Mantle of the Expert is an education approach that uses imaginary contexts to generate purposeful and engaging activities for learning.
Mantle of the Expert works by the teacher planning a fictional context where the students take on the responsibilities of an expert team. As the team, they are commissioned by a client to work on an assignment, which has been planned to generate tasks and activities that will involve them in studying and developing wide areas of the curriculum.
For example, a class of students are cast as a team of archaeologists excavating an Egyptian tomb for the Cairo Museum. To complete the commission the students will need to research ancient Egyptian history – finding out about tombs, artefacts, and rituals – and, in the process, will study wide areas of the curriculum including, history, geography, art, design and RE, as well as developing skills in reading, writing, problem solving, and inquiry. Mantle of the Expert is not designed to teach the entire curriculum, all the time, but is rather an approach to be used selectively by the teacher along with a range of other methods.
At Ysgol Cefn Meiriadog we follow the Mantle of the Expert approach in all of our Literacy and Topic work. The children work with their teachers to decide on a theme and staff then work with the children to develop their work through Mantle.
Both staff and pupils love Mantle of the Expert and we are looking forward to finding out where we are all going next on our journeys!
For more information please visit:
An example of a Mantle at Ysgol Cefn Meiriadog
Our Mantle topic this term is....Bones
After returning to school after the Summer holiday, the children in classes 1 and 2 received a voice recording from Mrs Evans' husband. He explained to the children that during the Summer, Mrs Evans had some work done to the garden. Whilst the work was complete, something was found! Mr Evans asked the children to help him discover what on earth had been found. The children were very excited and agreed to become an expert team of archaeologists. They agreed to keep Mr Evans informed via email when they had anything to report.
The first job was to design a logo that would represent our expert team. Each child then voted for their favourite logo, using tally marks.
The children decided together that it would be best to take a closer look at what had been found in the garden. We shared our ideas but made sure we listened carefully to out friends too. We decided that they looked quite like bones! But who did these bones belong to? Some children from Year 2 emailed Mr Evans to let him know our initial thoughts and explained we would be in touch with more information. This allowed children to develop their ICT skills.
We could not decide who these bones may belong to! Some children thought it could be dinosaurs, some thought it could be an animal. Our next step was to complete some measurements on these bones, there appeared to be different sizes and shapes. So all children set to measuring. We had to come out of the story and practise out measuring skills in order to complete this task. Children in Reception and Year 1 used the cubes to measure and make comparisons and Year 2 children learnt how to measure accurately using standard units.
After measuring the bones, we came to the conclusion that these could not be dinosaur bones because they were too small. We thought we should find out more about our own bodies to see if they could belong to a human- hopefully not!! We stepped out of our story to complete some very important research. Many skills were developed through this task. Children had to use their reading skills, we learnt about fiction and non-fiction texts and we even created our own class information book all about our bodies. We also worked together and had to respect each other and listen to each other's thoughts. All this, whilst finding out so much information!
At this point we decided that it would be a good point to update Mr Evans via email. We explained that we were happy that these bones probably belonged to some sort of animal and there was no need to worry. Mr Evans wrote emails back, thanking the children for their help.
During our time outside of the story we completed lots of activities to help us find out about ourselves. We made our own skeletons, we used the computers to paint ourselves, looking closely at our features. We celebrated the fact that we are all so different and unique. We also used our numeracy skills to measure our selves and find out who was the tallest.