What I Have Learnt About Mantle of the Expert So Far

29th June 2019

By Nicole Winter This blog is from the final assignment of the NEU Mantle of the Expert programme 2018/19 Be authentic This is absolutely number one.  Dorothy’s statement of Mantle being about ‘a man in a mess,’ rings in my ears every time I do Mantle and drama for learning.  I want the children to feel and experience the fiction, rather than just pretend within it. Being authentic means going deep and slowing down.  When planning, it is so tempting to lay out a whole host of tasks to be undertaken as part of the commission and have grand plans for...

The Three ‘Voices’ of Teaching Mantle of the Expert

3rd May 2019

By Tim Taylor Many people ask about the use of language in Mantle of the Expert, in particular the language used to move the students in and out of the fiction. This is one of the key ingredients of the approach and something I very well remember struggling with when I first started. In general terms there are ‘three voices’ used in this approach – facilitator, teacher in role, and narrator. These voices are the mechanisms we can use to create the fiction, bring the students (and out), and develop activities for thinking and learning. 1.1 The facilitator’svoice is the...

NEU Mantle of the Expert Programme Weekend 3

9th March 2019

March 2019 Hurricane Sequence in the expressive mode - technique: Physical Theatre 1. Imagine yourself as an object on the island that could be affected by the hurricane. [Commitment/Demand 4] 2. Just for a minute represent yourself as an object just before the storm. [Teacher Compass - 1st Quartile] 3. How might a hurricane affect a rive? [2nd quartile] 4. I’m going to ask the river to join me… Here we are as the two main forces water and wind. (Luke stands opposite Ben on either side of the room with the rest of the group between them). 5. If...

The way children look at art

1st January 2019

This short blog is about a video clip from a BBC documentary made in 1972 by John Berger called, "Ways of Seeing". You can view the whole series on YouTube, but in this extract Berger talks to a group of children who are looking at a painting by Caravaggio. Berger's reason for this is to point out how children's experiences of art are often purer (some would say more naive) than adults, especially those educated in art appreciation. Berger's observation is important, as it is obvious what we gain from education, but what do we lose in the process? Kieran...

Mantle of the Expert in an Icelandic classroom

22nd December 2018

By Viv Aitken Originally posted on Mantle of the Expert, Aotearoa This time, Hākon and Viv discuss a whole lot of things, including possibilities for introducing the key tension and challenges of avoiding ‘deceit’. The conversation finishes with Hākon reflecting on the whole experience and what he has learned. This post includes some photos of the children’s work, which really show the detail and care as they worked and reworked their maps for the city designs. Thanks for permission to share this material and share your journey with us, Hākon – it’s been great! Click here to read more...

Collaborative Questioning

21st December 2018

By Tim Taylor Questioning is the lifeblood of teaching. As Morgan and Saxton observed, “Education is a process of inquiry and questions are the chief agents by which meanings are mediated.” [Asking Better Questions, 2006] Being able to ask a perceptive question, followed by one that probes a little deeper, and another that gets to the heart of the matter, while at the same time bringing the students along with no feelings of anxiety or of being interrogated – this is the art of great teaching. In collaborative teaching, the teacher endeavours to work with the students, developing lines of...

Managing classroom behaviour in Mantle of the Expert

20th December 2018

By Tim Taylor Behaviour is one of the biggest concerns for teachers new to Mantle of the Expert. The three most frequently asked questions are: “How can I control my class if I’m treating them as experts?” “Doesn’t this approach mean I have to follow everything the children say?” “What can I do if the children misbehave?” Let’s look at each in turn. “How will I be able to control my class if I’m treating them as experts?” Remember, they are only experts in the fiction. In the real world they are still themselves. So if your class is one...

Learning through dramatic experiences

23rd November 2018

By Luke Abbott An account of a reworked Heathcotian experiment conducted in Birmingham in 1982. A short paper by Luke Abbott for students in year 1 Qattan Drama Summer School 2015 Jaresh Jordan. [Dear Colleagues, In this paper I outline the structure we used for our experiments into process drama and the long term mantle of the expert plan deployed with you as year 1 students this summer. In doing so, I am attempting to tackle some of the misconceptions you raised regarding MoE and process drama practices in learning environments that span long term goals, as well as short...

Mind your language – High Challenge, Low Threat

5th October 2018

Mind your language - Using language to reduce threat and increase participation in the classroom Tim Taylor In her book ‘High Challenge, Low Threat’ Mary Myatt talks about the paradox of safety, that is the safer people feel the more likely they are to take reasonable risks and act reasonably. And, conversely, the less safe they feel the more defensive they become and the less likely they are to stick their neck out. The truth of this observation is everywhere we look and evident in our own lives. Without having to search my mind vault for long, I can recall...

Generating student concern for learning

29th September 2018

Tim Taylor In my mid-twenties I spent some time working in Madrid. The job, like many that young people do with an itch to live abroad, was teaching English as a foreign language. On the whole it was pretty dull, I spent most of my time travelling across the city to teach one-to-one tutorials with lawyers, accountants, and executives who wanted to brush up on their conversational English. But one session stood out unlike any of the others and I found myself looking forward to it every week. The session was on a Saturday morning with a small group of...

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...

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...

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...

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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