Monday, 20 October 2014

Part 1: Introduction

This blog is devoted to one of Dorothy Heathcote's final pieces of writing, Mantle of the Expert: My Current Understanding. The 25 page document was written in 2009 as a keynote address for the Weaving our Stories conference at the University of Waikato, Hamilton, NZ. As convenor of that conference I felt very honoured when Prof Heathcote handed me a photocopy of her handwritten transcript and said "you might want to do something with this."

The handwritten document has stayed in my possession ever since. As one of her final writings about Mantle of the Expert, Prof Heathcote's address is an important piece of work for those with an interest in her work but it is also quite densely written and hard to follow in places. So as well as offering a full transcription I thought it would be useful to offer some kind of commentary - or reader's guide. I originally thought of producing something hard copy - a booklet or academic paper. But recently it came to me that a BLOG might be the ideal medium for the purpose - offering an opportunity to encounter the text in 'bite sized chunks' and potentially getting out to a wider audience of teachers and practitioners in an open source way.  So, here goes!
I do hope that readers of this blog might dialogue and respond to my comments - whether to ask questions or elaborate and improve on my commentary. I know there are many scholars and practitioners who know Heathcote's work better than I do and I invite you to collaborate in this blog through the comments. 
If you'd like to see a 'clean' transcription of the address please visit CLICK HERE. The transcription is a work in progress and will be produced as the blog is written.

A video recording of Prof Heathcote delivering the keynote can be viewed via the UK Mantle of the Expert website CLICK HERE (*I believe the link is currently under repair... hopefully it will be working again soon)

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Brian Edmiston said...

Seeing Dorothy's handwriting brings memories of her flooding back. I still have a sheaf of her handwritten handouts that I kept from the year I spent in Newcastle in 1983-84 - the year that I learned to embrace the never-ending increasing complexity of learning to be a better teacher. I also have cards and notes sent over the years, often written as responses on the photocopy she made of a original from me. Her beautifully crafted script reminds me that DH was never about prepackaged teaching or thinking but rather about careful and deliberate dialogue born in the crucible of a classroom or an exchange that can be recorded and reflected upon for meaning that’s significant to us. Handwritten documents were often a part of our work in Newcastle. I remember a beautiful diary with watercolour paintings that we created for the Foresters of Dudley work; I remember the young people being captivated. And now we can pour over another seminal gift from Dorothy. What a treat that we can continue to dialogue with her ideas, and yours Viv.

Vivadrama said...

Kia Ora Brian. Sorry it's taken me so long to respond to your comments... THANK YOU for entering into such rich dialogue with this text and bringing your nuanced responses and personal experiences into play. Your responses add such rich layers to the words Dorothy wrote... Hope we can keep the dialogue going! And hope others will join in too...