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...

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....

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...

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...

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...

Dorothy Heathcote’s Mantle of the Expert

6th January 2018

Dorothy Heathcote's Mantle of the Expert Tim Taylor 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...

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...

Working collaboratively in the classroom

14th May 2017

There is a great deal of discussion about classroom management and how relationships should operate between the teacher and the students in the classroom. In Dorothy Heathcote’s view the classroom should be a ‘laboratory for learning’ where the students and the teacher work together on tasks that are important and urgent in the ‘now’ of the imaginary world. I find this an interesting challenge. While acknowledging that power can never be authentically equal between children and adults in a school environment, I believe we can go a long way towards making our classrooms more collaborative. The following is an extract...

Preparing the Ground for Planting Knowledge

6th May 2017

Tim Taylor Before planting the seeds in her garden, a gardener will turn over the soil, pick out the stones and weeds, water the ground, and do whatever she can to ensure that, once they are planted, her seeds will flourish and grow. As everyone knows, seeds thrown on hard stony ground are unlike to prosper. Some might take root and find their way below the surface, but most will struggle and many will die. Planting knowledge in the minds of our students is a bit like the work of a gardener, it requires planning and the careful preparation of...

The Three Modes of Teaching

9th March 2017

Following a recent discussion after reading Lee Donaghy's blog, 'Building ‘abstract generalisations’ to help yr 8 write like historians', I started to wonder if some of the disagreements we have on teaching methods are to do with a 'misalignment' of terms. By which I mean that we seem to have different meanings for the names we use to describe different teaching methods and confuse or conflate one with another. This seems to be particular true of 'inquiry' and 'discovery', which are often used interchangeably. To my mind they are quite different, since Discovery is about giving space to the students...

Thoughts on a TES ad

29th January 2017

While reading the fervent exchanges on EdTwitter surrounding the advert in the TES for a ‘Director of Detention’, I am reminded of the argument made by Jonathon Haidt in his book, ‘The Righteous Mind’. Haidt proposes good people are divided by politics and religion. We all have moral ‘taste buds’ which go a long way to guiding our responses to any particular issue, particularly ones that violently clash with or closely align with our own internal morality. He describes the moral mind as being “like a tongue with six taste receptors” - care/harm, fairness/cheating, loyalty/betrayal, authority/subversion, sanctity/degradation, and liberty/oppression. These...

The Paradox of Mantle of the Expert: “How can children be experts?”

24th January 2017

Tim Taylor This extract is from, "A Beginner's Guide to Mantle of the Expert" On the face of it Mantle of the Expert seems to involve a paradox: how can we expect children to be experts when they know so little? Doesn’t being an expert require long years of dedicated study, experience, and reflective practice? Won’t asking children to think and act like experts be a silly pretence and a waste of valuable teaching time? This is a serious objection and if you are intending to use Mantle of the Expert you need to be clear in your own mind...

Using a painting to start an inquiry

16th January 2017

Over the weekend I read an excellent blog by Harry Fletcher-Wood called, ‘Starting a Lesson With Initial Stimulus Material’. Harry’s blog got me thinking about how I use images with students as a way to generate thinking, grab their interest, and communicate knowledge. This blog is my response. Harry uses three examples of images to illustrate his approach; the second is this one of Henry VII. Harry suggests we could start by asking the students to make inferences: “What can you tell about Henry VII from this painting?” He calls this a ‘classic starter’ but warns of its limitations, “…examples...


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

Mailing List