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Child’s play: a way into learning

14th August 2018

This blog was first published as Chapter 5 - Imaginary Worlds in 'A Beginner's Guide to Mantle of the Expert' This chapter is about how imaginary play, something children seem to do universally, can be adapted and applied to create engaging contexts for learning. In particular, we will look at the way language operates as the primary mechanism in this process, and how shifting in and out of the fiction can be used to generate student interest in curriculum activities and a sense of purpose to their learning. When I first started using Mantle of the Expert I struggled to...
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Planning for concern

23rd June 2018

By Chris Frame - Year 4/5 teacher at Dogmersfield Primary, Hampshire. In co-constructing an island kingdom, we captured the interest of the children in my class. It was their island and they have taken ownership of the stories that are told on it. The paranoid Queen captured their attention and they wanted to find out what she would do. They were motivated by the intrigue that had been created and they wanted to know what the Queen would do and what stories would be told. The aim is to discuss the nature of obedience. Should you obey a Queen whose decrees are based...

Exploration – A metaphor for curriculum study

7th April 2018

For many years in education the dominant metaphor for describing curriculum study has been ‘coverage’. But coverage is the wrong way to talk about how learning happens, and it fails to grasp the long (and sometimes arduous) process of studying, assimilating, and meaning-making that is required by students to develop a genuine understanding of curriculum content. Covering is easy, but learning is hard. It takes time and effort and requires purposeful application on the part of the learner. Simply doing something is not enough: purposeful learning requires effort and dedication. is doesn’t mean it has to be boring (plenty of...
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Mantle of the Expert in Brazil: Developments and Future Plans

17th February 2018

By Roberta Luchini Boschi Since 2010, when I first heard of Mantle of the Expert (MoE) during my Master’s in London, I have been reading, researching, applying and developing skills related to this approach. My background is in education, but theatre and drama have always been a very important part of my daily life. My first training in MoE was with Dorothy Heathcote and, after that, I had another training session with Palestinian teachers in the UK again led by Dorothy. I had the honour of interviewing Dorothy for over two hours for my dissertation and have also followed Luke Abbott...
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Education should be related with transformation rather than information only

By Jan Buley In her keynote address on creativity for the London Borough of Redbridge in 1999, Heathcote compares the schools to beehives, “and the cells and types of workers which, are many and various”. She continues by elaborating on her concern over the uniformity that seems to prevail in many schools. Heathcote quotes Sir Edward Hall’s belief that “Education should be related with transformation rather than information only.” She laments, as many teachers do, the sheer quantity of a day in a typical classroom, with divided subject materials, divided thinking and divided human brains. In short, Heathcote’s approach to...
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The Artistic Value of Mantle of the Expert

4th February 2018

Dorothy Heathcote’s dramatic-inquiry approach to teaching and learning – a Belgian Research Project By Bob Selderslaghs ABSTRACT: This article gives an insight on the first results of a Belgian Research Project where Bob Selderslaghs examines the artistic value of the Mantle of the Expert approach in a Flemish primary school. He focuses on artistic roles that students can adopt while studying the curriculum Introduction In Flanders, the Dutch speaking part of Belgium, we like to show off our international level of education. The government as well as the media tend to announce and emphasize that we belong to the absolute...

Mantle of the Expert in Aoteaora New Zealand

28th January 2018

A personal perspective from Viv Aitken Visit the New Zealand Mantle of the Expert website New Zealand has a long association with the work of Dorothy Heathcote, after her visits in the 1980s inspired many to implement her methods in their classrooms. The subject society set up at the time of these visits, now called Drama New Zealand, continues to support and represent teachers today. In New Zealand we have a curriculum framework that was introduced in 2000 with a significant revision in 2007 and further updates in 2017* I think we sometimes forget how liberating it is to be...

Mantle of the Expert in Greece

…then Mantle of the Expert came along… English as a foreign language (Efl) has been incorporated in Greek Primary Education since 1985. Working as an Efl teacher for the past twenty four years has given me the opportunity to teach students of various socio cultural backgrounds, age groups, and learning styles in a number of practice contexts. My students have always been learners with unique personalities, eager to communicate in a new language despite their different learning profiles. To my realization over the years, they have always been confronted with school books and teaching practices that deprived them from the...
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Romans and Us

27th January 2018

By Debra Kidd I taught a Year 4 class yesterday with lots of teachers watching. It’s like Triple-Ofsted. I’d talked the talk with these teachers and Hywel Roberts and now it was time to walk the walk. I was fairly terrified, it’s safe to say. Year 4 were looking at a topic called “Beyond” which was going to incorporate work on the Romans. I sat down on Sunday with a cup of tea and thought about what to do. My teaching has low resourcing. I don’t need much more than a couple of images, masking tape and post it notes....
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Mantle of the Expert as a route to irresistible learning and transformative teaching

16th January 2018

Luke Abbott This article is an attempt to re-imagine the professional positioning of schooling, learning and teaching by offering an account of approaches adopted by 'Mantle of the Expert' practitioners. In the past decade a new and transformative learning and teaching approach has emerged among those who hold fast to learner-led values within a community of practitioners. The inventor, Professor Dorothy Heathcote, (1) termed the method: ‘Mantle of the Expert’. This title carries a mystical feel, off putting to some. However, it is under the sign of this homey set of words that a counter process can be enabled in...
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Mantle of the Expert, and other Dramatic Pedagogies at The Ohio State University, USA

Prof. Brian Edmiston We don’t think there’s any other university department in the world with two faculty members who studied with Dorothy Heathcote. Brian Edmiston and Pat Enciso have their master’s degrees from Newcastle University, are married, and are both still using dramatic pedagogy in their professional lives both in classrooms with school-aged students and in their courses as Professors in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Ohio State! Brian Edmiston is Professor of Drama in Education. He works primarily with classroom teachers who are graduate students. A former secondary and elementary classroom teacher he’s published four books (most...
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Mantle of the Expert at Sussex University

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...
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Dorothy Heathcote’s Mantle of the Expert

6th January 2018

Dorothy Heathcote died in October 2011 at the age of 85. Although an academic for most of her life, first at Durham and then at Newcastle, Heathcote continued to teach in classrooms almost up until the year she died. For her, teaching was an art, practised in the “service of a process of change” where classrooms are “laboratories… contributing to the welfare of the local community and the environment.” She hated the idea that schooling denied children social status, requiring them “to feel useless, to exist in a limbo of learning which relied solely on the de-functioning maxim that ‘one...
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Teaching Using The Circle of Progression

2nd January 2018

Ever since I first opened Dorothy Heathcote and Gavin Bolton’s 1995 book “Drama for Learning” I have been intrigued by the diagram on page 61 entitled, ‘The Circle of Progression’… Almost religious in design this icon reminds me of a compass or the astrolabe from the title sequence of Game of Thrones. There is something arcane and enigmatic about it, and it only takes a little imagination to see it carved into the stone doorway of a tomb or painted in stained glass above the altar of a church. This impression is amplified further by the strange, esoteric words placed...

Play as a medium for learning

29th May 2017

Earlier this week Tom Bennett published an article in Guardian Education, called 'Play is essential, but it takes work for children to succeed in the real world'. In this article, Tom made the case that 'learning through play' is a "powerful vehicle for "folk" learning - the basic components of understanding reality. But is not so great once you want to do anything beyond that." His argument makes four points. First, you need a teacher to learn anything beyond self-discovery. Second, learning requires hard work. Third, learning is often unpleasant. Fourth, there is a danger of learning through play becoming trivial. Now, Tom is...

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