We believe that all children should be inspired to learn through a rich, meaningful curriculum. We therefore use three approaches that not only motivate and engage children in their learning but also develops their ability to apply, reason, question and problem solve at a very high level.
These approaches are:
➢ Mantle of the Expert
➢ Project based learning
➢ Rich text immersion
Mantle of the Expert
The Mantle of the Expert is a dramatic-inquiry based approach to teaching and learning invented and developed by Professor Dorothy Heathcote at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in the 1980’s. The big idea is that the class do all their curriculum work as if they are an imagined group of experts.
They might be scientists in a laboratory or palaeontologists excavating dinosaurs, or a extreme explorers on an expedition to Antarctica. They might be running a removal company, or a factory, or a shop, or a space station or a care home for the elderly.
Because they behave ‘as if they are experts’, the children are working from a specific point of view as they explore their learning and this brings special responsibilities, language needs and social behaviours.
The children are not putting on a play or running a business. They are simply being asked to agree, for a time, to imagine themselves as a group of scientists, archaeologists or librarians with jobs and responsibilities.
Through activities and tasks, the children gradually take on some of the same kinds of responsibilities, problems and challenges that real archaeologists, scientists and librarians might do in the real world. Our children have taken part in the following Mantle of the Expert teams:
At Oakwood we have had the opportunity to work with leading experts in Mantle of the Expert and this has enabled our teachers and teaching assistants to become highly skilled in using this innovative and inspiring approach to learning. If you would like to find out more about Mantle of the Expert click here.
Project Based Learning
At Oakwood we believe that there should be a clear context for learning and that children should understand the purpose for learning new skills and knowledge. We therefore provide opportunities for real-life project based learning for all children at least once a year. This may involve contributing to local plans for the village, researching and understanding local wildlife or projects that are relevant to the school or community.
Rich Text Immersion
All of the children’s work is supported by the opportunity to engage with rich children’s literature. Each year the children have the opportunity to study a rich text in depth and immerse themselves in the language, composition and structure of the book. This is supported by the opportunity to express the story through the creative arts such as art and design, music and dance.