Imagine you are an expert: one of a team of scientists exploring a jungle-covered island, say, or an archaeologist opening the tomb of an ancient Egyptian king. What information would you need? What knowledge and skills? What responsibilities? What powers? What research would you do? How would you communicate your findings? And what if something went wrong? These are the kinds of challenges faced by experts.
Children can’t be experts in the real world, of course, so they can’t face these challenges. But in a fictional world, a world of the imagination, they can take on the role of experts, and experience being in charge, making decisions, and bearing responsibility.
Welcome to Mantle of the Expert, a teaching and learning approach that uses drama and inquiry to generate fictional contexts and give children this experience.
In A Beginner’s Guide to Mantle of the Expert, Tim Taylor guides the reader through both the broad concepts behind the approach and the detailed steps within it. Drawing on years of experience in the classroom, he gives examples, shares anecdotes, and reassures newcomers to Mantle of the Expert that success is within reach.
For children, Mantle of the Expert brings meaning and purpose to their studies, closing the gap between the classroom and real life. And for teachers, it creates the opportunity to explore curriculum content in a way that makes the children’s work important, urgent and interesting. It doesn’t teach children everything and it’s not an approach to use all day, every day. But for making the curriculum meaningful, interesting, and purposeful, Mantle of the Expert is a wonderful way to learn.