 Back to learning groups
Discuss the day’s learnings, processing and planning for Day 2
5.15-5.30 Plenary close


After-work social interlude at the Jimmy Bar (St James Theatre)

Day 2 (Friday)

8.30 Tea/Coffee
9.00-9.20 Welcome for Day 2 
9.30-11 Entry point session III (Choose one)
Option 1: Participating and contributing in the generation of new knowledge
Option 2: Open space session
11-11.30 Morning tea
11.30-1 Examining our thinking, making connections
During this session we will work as a whole group and in learning groups to process our thinking and identify our wonderings, new insights and  discoveries, and questions we haven’t yet asked.
1-1.45 Lunch
1.45-2.30 Learning groups
Working together on a group task to generate something “new” with our thinking

2.30 – 4.30 Sharing back of the learning groups’ work
4.30-5 Final thoughts/Wrap-up/Farewell


The Entry Points (Orange session slots)

Video: What’s the deal with “entry points”?

During every Entry Point session there will be two concurrent sessions run by the NZCER team with some  guest speakers and facilitators.  You will be able to choose on the day which option you attend.  The five Entry Point session topics are outlined below.

SESSION I: Thurs 1.15-2.45pm

Global and local participation

Facilitators: Rachel Bolstad, Lani Evans, Tania Tapsell-Bennett

This session will push your thinking about the meaning of citizenship in the 21st century and about what education can do to support learner-citizens to participate and contribute at the local and global level.

(Read more on the blog)

Perspectives on Identity & Culture in Aotearoa New Zealand

Facilitators: Alex Barnes, Jen Margaret, Jessica Hutchings

Co-led by Māori and Pākehā presenters, this session will explore how participants can actively contribute to Aotearoa becoming a nation that values Māori rangatiratanga, and Pākehā and Tauiwi cultural development. It will challenge and encourage participants to reflect on how they position themselves in relation to te Tiriti o Waitangi. Participants will consider the practical implications for the learning environments they work within.

(Read more on the blog)

SESSION II: Thurs 3.15 – 4.45pm

Sharing power and responsibility

Facilitators: Jenny Whatman Elizabeth Anderson

Participants will take part in a drama process to explore issues of power, control and responsibility in the learning environment. This session will demonstrate how educators can exert power and control positively without taking the decision making away from the learners.

(Read more on the blog)

Dealing with complexity

Facilitator: Jennifer Garvey Berger

Much of what makes our world exciting –  the ease of access to information, the connectivity that breaks down borders, the dynamic and unfolding social system – also makes it more complex.  Here we explore how to support all of us – teachers, students, community members – to better handle the complexity of our time.

Video: Dealing with complexity

SESSION III: Fri 9.30-11am

Participating and contributing in the generation of new knowledge

Facilitators: Rose Hipkins and Sue McDowall

This session will explore the impact on classroom practice if students are not just receiving knowledge but actively participating in generating it. What might that look like in more traditional disciplines, such as science or subject English, and what would need to change?

Video: What does knowledge-creation look like in a classroom?

Participant-led open session

Facilitators: YOU!

How are you involved in “shifting thinking” about participating and contributing in your workplace,  school, or community?  Do you have something interesting to share that you think other participants will want to know about? One of the Entry Point sessions will provide the opportunity for you – the Workshop participants – to offer to run a discussion session or mini-workshop which other participants can opt into if they are interested in what you have.  If you think  you are likely to want to offer a session please email rachel.bolstad@nzcer.org.nz to register your interest.

The Shifting Thinking team

A team of people at NZCER are working on bringing the workshop together. There are senior researchers Rachel Bolstad, Sue McDowall and Jenny Whatman, and Dr Jessica Hutchings and Alex Barnes from Te Wāhanga. Former NZCER chief researcher and adult development specialist Dr Jennifer Garvey Berger is also a key team member. The group is joined by NZCER communications manager Sarah Boyd and Joanne Edgecombe from NZCER support staff.


Speakers and facilitators

Elizabeth Anderson  is a Senior Lecturer in drama in the Faculty of Education at the University of Auckland. She is currently working on an EdD, researching the characteristics of expert drama teaching in primary school settings, a project that will inform preservice teacher education. Research interests are in drama education particularly, and in preservice teacher education, and curriculum. In the wider field of arts education, she is interested in  collaborative projects between  Arts disciplines. Her work has included curriculum development, and resource and materials development for drama.  
Alex Barnes was raised in Tauranga Moana.  He has affiliations to Ngāti Pūkenga iwi and Ngā Pōtiki hapū through his family participation and support of kōhanga reo and kura kaupapa Māori.  More recently he has worked with Ngāti Pareraukawa hapū as a programme evaluator, and Te Whare Wānanga o Raukawa as a kaiāwhina. He has a Master of Arts in Education Studies from The University of Waikato.

He joined the NZCER team in early 2012, working with Te Wāhanga and the wider resaerch group. Alex is passionate about understanding what elements improve family and whānau environmental, social, and cultural well-being.

Rachel Bolstad  is a senior researcher at NZCER, avid blogger, and aspiring circus performer. Since joining NZCER in 2002 she has undertaken research in a wide range of areas including environmental education/education for sustainability, education for enterprise, school-based curriculum development and innovation, and the changing nature of citizenship for the 21st century. She enjoys working creatively, and penned an original play that was performed at the 2009 Shifting Thinking conference. She cares deeply about making a difference for all learners, but if you want to engage Rachel in a tea-break conversation on a topic other than education, ask her about her circus hobbies! Read blogs by Rachel Rachel Bolstad
Lani Evans is the Co-Convenor of the ReGeneration Trust, a national community organization that works to grow and support young people who are interested in creating positive social, environmental, cultural and creative change in their schools, workplaces, communities and the world. ReGen does this through an innovative programme of regional and national events, through the creation of media to inspire and record change, through online networks, through strategic conversations and networking with older practitioners, mentoring and skills development and through modeling collaboration & generosity. Lani has been volunteering with ReGen since 2009 and working full time on the Project since January 2011. As well as her ReGen mahi, Lani is involved in a number of great organisations and steering groups, including the Generosity Hub, the Port Chalmers community gardens, RAVE (Respect And Value Everyone) and the Vodafone Foundation World of Difference whanau. Lani is a trained film-maker and animator and has previously worked on adventure based community education and youth projects with Rape Crisis and Youthline. She was one of the first women to traverse the South Island, spending 84 days in untracked areas of the Southern Alps walking from the bottom of the island to the top. Lani is interested in growing levels of generosity, sustainability, community connection, citizenship and general radness.
Dr. Jennifer Garvey Berger is a former chief researcher at NZCER and a founding partner at Cultivating Leadership (www.cultivatingleadership.co.nz). She has deep expertise in adult development and she supports leaders internationally through coaching and leadership development programmes. Jennifer has a Masters degree and a Doctorate from Harvard University. Formerly an associate professor at George Mason University, Jennifer learned about deep change in 2006 when she moved to New Zealand with her husband, two kids, and the family dog. Her new book Changing on the job was published in late 2011 and is available from NZCER Press.  
Dr. Rose Hipkins used to be a science and biology teacher but now she is a chief researcher at the NZCER with specific responsibilities for building links between research and practice. As a proud grandmother, Rose is keen to see real change in education and in ways we look after the natural world. We’ve only got one planet! Thus, understanding and working with the complexity of both natural and social systems has a compelling personal and professional urgency for her. DSC08124
Jessica Hutchings Dr Jessica Hutchings, Ngäi Tahu, Ngäti Huirapa and Gujarati, is the manager of Te Wähanga within NZCER. She is an experienced kaupapa Mäori researcher with particular research interests in education, environment and health. She is committed to working with whanau, hapu, iwi and Mäori communities to support positive change. Jessica is interested in developing and supporting critical thinking that challenges colonial hegemonic norms. She works from a decolonising paradigm where Māori and indigenous knowledge and wisdom is honoured, engaged, valued and protected.  
Jennifer Margaret works in strategic development, project leadership, programme design and evaluation in community and sustainable development for local government and community organisations. Her specialist  areas include  learning/capacity development, research, community development and Te Tiriti o Waitangi implementation. Jen was the organiser of the 2009 conference Treaty in the 21st centuryand was a project manager for the Auckland Workers’ Educational Association for a number of years.  She is a passionate learner and has a deep understanding of and commitment to social justice issues, particularly Te Tiriti o Waitangi and cultural diversity.  
Sue McDowall is a senior researcher at NZCER where she works mainly in the areas of literacy and English. Her current projects focus on: literacy in e-learning contexts; literary engagement; and the integration of the key competencies and reading. Prior to her time at NZCER Sue worked as a primary school teacher for eight years.  
Tania Tapsell-Bennett  is a young person who affiliates to Te Arawa Iwi and Ngati Whakaue Hapu. She has volunteered many years to youth forums/councils both locally and nationally. Her main focus is providing opportunities for youth, and has been integral in setting up the Rotorua Electorate Youth Advisory Committee and also the Rotorua Environmental Leadership Seminar which are both specific to young people. She also helped develop a Rangatahi Strategy for Te Taumata o Ngati Whakaue Iho Ake Trust, which will see youth development become a priority area within her Hapu. Her inspiration can be described by a quote from Walt Disney – “Our greatest assets are the minds of our children”.  
Jenny Whatman  is a senior researcher and project manager at NZCER. Her particular research interests include adult learning, learning at work, teacher education and literacy. She is NZCER’s project manager on the professional development consortium Te Toi Tupu. She is involved in research about facilitators as adult learners and the kinds of shifts in thinking they make as they adapt to new and mutliple roles. Jenny was a secondary school teacher and teacher educator of drama and English for many years. Prior to joining NZCER she worked at the Ministry of Education in workforce policy related to initial teacher education, leadership, career pathways and professional learning for school teachers.  



  1. | #1

    I know! We learned so much from putting on the 2009 Shifting Thinking. This time we have made life a little bit easier by keeping everything in one venue (but just like last time, participants can certainly expect to be “moving around” between different ideas and spaces – literally and metaphorically!)

  2. | #2

    Cool! Looks great… hard to believe the last one was 3 years ago!!

You must be logged in to post a comment.