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Mantle Of The Expert

location_on Norwich, United Kingdom

How can role-play make the curriculum more meaningful and engaging for our students?

Making stories to create imaginary contexts for learning.

HundrED 2019

Overview

HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED 2019

HundrED 2018

1995

Established

-

Children/users

2

Countries
Updated
November 22nd, 2022
Education is a process that should be done with people not to them. Mantle of the Expert gives students responsibility within the fiction. Stories are created and students have a real connection to their learning.
Tim Taylor, innovator

About the innovation

What is Mantle of the Expert?

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.

Impact & scalability

Impact & Scalability

Innovativeness

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.

Steps

Decide on the purpose

Start by considering how Mantle of the Expert will enhance and develop the methods you are already using.

Mantle of the Expert is not an approach to teach all the curriculum, so consider when and where you will use it: in the afternoon? Once a week? Just to teach history? 

What outcomes do you hope to see? Are you hoping to achieve more student engagement? More collaboration? More cross-curricular work? More enjoyment in learning? An improvement in students’ writing? Clarification of intended outcomes will make later assessment more straightforward. 

Visit the website for advice and support

Identify participants

To ensure successful implementation of the Mantle of the Expert approach, identify a few teachers to take the lead and feedback to others.

If you are considering developing Mantle of the Expert across a whole school then it is important to take into account it is not a quick fix and it takes time and research to develop the required skills and understanding to use well. We, therefore, recommend identifying a small group of trailblazers (3-8, depending on the size of the school) who will explore the approach first before reporting back to the others on their findings. Trailblazers are often people within the school who have an affinity towards the approach and are keen to implement it in their classrooms.

 

Once the trailblazers have developed an understanding of the approach they will be in a position to support and encourage others as they begin to adopt the approach in their own classrooms.

Mantle of the Expert can take time to master, so acquiring the necessary skills and understanding requires teachers to commit to a period of research and development. The approach can be transformative when there is senior leadership support and belief in its efficacy.  

Set a time frame for implementation
Start small and build gradually.

An example time frame may look like this:

Phase 1: A day’s training with the trailblazers exploring the approach, planning and preparing for development in class.

Phase 2: Half day demonstration sessions with each trailblazer in class.

Phase 3: Trailblazers develop the approach in their own classrooms, involving:                                                                                

  • Using the approach for a minimum of an hour a week and evaluating its progress as a form of action research.
  • Collaborating with other trailblazers
  • Working with a trainer through email and Google Docs

Phase 4: A training day with whole staff including Teaching Assistants

Phase 5: Staff start to implement the approach in their own classrooms:

  • Working with the support of the Trailblazers
  • Using demonstration lessons
  • Each teacher begins to use the approach for a minimum of an hour a week and evaluates its progress

Phase 6: Ongoing development, evaluation, and support.

Consider it a journey
The best approach to developing Mantle of the Expert - both in the classroom and across the school community - is to consider it a journey.

It is in no way a quick fix, but instead a long term project that will, over time, transform the learning environment of your setting and your students attitude to learning.

Teachers who have successfully implemented the approach talk about the importance of:

  • Reading
  • Training, particularly in the use of inquiry and the conventions of drama
  • Trying out methods and ideas in the classroom
  • Evaluating their work, being careful not to be too critical of themselves
  • Keeping notes and reflecting on what they do
Work collaboratively
Mantle of the Expert is a community approach to learning, so think collaboratively.

Collaborate:

First with your class - listen to what the students, sharing your thinking, and talking about what went well and what didn’t.

Your colleagues - discuss how things are going, share planning, work on ideas and contexts together.

Parents - let them know what is going on, invite them into class, share experiences, talk to them about your planning, ask them about what their children are saying.

The wider community - Mantle of the Expert is an education approach being explored all over the world, teachers using it are keen and excited about they do, so share your experiences and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Spread of the innovation

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