Check out the latest copy of SET (NZCER’s research journal for teachers) – it is in most school staffrooms – as it features an article all about Mantle of the Expert! The article was written by Deb F, Viv F, Graham P and Barb W and talks about how MOTE was used in three primary classrooms. We have already had some interested responses from teachers who have read the article and want to know more!

The whole journal is well worth a read. It is devoted to inquiry and integration.

Another stimulating offering from TED talks.

This one is given by Simon Baron Cohen – renowned developmental physchologist from Cambridge university. The video is not about drama per se. Rather, Baron Cohen gives us useful new way of thinking about how empathy works. I particularly enjoyed his distinction between cognitve and affective forms of empathy. You will end up quoting this one in the staffroom. Enjoy! 

The latest Ed Gazette (15th August) includes a feature on secondary teachers using innovative approaches to support learning in their classroom. Gaenor Stoate of Spotswood College talks about how Mantle of the Expert has been successfully incorporated in her school’s Performing Arts programme. Read more here….


Thanks to Gaenor Stoate for drawing this article to our attention. It will be of particular interest to secondary English and drama teachers. A lovely account of MOTE used to engage and empower unwilling students at a more senior level.

Check out the student’s incredibly insightful comments on why they prefer working in role…

Check out also the creative ideas for letting them do their exams in role…

Most of all, check out what these teachers managed to achieve with a bunch of students who (according to their own teachers) were ‘thugs’ and would never ‘get it’.

Click here for link


On 18th April the secondary cluster group held their regular skype discussion. Our small group really got its teeth into some ‘meaty’ discussion of power and the different forms it can take in a classroom.

Our discussions were based around the following article written by Brian Edmiston. The article is taken from the UK Mantle of the Expert website – WELL worth a look for any teacher.

The key points from Edmiston’s article are summarized in the other document attached here – a handout from Luke Abbott (thanks Luke!). We decided to take the questions from this handout as a starting point for thinking about our own practice… a great challenge!

Building Social Justice

Handout on power in MOTE

To learn more about the Secondary cluster group, contact viv or leave a comment below.

Thanks to Cordelia Huxtable for permission to reproduce her dissertation on Mantle of the Expert written in 2009.

In this dissertation, Huxtable makes the case for the strong links between MOTE and  the Key competencies.

A good read, which firmly places MOTE in the NZ context.

Huxtable – MOTE and KCs

This week the celebration of Dorothy Heathcote’s life was held in Spondon, Derbyshire, UK. It was great that our own Sarah Marino was able to attend, to represent Drama NZ and Mantle of the Expert practitioners from this part of the world.

Pamela Bowell gave a moving address at the ceremony and she has given permission for this to be reproduced here. It’s a lovely snapshot of what it was like to work alongside DH, and the legacy she has left behind.



This article from the UK website gives a really nice account of a teacher using drama for learning – teaching in role – the expert frame for the first time in a short ‘mini mantle’ based around the fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood.

Could be a nice model for those wanting to “dabble”.

Sourced from

using moe for the first time

Bolton, Changes in thinking about drama Ed

For those who enjoy a bite of theory now and again, this article is an oldie but still a goodie. Gavin Bolton (who has done more than just about anyone else to bring Dorothy Heathcote’s work into classroom practice) wrote this article in the late eighties…. I revisited it the other day and found it as vital and useful as ever (though it is disturbing to note that 30 years on the picture Bolton paints of the uninformed teacher using ‘skits’ and meaningless ‘games’ to teach drama is still one that many of us would recognise today…)

In particular, I enjoy the way Bolton offers a categorization of how drama supports learning. Check out what he has to say about the four ways children learn in drama… He suggests that children learn through

1. metaxis (a dual awareness of the real and fictional worlds)

2. aesthetic and referential attention (appreciation of drama for its own sake – and as an illustration of real world issues)

3. Subsidiary awareness / unconscious awareness (the tacit learning that happens even if teachers or learners don’t notice it happening)

4. Natural or ‘common’ understanding (the stuff we already know, which is reframed and comes to be seen in a new way)

I rather like this elegant characterisation … How does it fit with YOUR understanding of how children learn in a drama / mantle of the expert setting….?


I love this article from Jonathon Neelands. Written very shortly after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Neelands makes a very rational and yet passionately argued case for drama as part of a rethink of curriculum ‘basics’. Much here of direct relevance to MOTE in NZ.

I’ve just been reading some of my students’ responses to this article, and it encouraged me to share it here!

Neelands space in our hearts