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Bringing the Curriculum to Life: Mantle of the Expert

14th Mar 2014

One of the primary questions parents consider when selecting a school is ‘Will my child be happy in this environment?’ As part of this process it is inevitable that parents must also consider what will be taught and how it will be delivered. Our philosophy on teaching and learning is to Make Learning Matter and puts child interest at the heart of learning through purposeful and meaningful learning opportunities. Over the past few weeks we have featured videos showing our Viking Project coming to life as the children in Reception and Year 1 have taken part in an exciting Mantle of the Expert inquiry this term. The Mantle of the Expert is a pedagogy for teaching and learning which encourages children to get involved with their learning through the development of realistic learning contexts, to focus, and to work collaboratively. As a conceptualised learning approach, Mantle of the Expert’ (MOE) was created in the mid 1970s by the inspirational and internationally renowned educator, Dorothy Heathcote. The approach emerged from Heathcote’s wish to ‘find a way of opening doors for children (…) to take a degree of responsibility for their own learning’. To see Dorothy Heathcote in action we welcome you to view the short film, Three Looms Waiting: Based on the ideas of developing speaking, listening and communication skills through the use of Drama for learning, in a Mantle of the Expert, a fictional world is created in which the children all have roles as an expert in a particular field, linked to the curriculum objectives and context of the inquiry. As a Responsible Team, who have been commissioned to take part in a project, the inquiry theme and context developed by the teacher creates a reason for doing the learning in the minds of the learners, rather than a directive for learning decided by the teacher. This means that learning can be co-constructed and in turn gives learners more responsibility for and ownership over their learning. Almost any area of the curriculum can be taught through a Mantle of the Expert, and the demands placed on the Responsible Team as they work towards the successful completion of the commission project, not only provides powerful learning opportunities for children to write and express their ideas and opinions but also creates the conditions for the completion of curriculum objectives and outcomes. To see for yourself our Mantle Projects in action, we invite you to please take a look at the following video on our YouTube page: For more information on the Mantle of the Expert visit: www.mantleoftheexpert.com For a more detailed overview of why we use the Mantle of the Expert please click here.

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