'Mantle of the Expert' motivates children to learn about the real world through imaginative participation in a fictional context. The approach enables students, in the role of experts, to co-create learning with teachers and each other by working on a series of tasks within an imagined world.
Children intuitively know how to use their imaginations to explore the world around them. Mantle of the Expert (MoE) taps into this knowledge, enabling the teacher to create fictional contexts through which students can study the whole curriculum, developing and honing appropriate skills in the process. Based on the theory and practice of drama pioneer Dorothy Heathcote, the approach has been in use and under development by teachers, schools and educationalists for decades. It continues to evolve.
The book explores several contexts based on tried-and -tested projects such as the creation of an Animal Park, based on Anthony Browne's Zoo and exploration of the wreck of the Titanic, with dozens of cross-curricular suggestions throughout.
Importantly, MoE is not about creating simulations, but contexts where children fully understand that they are not really experts. They are able to intellectually move from inside (taking on the roles of park rangers) to outside the fiction (finding out about animals and their needs). The teacher supports the process by providing resources as necessary and guiding the process to enable reflection and decision-making.
Taylor's book lays out the theory and practice in crystal-clear detail, with plenty of intriguing examples, to create a step-by-step guide which doubles as an inspirational go-to manual for any teacher. The captivating full-page colour photographs illustrate just how engaging the process is for students. This book goes to the root of the relationship between children and learning and sets out a brave yet accessible approach that all schools should be made aware of.