Another successful Carpentries instructor training workshop continues to build NZ's computational training community

On 13-14 May 2019, The Carpentries welcomed 15 new instructor-trainees into the New Zealand training community. Participants from ESR, NeSI, Victoria University of Wellington, NIWA, Genomics Aotearoa, and Otago University completed the two-day training workshop.  

The Carpentries project comprises the Software Carpentry, Data Carpentry, and Library Carpentry communities who share a mission to teach foundational computational and data science skills to researchers.

Hosted by ESR and organised collaboratively by NeSI, The Carpentries, ESR and the University of Otago, this is the eighth instructor training event NeSI has been involved in hosting in New Zealand since 2015. To date, 108 participants from across New Zealand have attended these “train-the-trainer” events.  

Under the guidance of long-time Carpentries facilitator, Jonah Duckles, and Senior Lecturer Arindam Basu from the University of Canterbury, the group investigated how learning works, how instructors can build their teaching skills, and how instructors can create a positive learning environment for others.

Growing the instructor pool of Carpentries instructors in New Zealand is a big priority for NeSI and other institutional Carpentries members, ESR and the University of Otago. With a growing group of institutions prioritising training with their own Partnerships with the Carpentries, we have been able to work collaboratively across NZ to grow the number of instructors.  

Training researchers to be Carpentries instructors enables research communities to run their own workshops and spread knowledge more effectively. Increasing digital literacy in New Zealand is a massive collaborative effort and the growth of programs like the Carpentries is a big step in the right direction.

So far, NeSI’s support of these Carpentries instructor training sessions has paid off, placing New Zealand among the top ranks of The Carpentries’ global network of instructors.

“New Zealand is the most instructor-dense community of any country in the world,” says Jonah.

Case in point, New Zealand’s next Carpentries instructor training event, an online session scheduled for 29-30 July, is fully subscribed, demonstrating the strong interest within New Zealand to become part of this growing community.

Built around hands-on, interactive experiences, the Carpentries instructor training events give attendees a chance to reflect on the process of learning itself so that they may become more thoughtful, effective leaders in the broader research community.

As part of a final discussion with New Zealand’s latest recruits, participants in the Wellington workshop shared the insights they would take away from the training. These included:

  • Beginners often make the best teachers
  • Making mistakes while teaching can be a BIG help to learners
  • Dismissive language can have a big impact on a learner’s experience.

If you’d like to stay informed of future Carpentries events in New Zealand, email for more information or sign up to the Australia / New Zealand Carpentries topicbox.


The Carpentries NeSI instructor training
Jonah Duckles leading a session for participants at the May 2019 training workshop in Wellington.