Here at Wibbu, we love to engage with different kinds of teaching. From play-based to reflective, meditative to collaborative. But one of the most intriguing techniques we have worked with recently is the Mantle Of The Expert.
WHAT IS MANTLE OF THE EXPERT?
Mantle of the expert is a play and inquiry-based learning strategy where children are asked to imagine being experts in a specific field. Tasks are created, and a workflow is established. With your class you are creating a company, a collective!
Everything from archaeologists on a dig, to the owners of a teddy bear factory, the options for mantle of the expert (MOE) are limitless. Usually an exercise will be initiated with the use of a fictional ‘client’. A person who will enter your ‘place of business’ and request a large order, or a piece of information. The key is to encourage children to think like accomplished, engaged workers.
Through good observation and communication, children are able to achieve the set goal. As imaginary historians, they may need to analyse a painting and give their client information. As restaurateurs, they may need to write down a series of orders and allocate them to their staff. MOE requires a real commitment to imagination on the child’s part, which the teacher will work to inspire.
MANTLE OF THE EXPERT IN DIGITAL GAMING
Mantle of the expert is traditionally achieved with imaginary situations and physical resources. But can teachers use video games as an extension of MOE?
Video games are perfectly positioned to create situations that require children to think like experts. Thrusting players into unfamiliar situations and creating a series of objectives is what games do best.
VIDEO GAMES THAT USE MANTLE OF THE EXPERT
So, what kinds of video games have been employing the MOE model? It could be argued that every situation-based game features some form of speculative character task and even career-based activity from raiding tombs to flying starships. Now, because we don’t want to encourage our pupils to become ruthless soldiers of fortune, we’ll focus on some more realistic and appropriate examples.
The Tycoon Games
Get children to think big with these world creation tools. Everything from socialisation to economics, the ‘tycoon’ games teach project management and cause and effect. Whether you are building a theme park, managing a football team, or running a whole city, they all require an investment of time. This leads to a greater sense of responsibility and greater rewards!
The Preparation/Service Games
Learn about the pressures of the workforce with these time management games. A popular MOE exercise is imaginary food preparation to order, and this also proves to be a popular theme for mobile games. There are lots of variations of the ‘café’ game and we have to say, they’re pretty addictive! A great way to get young brains fired up for a day of work.
The Creation Games
Time to get creative! Make your pupils into designers, and have them build the games before they play. For long-term projects, see popular kids’ addiction Minecraft and marvel as imaginations run wild. If you want to work with something a little more contained, we recommend Little Big Planet or Spore for adventures in character creation and world building.
The Adventure/Exploration Games
Some of the best inquiry-based play can be found in exploration games. Encourage pupils to inspect an environment in detail, interacting with characters and engaging with objects. Wibbu’s own exploration education game RUBY REI puts an emphasis on the client/inspection narrative. Ruby will meet a character with a problem, and she will use her smarts and communication skills to help them out. This is a perfect example of the mantle of expert in practice. Children play as a fearless, approachable, and informed avatar, and they are inspired to adopt these traits.
Mantle of the expert! Have you tried it yet? We’d love to know your experiences with this technique. Get in touch to share your story.
Written by Truan Flynn, Game Writer