Notes from RFH October 2019

12th October 2019

The following are notes from the Mantle of the Expert Beginner’s weekend on October 11th-13th 2019.

On Saturday evening we watched Three Looms Waiting and Luke mentioned “The Drama of History” by John Fines.



Protecting people into experience.

1. INTRODUCTION: “With your neighbour would you mind just discussing the greatest skill a doctor has…. The thing you admire… just a little conversation” – INQUIRY

2. STEPPING IN BRIEFLY: “Imagine yourselves as somebody else… in a moment I’m just going to ask you for a moment to represent this great skill”. Luke models an example, then: “First agree with someone what you are going to do. And then I’m going to count to 10”. EDGING IN – ENACTIVE
– “I’m just going to count a quick 5-4-3-2-1 and just hold it there…. And… relax.”

3. SETTING THE SCENE: “Could you just imagine a hospital wing with a heart unit… what would you expect to see… Let’s go round.” INQUIRY Discussion – Luke ruminates and models summoning up in the imagination.

4. LOOKING AT A DETAIL: “If you were working in this ward where would you wear your emergency button… could you point to wear you would wear it… 3-2-1” SHIFT FROM TALKING ABOUT, TO TALKING ‘AS IF’ (From outside the fiction to inside). “I guess these beepers would go off a lot in our word.”

5. Continue discussion about the kinds of things people would see in a heart ward.

6. STARTING THE DRAMA: “Well colleagues, I don’t know if you will want to go along with this, I have to ask your opinion: A patient has been brought into the ward and demanded we perform heart surgery in the next half hour…. What would your response be? This person has amazing coercive powers…” INSIDE THE FICTION
– TASK: “Could you spend a moment discussing this in your teams.”

7. CHANCE TO ASK QUESTIONS: “Let’s hold it there… is there anything you would like to ask the consultant?” OUTSIDE THE FICTION
– “The consultant would answer you in this way: This patient is not going to take no for an answer.”
– “The consultant would be saying to you…”

8. CONVENTION 1: “The consultant is here [Luke points at himself] you can ask him any question but he will only answer from his own point of view. Are we ready?”

9. STOPPING THE FICTON: “Hold it there for a moment. What do you make of this so far?” REFLECTION

10. BACK INTO THE FICTION: Luke takes an idea from the group: “We can try that… would you mind standing for a moment. Would you mind putting on your gloves [MOVING INTO THE FICTION] ENACTIVE
– ‘The gloves are going on and you are talking to your colleagues about this question. In that moment, what is transpiring. You can imagine the water running… let’s see what is transpiring in the next ten seconds. Ready, 5-4-3-2-1” NARRATOR’S VOICE

From the Resources Pack:
– The Three Circles: Inquiry – Drama for Learning – Mantle of the Expert
– Bruner: Three forms of representation – Enactive – Iconic – Symbolic p.18
– Conventions of Dramatic Action [CODA] p.23
– Continuum of Engagement p.26
Edging in using careful language
Dramatic Imagination – Darkness/Light, Sound/Silence, Movement/Stillness
Developing concern – Continuum of Engagement

Saturday – Morning

Conventions of dramatic action

  1. SETTING UP – Something that might be happening on the ward using the forms of DRAMATIC IMAGINATION performed using ENACTIVE – ICONIC – SYMBOLIC
    – Luke suggestions using metaphoric representations
  2. CREATING THE MOMENTS – Groups work together to create the moments, lots of talking, movement, discussion, ideas – PLAYFUL/PRODIGALITY See Circle of Progression
  3. FORESHADOWING – Luke prepares the ground: Luke talks bout how this is going to involve spectators: “We’ll be working to protect people while doing this.”
  4. Luke hands out numbered slips, setting up the order for the activity.
  5. PROTECTING PEOPLE IN – “Group 1 we are coming over… remember these are just first experiments in the work. If you could push your chairs back… stand up please and come over to me… are we ready… Okay, we’re now in the observation room… over to you… DRAMATIC ACTION WORK/PRODIGALITY – see Circle of Progression
  6. A MOMENT ON THE WARD – Group 1 represent the people in the fiction, everyone else observes… representing aspects of human life, this art – MAKE BELIEVE – avoiding using the word pretence/pretending. REPRESENTATION
  7. Discussion about the meaning of the moment INVESTED ACTION – WORK/PARSIMONY – Circle of Progression
  8. Discussion on the use of the conventions, dramatic imagination, Theatre and Drama forms.

From the Resources Pack:
– Bruner: Three forms of representation – Enactive – Iconic – Symbolic p.18
– Conventions of Dramatic Action [CODA] p.23
– Circle of Progression
– Drama and Theatre

Saturday Morning 2

On Drama and Theatre Forms

  1. “You will need a partner to work with…”
  2. Luke puts to small pieces of paper on the floor. “What do you observe… the temptation will be to interpret… but I’m going to ask you just to observe.”
  3. Luke walks between the two pieces of paper and back… Discussion.
  4. “Here it is again, with some additions.” Luke walks slower, stops, rubs his chin, turns, walks back, nods, motions with his finger, pulls his mouth to the side. USE OF SIGN – ELEMENTS OF TENSION – BUILDING CURIOSITY

Animal Rescuers

1 “Can I ask you to think about people who search for and catch escaped animals. What kinds of things do you think they use?”

2. “Please stand up for a moment. I’m going to ask you, just for a moment, to hold the object you are thinking about, as if you were someone with the job of catching an escaped animal. It will only be for a few seconds, ready… go.

3. “Thank you, please take a seat.”

4. “Please take up a piece of paper. Could you very quickly draw a picture of the HQ of these people… I’m only going to give you a few seconds. Starting… now.

5. “Could we just agree where the files are kept of all the jobs we have done in the past. Please put an ‘x’ on your drawing.

6. “Could you now create one file of a piece of work we have done in the past, please write down a quick list – what animal was involved, how did it go missing, where did it happen, etc.”

7. “Could you now create three photos, one you would not let out of the organisation. Two could go public, but one stays inside.” TENSION

8. “I’m going to ask you now to represent the three photos… the third one is the one that stays inside our HQ. 3-2-1… Next one 3-2-1, last one (this is the forbidden one) 3-2-1. Hold it there for a moment… and relax.

9. Group sits back down. “Let’s whizz round the room, that kinds of animals have our team had to deal with in the past?”

10. “In our HQ have we got anywhere where we keep the animals temporarily?”

From the Resources Pack:
TEAM – Responsibilities, powers, routines. p.8
CLIENT – Types, registers, and functions p.9&10
COMMISSION – Outcomes and types p.17
GENERIC TASKS – Tasks and activities p.11

Saturday Afternoon

The Magic Toyshop

  1. Luke asks everyone to stand in a circle around a piece of paper.
  2. “I’m going to ask you to kneel day.” Luke picks up a pen. “I’m going to ask you to take a look at it… [Luke starts drawing an old toy shop]… I’m going to try and get to the state of it currently.” ICONIC REPRESENTATION
  3. “As I continue please talk to your colleagues.”
  4. Luke finishes: “So, what have we got. I heard you talking about its condition…”
  5. “This toy shop is now disused, lots of stories go round the local people… rumour it is a magic shop.
  6. TASK: Group make suggestions using the starters: “In the old days… I’ve heard…” Luke nods and positive non-verbal responses.
  7. “In the next part of this story there is quite an important job to be done, it is coming in the form of a letter… I’m not saying it is real, but I thought I would just read it to you.”
  8. Luke brings over box, keys, and a green felt bag.
  9. Luke reads the letter introducing the client and the situation.
  10. “What do you think?”
  11. “Before we do this we’ll have to make an agreement. In the story she hasn’t sent the letter to us, she has sent it to a group of people who are good at solving mysteries… And I’m someone talking to the Team about the letter.” BRING THE PARTICIPANTS INTO THE FICTION
  12. “Does it sound like there is a mystery here?” DISCUSSION
  13. “Is there anyone who would like to take a look in the box?”
  14. “We just need to find out what we can and let her know…” COMMISSION
  15. Luke watches as the team explore the contents of the box… Key discussed with note… Luke waits… watching…. and waiting… signing interest and thoughtfulness.
  16. “It looks like we’ll need to take the key with us… it was all in this package… I guess it all has something to do with it… I don’t know exactly what…”
  17. “Bucharest it is…


  1. “There is a lot for us to find out, if we’re going to take on this job.” Quick conversation. “What might this mean for us?”
  2. “I’m just wondering… it’s not as straight-forward as we first thought.” IMPLICATIONS
  3. “So, you think it would be useful to speak to this lady? That’s fine, I’ll do my best to find a way of getting in contact with her…” HONOURING THE IDEA, PROMISING TO MAKE IT HAPPEN
  4. “Right, anymore comments on this? Let’s go round…” BACK ON COURSE GIVING LUKE TIME TO PLAN DIVERSION.
  5. Looks like we’re on for this…


  1. “Before we meet the lady I’m going to ask you to do some drawings. Let’s just agree… so what have we got in our building?” TASK – Luke makes a list, collecting ideas and looking for implications: ” Kitchen, what does that say to you?”
  2. TASK: “In your groups, could someone draw out the communications room… someone draw the lab…” Groups set to work.


  1. Adult in Role (AIR) is brought in, sits on a chair. “If we could ask for other voices, who would stand around Mrs Stein… these people would represent the voices of Mrs Stein to help her out…” Three people from the group stand by the AIR to support her. PREPARING THE ROLE
  2. “Right all we need to do now is get into the communications room… and we’ll see what happens. You have some questions you wanted to ask?” PREPARING THE SPACE, FORESHADOWING.
  3. “Could you please construct some questions to ask Mrs Stein.” PREPARING THE QUESTIONS
  4. While the group work on questions Luke talks to the AIR and her helpers to generate a bit of a back-story. Luke has left this open.
  5. While the AIR team work on the back story Luke gathers the rest of the group together and asks them what they imagine they might have been doing just before the meeting starts at 11:00 in the communications room.
  6. Group move into the ENACTIVE mode for a moment then join Luke in the communications room.


  1. “This is the Mystery Team we are all here, we have a few questions and would like this opportunity to talk to you… I’m going to hand you over to the team…”
  2. Q&A inside the fiction with AIR
  3. Luke stops the fiction to talk to the participants… “Did she say a Toy-Maker? Maybe there are other things…”
  4. “Any more questions? And, we’re back…
  5. More Q&A
  6. “Well that’s it, thank you Mrs Stein, lovely to meet you.”

Sunday Morning


  1. Participants gather round…
  2. “What do you notice?” DISCUSSION – PREPARING THE GROUND
  3. “It might be someone who has left the job and gone somewhere… I’d like to run with that.”
  4. Luke asks people to gather around – “For this I’d like to go with people who work with me on this roadworks, people who work with me… I’d like to give you a hint from INSIDE the story. Could I ask you to work together in teams of three and four.”
    TEACHER IN ROLE – “Our work was relay the asphalt, lay the asphalt in the early part of the morning. Well that was the job and it was supposed to be easy.” FORESHADOWING – TENSION
  5. TASK: “I was wondering what was going on on your part of the road?” DISCUSSION IN GROUPS
  6. “Right, let’s set this up. We have the line-laying team here… the asphalt team here… Etc… If you could find some way to organise yourselves… [Luke adds details and helps organise]
  7. ENACTIVE – participants take on the roles while Luke puts on his boots.
  8. “In the time it has taken me to put on my boots we seem to be set up here.”
  9. “Right, you’ll see me walking up the road looking like this. [Luke demonstrates]. So, what could go wrong?” DISCUSSION – USE OF NARRATIVE VOICE
  10. “What is going to transpire is I will be walking over here and talking to colleagues… Alright with that? And, we’re off.”
  11. TASK – CONVENTION 1 Luke walks round talking to groups as they work.
  12. Luke puts his hands on his head, talks to the groups about a giant hole that has opened in the road.
  13. Workers come together around the white sheet and discuss in role what might have caused the hole.


Preparing the ground – developing inquiry.
Inquiry Questions – Resources Pack p.6


Keep up-to-date with the latest news and projects.

Mailing List