Mantle of the Expert at Sussex University

16th January 2018

Kevin Holland, Course Tutor

Mantle of the Expert is a core element of the Primary PGCE course at The University of Sussex. This is how it happened.

In 2006 as I was running Bigfoot arts Education in Brighton , I worked at Highfield Junior School in Eastbourne for a Creative Partnerships project. The school were interested in MoE and there was funding for me was able to be trained up by Tim and Luke across a weekend at Ringsfield Hall. It was an amazing experience and I did not want to use drama for learning in other way from that moment on. I then became one of the MOE national trainers and pursued a Masters in Education at The University of Sussex with a study on the impact of MOE being the central part of my research.

This led to the Primary PGCE course leader Jo Tregenza being interested in this way of working. A couple of workshops led to more and I am now a member of staff on the Sussex Primary PGCE Course.

We now launch the course in the open air, an outdoors learning day where a MOE unit based on Hansel and Gretel is the core part of the day. The trainees quickly grasp the Sussex ethos , that we want teachers to be creative and reflective practitioners with the main aim of making a difference to the children we work with.

We now also have a joint trainee and mentor day. The school mentors who are supporting the trainees come to Sussex and have a day of creative activities. Again MOE is one of the workshops I deliver, as we want both trainee and mentor to try inquiry-based methods with the children.

The trainees also have a 6000 word assignment where they reflect on a series of 6 lessons they have taught, influenced by theory. MOE is a popular choice and we have had some strong assignments highlighting the impact the work has had on the children and the teachers !

At Sussex we have up to 100 Primary trained teachers graduating each year. All have a good working knowledge of MOE and an appreciation for how much of an impact MOE can have.

Out next stage is to have partnership schools on board where trainee teachers with a real passion for MOE can train in a setting where they can develop this practice further. We have Warden Park Academy in Haywards Heath as our first school on board for this. I have visited and delivered a MOE session and given the staff ideas for a mantle unit. I will be visiting again in Spring 2018 to see how they have progressed !


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