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What is Mantle of the Expert?
Tim Taylor, innovator
Meaningful learning can often be found in the realm of stories, where a fictional context can grab the imagination and give purpose to curriculum study. In education systems where the focus is on passing tests and driving up standards, there can be little room for creativity or for teaching a broad curriculum that deepens students’ understanding of the interconnectedness of the world.
Great learning comes from an active engagement in meaningful and purposeful activities, whereas an education system that prioritises a narrow band of curriculum subjects runs the risk of alienating large numbers of people who struggle to understand its relevance to their lives.
Mantle of the Expert is an educational approach that uses fictional contexts (co-created by the teacher and students) to generate purposeful activities for learning. Within the fiction, students are cast as a team of experts working for a client on a commission. The commission is designed by the teacher to generate tasks and activities which create opportunities for students to collaborate and study-wide areas of the curriculum. For example, cast as a team of archaeologists excavating an Egyptian tomb for the Cairo Museum, students research ancient Egyptian history and explore tombs from the period, artefacts, and rituals with the purpose of creating a new exhibition.
Meaningful, cross-curricular contexts for learning are created through this process as they study history, geography, art, design and technology as well as developing skills in reading, writing, problem-solving, and inquiry.
Aspects from across the curriculum are explored through the drama, empowering students by giving them opportunities to assume roles of responsibility and make decisions. Through engagement in the fiction, the students learn to see events from other points of view, giving them a wider perception of situations and contributing to their development as global citizens.
Mantle of the Expert can have a transformative effect on schools and learning. It can make teaching fun as well as making learning fun, engaging and motivating. Mantle of the Expert can unlock the curriculum.Impact
Feedback for teachers and school leaders who have used Mantle of the Expert is overwhelmingly positive. They have observed how it has changed their practice and has increased engagement and motivation. Children describe how they learn better when they're acting because, while it's work, it's fun work.Scalability
Children know how to play no matter what language it is in. Mantle of the Expert has been working in classrooms for over 20 years, with groups operating across the world. The innovator has written a book, A Beginners Guide to Mantle of the Expert which explains how to use the approach. It is in English and has been translated into Arabic. The innovators run workshops and training for a fee. There is a website, which has been in existence for over fifteen years and is being redesigned and developed for a relaunch in October 2017.