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Title: Mantle of the Expert: the Legacy of Dorothy Heathcote
Authors: Sayers, Ruth
Supervisors: Dymoke, Susan
Robinson, Muriel
Award date: 1-Mar-2013
Presented at: University of Leicester
Abstract: This thesis examines the educational drama practice of Dorothy Heathcote, who died in October 2011, and defines Mantle of the Expert, a model of learning and teaching that she invented and developed, as her legacy. Uniquely, it views this model through a historical and political framework. There is critical reflection on the failure of Heathcote’s earlier models to become mainstream drama practice in schools. Explanations are offered, such as recurring debates about the nature and function of educational drama, political pressures on curriculum design and a shift of interest from educational drama towards applied theatre. Mantle of the Expert is examined critically through case study methodology, as a situated learning system and cross curricular teaching tool. Interviews and observations with teachers, headteachers and other practitioners using the model in schools are analysed and findings presented. The features of the system as it is being practised are examined to establish whether or not a single version can be identified. Findings also embrace various aspects of professional development. Conclusions are offered about strategic models of introducing Mantle of the Expert in schools and the role of headteachers in promoting it. The impact of introducing this approach on relationships between staff in a small rural school is examined. The thesis critically explores the use of electronic media in establishing and sustaining a teaching and learning strategy. In particular, the role of a bespoke website is considered through extensive monitoring and analysis. A fundamental conclusion is that teachers who do not have an understanding of drama conventions and theatre form will have difficulty in delivering Heathcote’s model successfully. It is further concluded that Mantle of the Expert has a better chance of being sustained in English schools than Heathcote’s earlier models.
Type: Thesis
Level: Doctoral
Qualification: PhD
Rights: Copyright © the author. All rights reserved.
Appears in Collections:Theses, School of Education
Leicester Theses

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