Mantle of the expert journey

This is another of my ventures in my classroom. A little while ago a colleague asked me if I would be interested in the mantle of the expert. At this time I had no idea what he was talking about. He showed me a book I could read if I was interested and then left me with it.

I started to read “The Mantle of The Expert” and the more I read the more interested I was in this process. A few weeks later my colleague and I met up again. I began to question him in relation to this concept. The more we talked the more I wanted to try this out. It sounded like a very exciting and engaging way to introduce topics to the students and get them engaged.

The simple explanation for this process is that we harness the students ability to play. We recognise that students often pretend to be adults when at play. Mantle of the expert capitalises in this concept by introducing students to the world of the adult under the umbrella of being experts in a given field. In our mantle of the experts the students have been employed as a development animation team. They are to create an animated advertisement for the book Rowan of Rin by Emily Rodda.

I decided to give no warning of what was happening. I turned up to pick up the students in role as a recruitment HR personnel. Who invited the students into a group employment information session. I had set up my classroom with the chairs in rows and moved the tables to the back of the room. When I spoke to the students I treated them as adults ie calling them ma’am and sir. As the HR personnel I gave a quick run down of the company and the reason they were there.

The students were confused at first as this is not what they would have ever expected from me. I gave out employment application forms to those that were interested in being part of the company. Those who chose not to be, I had other work for them to go on with until they decided to be part of the game. (which they eventually did)

I came out of role to explain to the students we were pretending but would have a real job to do. We set about developing the rules for the game. At this point I took on an advisory role so the students could take ownership for most of the game.

My colleague and I met to discuss the first session. We were team teaching this from two different aspects. Mine was from the content and company and his was the arts professional development. We discovered the lack of organisation and group management skills the students had. You could be forgiven to think that students in year 4 would be able to organise themselves and manage a group, had they not been doing this in rotations activities else where in the classroom for the past 3 years?

Once past the social justice, group management and time management skills we are now onto the nitty gritty of the mantle, the commission or job. The students will be introduced to the task they must perform. We chose to use another staff member to help us out with being the face of the client. They will pop in from time to time to get an up date on our progress.

Stay tuned for more on our mantle as we progress.

Thanks Tammie

Another week of mantle.

The students recieved the comission for their first job. The way that I set this up was I organised with another coolleague to deliver a letter from another company to the secertary of our company. The secartary opened and read the letter. I also organised with the same colleague to have copies of the letter ready for each section of our company.

Each group got a copy of the letter and examined it in accordance with their groups prospctive. They then got to work on the Professional Development needed by their group. I took on the role of creative consultant and trainer. I would in hindsight got some of the team leaders to seek out Professional development for their team.

I have been reading about habits of the mind and realised that these habits along with mindseting are very important to the process of mantle of the expert. Without these this process could fall flat. These habits and mindsets provide for a rich experience for both the student and the teacher.

Thanks for joining me for another update.


Another week of mantle of the expert. We have moved to working on the skills needed to compete the commission. What is expected, deadlines and organising the workloads in the project groups.

The groups are finding it challenging to organise themselves and work productively. We have introduced a work diary where the team leader writes notes of the achievements of the group. This is then fed back to the group in a staff meeting. We discuss ways forward and impending deadlines.

We have modelled what happens when a team is ineffective. This was very powerful for the students to see the frustration of others when they are not doing their job. We also watched a YouTube video called the cart. This showed the different types of people in an ineffective team and the impact they have on the overall performance of the team.

We have set up a calendar of events so that everyone knows when things are due and what is coming up. The students are responsible for making sure the events are up to date and they are consistently checking the calendar.

Students have been advised to report unsatisfactory work ethics to ‘HR’ via email. This is then investigated and discussed. This has seen the students take the mantle more seriously and understand the real life implications.

Thanks for joining me for another update.

Another week of mantle

This week seen some unrest in the company with the impending visit from the commission author. The students realised they were behind and could not see a way to resolve the issue. We had s staff meeting to discuss the issues and come up with a solution. It was discovered that some teams had created a competition for their part of the process. They discovered that this was holding up the rest of the company. They discussed what could be done. This resulted in a new department being created. The animaters. The groups started to work together instead of as separate entities.

It was hard to stand back and let the students fail, knowing what they needed to do. However after allowing this to happen it was more powerful for them. They were able to use problem solving, critical thinking and higher order thinking to look at the issues and arrive at a possible solution.

In one of our episodes the power went out. It was interesting to see the students cope with this. It meant they needed to work on the paperwork. They all decided to help out the storyboarders. This moved the project along.

Thanks for joining me for another update.


Another week of Mantle.

After the power went out and the impending visit from the author of the commission, the students have begun to look at the problems, issues and goals of the company and work groups differently. They have begun to see how they have been unsuccessful and are now trying new ways to meet the goals and expectations of the mantle. They have realised that each group is not able to work in isolation but rather as parts of a large group. They are slowly beginning to re-organise themselves and communicate in other ways.

Thanks for joining me for another up date.


Another week of mantle.

The commission has really taken off this week. We have made a lot of progress. One of the groups have split in two. They decided they needed animators as well as Model creators.

The story boards have begun to communicate more with the modellers and animators. They have realised that they need to add more detail to their storyboards.

Having the team leaders feedback to the class about their progress for the day and Where they are going next has been very powerful. This has sparked discussion amongst the class to assist each group when they are having issues. The development of a shared calendar has helped the groups with deadlines and Knowing when they are scheduled to meet with HR.

Thanks for joining me for another up date.


Another week of mantle.

The mantle is drawing to a close. Most of the work has been done on the sample animation. The students are feeling very proud of their work and the effort they have put in.

The students have asked to take the project an other step further by producing an advertisement for their animation.

Thanks for joining me for another up date.


The end at the mantle.

The students finished polishing their work and presented it to the Commissioner. They were very pleased with the out come. They were also able to produce a draft of a trailer for the animation.

They used students from the class to play the characters added music and dramatic effect. The draft was very impressive. what was more impressive was the way the students took control of their own learning. They required no prompting from me and could articulate the features used in the trailer and why they used them. Very little explicit teaching was required.


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