Mantle of the Expert
in de Lage Landen / in the Low Countries
Bob Selderslaghs (1973) holds a PhD in the arts and works as a teaching artist and researcher in drama education. He graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp in 1996 with a Masters in Dramatic Art and immediately began working as an actor in theater and television. He has always combined his artistic work with artistic-educational activities: he has taught in art academies, the high school of performing arts and the arts education sector. In 2001 he obtained his teaching certificate at the University College of Antwerp. From 2008 to 2018 Bob was coordinator of the Drama Teacher Training Program at the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp and taught various curricular courses there. Currently, he coordinates the master's theses of the Educational Master in Music and Performing Arts. Bob published several articles and books on (cross-domain) initiation in the arts and on Mantle of the Expert: the dramatic inquiry approach to learning and teaching that he has been researching intensively since 2016. In 2022 he received his PhD with the thesis "MoE 2.0 - Mantle of the Expert: from dramatic inquiry towards an artistic result in arts education". Bob is co-chair of the CORPoREAL research group.
Mantle of the Expert was invented by drama teacher and academic Dorothy Heathcote MBE (1926 - 2011) while working at Newcastle University in the 1970s and 1980s. Her aim was to create a teaching method that would make drama techniques accessible to all kinds of teachers, regardless of their background and experience.
She described her method as a laboratory methodology, "in which the students know that the results of their work really matter, not only to themselves, but also to others". She wanted to discover ways of "opening doors for children, helping them to make links with society, and allowing them to take some responsibility for their own learning".
Tim Taylor is a teacher/trainer from Norfolk, UK.He was first introduced to MoE when expert Luke Abbott applied the approach to his class of 7 year olds at Tuckswood First School in Norwich in 1995. Tim was teaching his first year and was struggling to engage his students from diverse backgrounds in his lessons. Within minutes of Luke Abbott starting his class, the children were completely immersed in an imaginary scenario as a rescue team searching for villagers trapped in a large pit. For Tim, it was a revelation. At the time, he had no idea exactly what had happened or what Luke Abbott was doing, but he was determined to find out. Since then, Tim Taylor has researched and applied MoE intensively, first in his own classroom and later with other teachers. In 2004 he became an Advanced Skills Teacher. He now works freelance to provide support and training in MoE nationally and internationally.
Tim Taylor has led (and/or participated in) a range of MoE projects in schools across the UK. He has taught in the United States of America and in Palestine and is a visiting lecturer at Newcastle University (UK). He is web manager for mantleoftheexpert.com. He writes for several educational magazines and for the Guardian Teacher Network. In July 2016, his book "A Beginner's Guide to Mantle of the Expert" was published (Singular Publishing). Since 2018, Tim has been a guest teacher several times during the Summer Schools MoE at art campus DE SINGEL in Antwerp.
Luke Abbott was a student of Dorothy Heathcote at Newcastle University and took his Master's degree from her in 1981: It was then that Mantle of the Expert was first introduced as a teaching and learning approach. Luke was one of the first students of Dr Heathcote to research and systematically apply MoE in his classroom practice. After graduating, he spent nine years studying MoE at Stantonbury College, Milton Keynes: a secondary school with a special focus on research and innovation. He then went on to work as an advisor, trainer and supervisor to teachers and educators to develop and apply the approach
In his nearly forty years of experience, Luke has taught in hundreds of schools across the UK and beyond. His work is recognised internationally and has been essential in spreading and applying MoE as an innovative pedagogy for the future.
Luke has been a curriculum advisor to the Primary Education Inspectorate in the UK. He has also worked regularly in Jiangsu (China) as an advisor on special curriculum projects and as a teacher trainer in Palestine.
Bob Selderslaghs has attended four training weekends with Luke so far and in 2017 invited him as a guest lecturer for the first Summer School MoE at DE SINGEL arts campus in Antwerp.