The Mantle of the Expert

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By Celia Powellguest editor and Year 1 teacher

Celia Powell and her colleagues wanted to revolutionise the way they teach. Their idea? To adopt an enterprise that each class can run

Teachers plan their mantle

Teachers at Celia’s schools plan their ‘Mantles’

‘We’re finding out about loads of things that other people will need to know too’. This quote came from a Year 3 child at a meeting to introduce parents (some rather doubtful) to the Mantle of the Expert scheme that St Edward’s School has been piloting since the beginning of term.

As I began to see the smiles of relief appearing on their faces, I realised how much I had been hoping that we could make them understand how exciting we were all finding the new way of teaching. Not to mention how much difference it has made to the development of independent learning and thinking skills in our school.

The idea is that each class has an enterprise to run – it may be commercial (my Year 1 class are a toy shop and factory – see ‘Santa’s workshop’ on pages 17-22) or a large institution such as a health centre or hospital. Our Year 3 class is a World War 2 museum, and Year 2 are a troubleshooting employment agency. In this way, every child becomes an expert in their field and passes on what they have been learning. ‘Clients’ contact the children via telephone messages, email or personal visits (anyone in role can do this). The children then take on the responsibility of researching, problem solving, passing on information and generally becoming involved in a big picture.

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