Mantle of the Expert: an introduction by Paul Gibbins

paul gibbinsMantle of the Expert is a teaching strategy that gives children practice at real life situations through the creations of fictionalised scenarios.  It is particularly effective at engaging pupils in activities which give purpose to reading, writing, speaking and listening.  It offers numerous opportunities for assessment for learning and was highly commended by Paul Black as an effective teaching approach. It also allows for meaningful progression for MAT learners.

Core elements of the ‘Mantle of the Expert’ approach to Learning

Adapted from:

Heathcote, D. & Bolton, G. (1995). Drama for Learning: Dorothy Heathcote’s Mantle of the Expert

Approach to Education. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann USA

  • The learners gradually take on responsibility for running an enterprise in a fictional world
  • The learners care enough about the long-term goals of a fictional client that they engage in activities through which they begin to imagine the fictional world
  • Learners and teacher together:
  • interact predominantly as ‘themselves’
  • imagine that they are interacting as experts who run the enterprise
  • imagine that they are interacting as other people in the fictional world with whom the experts are concerned
  • Over time, the pupils engage in activities that at the same time are both curriculum tasks and that would be professional practices
  • in the fictional enterprise
  • The teacher must share power to position the students

(individually and collectively) as knowledgeable and competent colleagues and ensure that children position one another similarly

  • The children must reflect to make meaning.

For more information on Mantle of the Expert visit the website:

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