In the past few years much has changed on the educational stage in the UK and internationally. Drama for learning methods as well as the adoption of Mantle of the Expert systems in many learning contexts is becoming more widespread in the UK and in several other countries notably in the Middle East, Palestine and New Zealand. Additionally, several organisations and groups are claiming training rights to guide and develop teacher’s skills and dispositions in the methods associated with Mantle of the Expert methods. Whilst such a position can only be applauded there are several issues concerning QA (quality assurance) for the safeguarding of practices of skill and know how that need addressing. We are therefore developing further a QM with regard to the work of Mantle of the Expert specifically in schools colleges and other settings where the use of the system is significant and perhaps affecting whole school policy in curriculum structures and pedagogy.
We are offering schools, Higher Education settings and colleagues with appropriate experiences in drama for learning and theatre form as well as colleagues across the world, that wish to do so, the opportunity to apply and be awarded the QM for a period of three years if they can evidence and comply with the selected criteria they wish to address concerning the use and development of MoE practices.
We see the benefits of such a QM as follows:
1. The MoE QM will enable schools and a range of user settings (children’s homes, UN Refugee Camp Schools in Palestine for example) to select and attract high calibre teaching staff looking for institutions that are innovative, creative and holding an inquiry-based philosophy.
2. Holders of the Training School Mark QM will clearly indicate that the individual(s) or school/setting holding the award, publicly stands for more that an instrumental approach to learning and teaching and can demonstrate high levels of practices able to be shared in the wider educational or community arena.
3. Trainer(s)/Training Schools will be identified on the Mantle of the Expert website and will be the first to be approached to run and work on any of the National and International assignments we are currently engaged in as well as those being planned at the moment for the future. (We already have completed assignments in the UK, New Zealand, Jordan, Palestine and China for example.)
4. In the UK, Local Authority powers to support and challenge has been severely diminished placing more emphasis on the local cluster, or Academy Training School arrangements for CPD.
5. The MoE QM will indicate that the school/setting is able to self evaluate innovation in their curriculum as well as the mandatory one issued by government.
Such a feature will be useful for formal reviews of standards as in OfSTED processes that currently (2018) require Great Pedagogy as a standard for teaching in the UK. The use of MoE has a long track record in raising standards overall as it has all the features of Great Pedagogy as outlined in the recent research at Kings College London.
6. Highly acclaimed practices as reported by OfSTED/HMI UK have also been evident, even in the current tightening of the Ofsted regime.
7. Nationally, the same is true of subject evaluations (Bealings Geography 2010) and in long term evaluations of large scale cross county MoE projects by HMI for example in Barnsley LA 2011 and HMI evaluations of the outcomes and impact of MoE- Dartford schools in Kent 2012 and the work of the MoE Training Schools in International exchange contexts (Woodrow and Palestine, Bealings and Denmark for example).
8. The QM criterion directly parallels the findings in the HMI evaluation of The Curriculum in the Most Successful schools (UK) as reported by Robin Hammerton HMI.
9. The QM protects the quality of the provision and development of MoE in the community of practice. Schools and others will no longer be able to claim superficial rights to publicise their ability to train or demonstrate MoE practices, unless they are of the highest calibre, as the processes for application and holding of the QM will be well publicised.
10. In time, it will be evident that schools holding the MoE QM will be able to hold Lead School status in MoE meaning that other schools wishing to embark on MoE developments will seek such lead schools as their mentors with the added financial benefits, status and stature.
11. For schools wishing to have detail of their CPD needs in the development of MoE, the QM will act as an indicator for future development in teaching quality for those looking for curriculum inquiry within an imaginary context.
The Mantle of the Expert Quality Marks
1. MoE Training School QM (This is a whole school process and will take around 2 years to complete)
a. This QM is for schools and other appropriate settings wishing to be recognised by other schools as an example of what can be achieved when MoE is securely embedded into everyday pedagogic approaches and the impact such work can have on children’s standards of achievement and attainments. Such a school is likely to have invested significant amounts of training funds to the system in order that its teachers are able to use the procedures across the school. Teachers are all able to share their practices with visitors and the SLT Governors have a clear vision of the way forwards as well as a clear recognition of the impacts beyond instrumental standards.
2. MoE Teacher QM (This process requires at least one lead teacher in a school or setting to embark on our training programme either residential or school based.)
a. Schools and teachers, lecturers and other appropriate workers in the field, wishing to have this QM will be those schools who have outstanding practice in MoE in one particular phase rather than the whole school. The criteria otherwise is similar to the details in the Training school descriptor above.
3. MoE Lead Teacher QM (This is similar to 2 above but is about leadership of MoE across the school and not in one phase.)
a. For teachers, the award of this QM is similar to the demands of an AST in a school. Indeed many of the early gains in MoE throughout the UK were developed by ASTs and in one case the specialism specified in the National AST Register is for MoE. Understandably ASTs are now expected to make impacts on pedagogy. This QM will be a significant recognition of the skills and dedication of particular gifted colleagues who teach and develop MoE in others and who are able to demonstrate their capacity to be involved in the wider local, national or indeed international educational contexts beyond their school. The award would serve as a personal award for outstanding achievements in teaching and in time we believe this will be seen as signifying highly sought after individuals.
b. In most cases teachers can use the time taken developing their practices towards a Masters level award in Learning and Teaching at most UK universities through the accumulation of credits system. Colleagues following this path must hold QTS and registered for an MA with an HE institution.
Criteria for QM’s
MoE Training School QM
1. At least ONE lead teacher is in place who has attended at least 3 intensive weekend courses or other CPD experiences specifically related to MoE practices run by accredited members of the National Team of Trainers.
2. At least 3 events have been run and organised where a range of local or national/international schools have visited the setting on at least 3 occasions over a period of a year and the feedback has been recorded.
3. MoE practices are evidenced in all classes.
4. Teachers/workers are conversant with the main tenets of the system.
5. Drama for learning experiences are provided for all learners who are developing make believe skills when young as well create dramatic structuring when they are older.
6. Learners can discuss their MoE experiences through identifying the gains.
7. The Lead Teacher is perceived and revered in the setting as a practitioner able to publicly share practices in MoE. Professional integrity and expertise is high with regard to the knowledge skills and understanding in the deployment of MoE method.
8. The LT has had measurable impact in the setting for the development of MoE practices in others and is a source of inspiration.
9. The LT has the authority in the setting to develop MoE practices and is available for consultation with other teachers/practitioners so that MoE is a regular feature in the experiences of children.
10. Leadership in the school backs and supports the development of MoE through staff meetings and allowing where possible, CPD opportunities to be taken up by staff who wish to do so.
11. MoE is perceived in the school/setting as a major contributor to achievement in selected groups of identified children in the school.
12. Curriculum maps include MoE structures on an on going and regular basis.
Criteria to gain MoE Lead Teacher/Practitioner(s) QM
1. The LT is trained to a high level by national and international leaders in the field and has completed specific training with organised and focussed attention on how to work with others to disseminate best MoE practices in classrooms with children. (Such trainers are very likely to have been members of long term courses taught by Dr Heathcote or her ex students. They are likely to have been awarded either a Diploma or Masters in Drama for Learning during her lifetime at Newcastle University or holders of PhD’s supervised by her before her death in 2011.)
2. The LT is a skilled practitioner using MoE as a teaching approach in their work. They have collected examples in high quality portfolios to use in dissemination activities.
3. The LT understands how process drama and theatre form works and the necessary shifts in practice to incorporate MoE tools where appropriate and vice versa.
4. The leading teacher uses INDUCTIVE teaching practices and encourages others to do the same to ensure that classrooms are empowering children to influence their learning.
5. The LT communicates in a manner associated with ‘Community of Practice’ and always-through example requiring involvement and participation of interested colleagues.
6. LT’s can support planning activities with colleagues that incorporate the first steps. The Inquiry questions and curriculum goals will always be uppermost with tools to enable levels of classroom activity to follow. Such first steps may be ‘initial’ for the new colleague or longer term if the colleague(s) are supported in their experimental phase.
7. The leading teacher is clear about the 4 projections of role (FULL ROLE, TEACHER IN AND OUT OF ROLE, TWILIGHT ROLE, and SECONDARY ROLE) including the use to which each is appropriate.
8. The LT is capable of demonstrating the differences and the language registers needed to ensure children and young people have the power to influence as much as possible. The skills needed by a LT are mainly in the domain of language use and the resistance to the use of the ‘telling’ voice. In MoE the guidance for teachers who use the system we emphasise the deployment of the 3 voices of the teacher reduce the use of the ‘controller’ voice in the optimum circumstances of facilitative teaching.
9. The LT understands and can communicate how the 3 voices are used:
• The ‘Manager’s voice’ (i.e. the ‘go between’) in the construction of the enterprise or responsible team.
• The voice of ‘coach’ both inside and outside the fiction, which can support and challenge ongoing work to develop high quality outcomes.
• The voices of others such as the ‘client’ voice or fictional ‘others’ necessary for the fictional world to be grown and developed.
10. The LT can coach in situ with a colleague and has portfolio evidence to support their work in classes by starting the work and handing over, or supporting the starting steps led by the colleague.
11. The LT is a member of a wider network of trainers and practitioners who make it their business to ensure that they are up to date with their practices as well as remaining open minded to new procedures as they arise from other members within the community of practice. Such communities are often web based and focussed by a national/international convener or central location. (See www.mantleoftheexpert.com or its derivatives in New Zealand and Palestine.)
12. The LT is passionate about the use of MoE and is a constant advocate.
13. The LT uses ongoing active research activities to review and evaluate their practice.
Criteria to gain MoE Phase and Lead Teacher/Lecturer QM (EYS, KS1, KS2, KS3, KS4, FE, HE and Special Schools)
1. At least one lead teacher in the designated phase is in place who has attended at least 3 intensive weekend courses or other equivalent CPD experiences specifically related to MoE practices.
2. At least 3 other schools have visited the specific phase (such as EYS, KS1, KS2, KS3) on at least 3 occasions over a period of a year and the feedback has been recorded.
3. MoE practices are evidenced in all classes within the phase.
4. Teachers/workers are conversant with the main tenets of the system.
5. Drama for learning experiences are provided within the framework for using MoE for all learners who are developing make believe skills when young as well as dramatic structuring when they are older.
6. Learners can discuss and reflect upon their MoE experiences through identifying the gains.
7. The Lead Teacher is perceived and revered in the setting as a practitioner able to publicly share practices in MoE.
8. Professional integrity and expertise is high with regard to the knowledge skills and understanding in the deployment of MoE method.
9. The LT has had measurable impact in the phase/setting for the development of MoE practices in others and is a source of inspiration.
10. The LT has the authority in the phase/setting to develop MoE practices and is available for consultation with other teachers/practitioners so that MoE is a regular feature in the experiences of children.
11. Leadership in the school backs and supports the development of MoE through staff meetings and allowing where possible, CPD opportunities to be taken up by staff members who wish to do so.
12. MoE is perceived in the school/setting as a major contributor to achievement in selected groups of identified children in the school.
13. Curriculum maps include MoE structures on a regular basis.
Criteria to gain Learning Support QM
We have several Learning Support or Teaching Assistants who have attained the QM. In one school in Newcastle (Training School QM ) a HLTA colleague was awarded the lead practitioner award as her practice is so powerful and has had whole school impact recognised by HMI and Ofsted in their last inspection (2015). For Learning support colleagues such opportunities are markedly about recognising innovation in supporting make believe processes as well as assisting in the processes assigned to MoE as a curriculum inquiry model.
Current QM schools are requiring many of their Learning Support Assistants/Staff (or Teaching Assistants) to become involved in MoE practices in collaboration with Classroom Teachers.
Colleagues in this MoE category would fulfil the following observable behaviours in classroom activities supporting high impacts on learning:
1. A willingness to actively engage in dramatic play or drama in a make believe context with the children they are supporting under the leadership of the class teacher.
2. Records of taking an active part in extensive practical MoE training events run by the school or members of the MoE National Training Team specifically for learning support colleagues and with teacher focussed training events where possible.
3. Personally be able to be involved as a Full Role in dramatic activity by classroom application in learning contexts under the direction of a member of the teaching staff.
4. Know how dramatic tension works and how this can be applied to learning contexts requiring dramatic activity.
5. Know the difference between play and drama, make believe and pretence, and be able to use a range of language codes to shift learning responsibility to learners.
6. Be able to articulate the benefits of dramatic activity in learning and to be able to describe the three circles (Drama, Inquiry and MoE) sufficiently for other LSA colleagues to become familiar with the basic tenets of the system
Institutional application processes and time lines
The processes for obtaining the QM’s are as follows:
• Institutions will specify the QM(s) they wish to be recognised for by contacting the national director. All can be achieved through e-mail and phone contact in the first stages and is cost free.
• The settings will write a short brief set of details evidencing the criteria in the appropriate section details as above. There will follow correspondence via e-mails and phone calls, or if near a National Team member will make an initial visit. This will be to verify and evaluate the evidence supplied by the school concerned. If the criterions are met in the eyes of the National Team member from this initial record the next stage will be the day visit.
• The one day visit will be at a date suitable to the institution and will be led by a designated member of the National MoE Team who will then verify the overall training practices, the quality of provision and outcomes as well as teaching practices. The QM will be awarded on the day in question, with a brief written evaluation by the National Team member. A typical day will start at 9.00 with a conversation with the HT and staff followed by a programme of observations, planning reviews, records of school visits from other settings with comments/impacts. During the day MoE QM reviewers will discuss issues with the lead teacher and hold brief conversations with all teaching staff as well as TA’s and HLTA’s. If possible a governor contact will be made as well. Finally after conversations with learners where appropriate, observations in classrooms and outcomes generated by MoE processes, the award will be made.
• The QM MoE Mark can be displayed in the school and on any literature if needed or any other site decided by the setting. Photo records of the event are encouraged and any images can appear on the MoE website with the mutual consent of both schools and the national team member concerned.
• The QM will be awarded for 3 years from the date of the practical evaluation visit.
• In the event of a school judged to be in need of more evidence to support their standard required they might submit further evidence at any time. It will be at the discretion of the National Team Assessor to charge any more depending on time and travel needs up to a maximum of one-day full charge if necessary.
• Schools may submit evidence at any time within one year of their first evaluation.
Luke Abbott National Director Mantle of the Expert January 2018 ©