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Reflection on attempt number one

We have wrapped up our first attempt at Mantle of the Expert as connected teaching team. There have been successes, as well as some points of frustration and uncertainty.

To summarize our MOTE;

  • Hook: interned messes up, put the display put in order to send off
  • Company Creation: created office space, wrote about our first day on the job, created artifacts of the company (logo, business cards, vehicle design, website)
  • History of the Company: advertisements, interviews from our successful history 
  • Mini commission: write lesson plans to accompany the display sent away
  • Commission One: create a road show that explores continental drift. We trailed our ideas on local years 6-8 students and gained their feedback. We used this to do some data analysis. 
  • Commission Two: Create a bus stop poster that is informative and interactive showing Polynesian Journey to NZ 
  • Wrap up: imagine you are at the bus stop, what is your reaction to this poster. Write a short social media post in role as the company to how people are reacting to your work. 
My reflection on what we did (in the style of I like, I think, I wonder...) 

I like:
  • That we trailed MOTE. In a team with 4 other teachers who have never experienced, heard of, or worked in MOTE before, it was really awesome that they were so open to trialing something new, and something a bit out of their comfort zone. They were really willing to listen and learn, and read about how it works. It was huge to just jump into a MOTE with no prior knowledge or professional development about it. 
  • That there were learners who understood the concept and accepted belief in the company. They made some really strong connections and offered some insightful comments that helped others buy into the company. There was enthusiasm and excitement for creating the history of the company. I loved watching the adverts and interviews in particular. Their reflections as well at the end were quite mature, and some of them quite touching about how they had impacted on their 'audience'. 
  • I like that teachers took on 'teacher in role'. This was awesome to watch! 
  • I like what I have learned from this experience. This is the first time I've done a MOTE with teachers who know nothing about this framework, it's the first time I've done a MOTE with 60 learners and it's the first time I've worked in a connected teaching team with 4 other teachers. It was a huge learning curve, it was enjoyable and difficult. It was fun and frustrating. I loved the robust discussion we had around purpose and keeping our learners at the centre. I loved being questioned by my colleagues around why this way?
  • I like that there are more chances coming soon to work in MOTE further 

I think:
  • We needed to use the mote planning tool as a group to ensure we all understood the process a bit deeper. I think this would have guided people who are new to MOTE a bit more. 
  • I think I needed to support the team more in guiding others into the MOTE way of working. There came a point where I felt the learners were associating me with the company and this hindered the belief building. I think that we needed to share responsibility for the creation of the company further, however; this was also a time where others were observing and learning MOTE from my practical approach.
  • I think there was an improvement in how learners worked co-cooperatively and collaboratively. 

I wonder: 
  • If there is a better way to implement MOTE with 60 learners. In talking with Viv, she mentioned an inter-dependency between companies can work with large numbers. I wonder how this might look in our connected learning teams? 
  • I wonder if we were to do this again in connected, with the same teachers, what would happen now that they have experienced MOTE. 
The next chapter starts in Term 4: 
I think overall, I need to go back to basics again and work with a smaller group. Hopefully in term 4, I can join up with a science teacher who has experience MOTE in this connected and we can plan a MOTE together with a science focus. I'm really excited about our discussions so far about possibilities and to get into the planning model. 

Watch this space - I'll be back. 


  1. Thanks so much for sharing your journey Merrin. I like how you are so honest about the highs and lows of the process... it's reassuring for others who might be in the same boat... And yes I agree, the more PD teachers have, the more likely it is that they will understand and plan from the same 'page'... (I would say that, though, wouldn't I!?)

  2. Hi Merrin, as you know I am completing the summer paper on Mantle of the Expert with Viv Aitken. I knew you were exploring Mantle and this blog is really helpful for me to see how this could run in a secondary setting. How do you think Mantle could work in the Senior school ? I have found Dorothy Heathcote's work on Rolling Role interesting and while my understanding is still forming I am thinking of maybe multiple mantle's operating around one company - but different parts of the company - That may work on one commission but it is a huge commission with many facets. Which has a key theme or anchor that resonates across curricular. I am thinking big picture here - and I think probably a little idealist - ok a lot idealistic - but the possibilities are exciting.
    Once your teachers had seen Mantle in operation were they more willing to have a go next time? Did you do another Mantle at the end of the year with a smaller group? Will you do one this year?
    Hope you have had a great break and that the start to the new year with now year 9 and 10's on board at Rolleston was a smooth and exciting one.

    1. Hi Annette!

      I’ve done it with my seniors before, using MOTE for the devising standard & my kids were all merits & excellences. It was a great framework to use, they really enjoyed working that way. Have also done it with 9s & 10s in their own drama classes. Again, really successful.

      The multiple / interdependent companies is something we are looking at trying at Rolleston with our big numbers. I think it will work really well, just need some strong planning & all teachers on the same page. I’m not always in connected & so not sure when my next chance in that learning vehicle will be.

      The teachers I worked with were really keen to try again - we didn’t have the chance term 4, but we are starting a mantle this week for a class called “proof”. I’m working with a science teacher to teach a forensic science focus through mote. He was in the connected group last year I did MOTE with. Just starting the blog back up now to record the next journey....

      Good luck with your planning! :)


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