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 their 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 a Mantle of the Expert approach.
During the 2019-20 school year, the children have developed a variety of skills and overcome lots of challenges presented to them in their role as 'experts'.
Year 5, as museum designers, developed a range of engaging and interactive activities to help children across the school learn about life in ancient Greece.
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.