Isn’t Mantle of the Expert just the same as topic?
A Mantle of the Expert Inquiry always happens in context: the context will incorporate the features of MoE, the expert viewpoint, the enterprise, the client and a commission. As well as, the curriculum you want the children to explore. The skills you want them to develop, the knowledge you want them to acquire, the understanding you want them to gain and the attitude and dispositions you hope they will adopt.
A Mantle of the Expert inquiry is more than doing a â€śtopicâ€ť. Topics donâ€™t contextualise learning they simply create an acquaintance.
A topic on the Romans from the QCA Schemes of work might look like this:
As Heathcote and Bolton (Drama for Learning, p. 32) argue this does not offer an understanding of the wholeness of the studentâ€™s study, but rather leaves them with an impression of how many different aspects there are to the Romans.
Topics are a convenient way of organising teaching and planning. But, the structuring of a topic approach does not take into account how people learn. That is, the way effective learning makes connections and searches for meaning. Topics are less about understanding a subject, than about acquiring units of knowledge around a common theme. Their disparate form gives no real context in which to generate rich and varied connections. Learners are not in a position to investigate the subject â€“ ask searching questions, look for meaning â€“ but are participants in an essentially intellectual process of acquiring new knowledge.
Heathcote and Bolton criticise the topic approach for having no centre, â€śThere is only a title and its many subdivisions.â€ť Mantle of the Expert on the on the hand, they argue, â€śProvides a centre for all knowledge: it is always experienced by the students in terms of the responsible human being. Thus interconnectedness between one aspect and the whole is unquestionable. There is a sense in which an aspect is the whole and vice versa.â€ť