The Mantle of the Expert
Drama and role play have a unique contribution to make to creativity. The technique called Mantle of the Expert, developed in the 1980s by Dorothy Heathcote, originally a drama teacher and later of the University of Newcastle, uses an approach to learning sometimes referred to as a ‘community of enquiry’, where children take on the responsibility for running an enterprise in a fictional world, through which knowledge, skills and understanding are developed. The approach uses drama as a basis for a pedagogy rooted in the belief that children will learn best when their motivation and engagement are fostered, and treats the children as though they were experts in a particular field. They metaphorically put on the ‘mantle’ of an expert within a dramatic context that provides the basis for their learning. As well as fulfilling the requirements of the National Curriculum, using the Mantle approach offers not only a wealth of creative possibilities, but also a particular opportunity for children to develop both imagination and empathy, and to take account of many of the constituents of the social and emotional aspects of learning (SEAL).