At Our Lady of Hartley, many of our foundation subjects and lessons are delivered using an approach called Mantle of the Expert.
The Mantle of the Expert is a dramatic-inquiry based approach to teaching and learning invented and developed by Professor Dorothy Heathcote at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in the 1980’s. The main idea is that the class do all their curriculum work as if they are an imagined group of experts.
They might be scientists in a laboratory or archaeologists excavating a tomb, or a rescue team at the scene of a disaster. They might be running a removal company, or a factory, or a shop, or a space station or a French resistance group.
Because they behave ‘as if they are experts’, the children are working from a specific point of view as they explore their learning and this brings special responsibilities, language needs and social behaviours.
The children are not putting on a play or running a business. They just have to imagine themselves as a group of scientists, archaeologists or librarians with jobs and responsibilities.
Through these activities and tasks, the children take on the same kinds of responsibilities, problems and challenges that real archaeologists, scientists and librarians might do in the real world. This experience help extend thier understanding of the wider issues and teaches them vital life skills such as listening to others, negotiating and problem solving.
As a school we try to have at least one aspect of the topic which can be handled with an Mantle of the Expert approach.
in the 2014-15 academic year, children within the school found themselves in a wide variety of different situations that required a variety of skills and knowledge to overcome lots of difficulties.
Early in the year, whilst working for an archeology firm, the Year 4 class unearthed a previousy undiscovered roman road in the school grounds.
The Year 1 and 2 children were asked to create a brand new museum dedicated to Charles Dickens and Queen Victoria including a a replica school for part of a museum exhibition.