Let us first examine the strange label. Mantle is not a cloak by which a person is recognised. This is no garment to cover. I use it as a quality: of leadership, carrying standards of behaviour, morality, responsibility, ethics and the spiritual basis of all action. The mantle embodies the standards I ascribe to. It grows by usage, not garment stitching.
Expert is essential in the name because I value learning and curiosity to enquire. Schooling imposes such burdens of “out there” information upon students, that ways must be found to inspire and reward curious enquiry and give children the first steps towards pleasure in exploring new fields, and shedding the insidious fear of error or making mistakes.
At one fell swoop this system prevents children from leaving their real lives in the cloakroom with their coats and lunchboxes. Because it uses the nature of drama to shift context into the classroom.
Its root lies then in the instinct to play. To transform the power-less structure of most classrooms to the power-full exploration of being human in controllable domains, selected for learning purposes.
This final sentence also reminds us that the domains, or areas of learning within Mantle of the Expert are bounded, controllable, limited. This is not open-ended inquiry which could go anywhere... The teacher will direct and select which areas are explored with a specific purpose in mind..
We transform, by contract with our students the contexts in which we shall function.
So the first law of theatre is invoked. Our enterprise gives us the boundaries so we can focus on the fields of experience we want to explore with our classes. Because we promise as teachers to introduce information as well as experience, the Mantle structure is neatly efficient and “elegant” in form.
Should it ever be seriously adopted as a system our schooling would change. There is no reason why a “Mantle” school could not be administered within the portals of the nineteenth century model which most schools operate in. Montessori and Waldorf schools can do this already.