About us / The Institute

About the Spectrum Institute for Teaching and Learning

The Spectrum Institute for Teaching and Learning, under the auspices of the Lankler Family Foundation, is a non-profit organization created in 2005 under title 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service code of the United States for nonprofit corporations.

The mission of the Spectrum Institute is to provide a center for people from around the world to come and work together in the common commitment of improving quality teaching and schooling. The central organizing theme undergirding the Institute, the reason for the Institute's existence, is to improve education through the Spectrum of Teaching Styles. The Spectrum Institute serves as a clearinghouse for information and research about this unifying theory that delineates an array of effective teaching and learning styles. Besides offering teachers a repertoire of alternative teaching and learning options from Command to Discovery, the Spectrum theory offers: solid implementation practices; a mechanism for change in education; and a framework for valid and cumulative progress.

In addition to providing a center for Spectrum research and development, the Institute offers workshops and training services for teachers and scholars and an active website for the exchange of Spectrum information.

A brief statement about the Spectrum

The Spectrum of Teaching Styles provides a universal model for studying and implementing the elusive art and science of teaching. Dr. Muska Mosston authored the Spectrum in the early 1960's. The idea grew from Mosston's frustration with the "fragmentation" he found in education in which different teaching approaches were being touted as the "best" by various authors; approach A versus approach B, approach B versus approach C, and so on. Mosston declined to engage in this versus argument and tackled the study of teaching from a logical, systematic perspective. A non-versus perspective.

The Spectrum is a comprehensive framework for understanding the teaching/learning process. It has continued to be researched, developed, and implemented in a wide range of classrooms and subject matters around the world. The Spectrum of Teaching Styles is based on an understanding of how teaching and learning are intertwined. It helps teachers recognize the structure inherent in all teaching-learning experiences, and it offers teachers a variety of teaching styles that support students’ various learning needs and content expectations.

Thank you to
Alexander (Sandy) Lankler

The Spectrum Institute for Teaching and Learning is made possible by the loving support and generosity of Sara's husband, Alexander (Sandy) Lankler. His big-heartedness has been wind beneath many wings, and in his unassuming way he made it feasible for an enormous number of individuals to realize their dreams. Sandy's faith, support, and relenting belief in the power of the individual made him the exceptional person that he was.

It is with sadness that we remember the passing of Alexander (Sandy) Lankler December 12, 2013. Sandy was the rare mix of lawyer, lobbyist, philanthropist, and politician that took genuine pleasure in the twists and turns of life. He was born on June 30, 1928 - the son of a Presbyterian Minister. In 1944, at the age of 16, he founded and served as the first National President of the Younger Republican Clubs of America. In subsequent years, he was President of the Junior Republicans of New York State and the Junior Republicans of America. In 1948 he graduated from Hamilton College and received his law degree with honors from Cornell Law School in 1951 and never looked back. Before he practiced law with private firms in New York and Washington, he served with distinction in the United States Coast Guard (1951-1953). He served as Assistant to Governor Thomas E. Dewey. He was also active in both the Treasury Department as well as the GSA and was Deputy Manager of Nelson A. Rockefeller's national campaign for President. He served as Chairman of the Republican State Committee in Maryland. He was a founder of the Potomac United Presbyterian Church, Potomac, Maryland and President of the Board of the Church by the Sea in Bal Harbour, Florida.

His generosity made possible the creation of many 501(c)(3) organizations. He provided support for: a long-term living community for Autistics, a wounded warrior support organization, an organization for dog friendly beaches of Jupiter, Florida, and the Spectrum Institute, an organization dedicated to the improvement of teaching. All of these foundations are still in operation. He also helped start restaurants, started churches and ran hotels. He was a political speechwriter and a true patriot.

What made Sandy different was that he was a man of passions. For all he did and all he did for others, we say thank you, Sandy Lankler. May our goal be to reflect a portion of your generosity and goodness.

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  • In conjunction with the 2016 AIESEP Conference, we will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Spectrum of Teaching Styles. Visit the official invitation's page.

    Additional content, new graphics and video clips have been added. The new site offers an expanded understanding with more visual examples of the Spectrum theory.

  • You are invited to participate in the AIESEP International Conference June 9-12, 2016 hosted by the University of Wyoming in Laramie, WY-USA.

    Mosston's original teaching theory continues to be recognized as a universal foundation and unifying pedagogical theory about alternative teaching approaches.

  • Dr. Sara Ashworth was one of three invited keynote speakers to share ideas about leadership. She approached the topic of leadership from the perspective of the Spectrum of Teaching Styles.

    The new, current logo expands our understanding of the Spectrum and highlights the interconnection and overlapping of each discrete style and emphasizes the evolution of one discrete teaching style to the next.

  • Dr. Frederik Göbbels, professor from Fontys Sporthogeschool Locatie Sittard/Tilburg, was first introduced to the Spectrum at the International Spectrum Workshop in Halkidiki, Greece in 2007 organized by Dr. Digelidis. As he stated, "after the conference my enthusiasm about the Spectrum grew."

    During this visit I witnessed one of our favorite statements about the Spectrum: The Spectrum transcends cultural boundaries. Some of the universities and schools visited were: National Taiwan University, Taipei Physical Education College, National Taipei University of Education, National Taiwan Sport University,...

  • Dr. Tom Cuddihy (Chair of the School Learning and Teaching Committee, School of Human Movement Studies, Queensland University of Technology) chaired the 26th ACHPER International Conference in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. The conference was attended by approximately 500 very active and involved participants.

    AIESEP - Association Internationale des Ecoles Superieures d'Education Physique International (Association for Physical Education in Higher Education) held their pre-conference board meeting in Jupiter, Florida on the properties of Dr. Sara Ashworth and her husband Sandy Lankler.

  • 2009 was a very busy year for international collaboration. Although the number of colleagues this year was small, the duration of the visits were lengthy and the study sessions were intense.

    The Spectrum website advanced the opportunities for the Institute to serve as a clearinghouse for information and research about various teaching and learning styles.

  • Dr. Nikolaos Diglidis (University of Thessaly) organized the First International Spectrum Workshop in conjunction with the 12th European Congress of Sport Psychology (FEPSAC) in Halkidiki, Greece. The workshop focus was A REUNION AND A REVIST of the Spectrum theory.

    Sara was invited as the keynote speaker at the University of West Florida, Physical Education Summer Institute to address the theme "Teaching Styles in Physical Education." In addition to the keynote, Dr. Ashworth conducted two 3-hour activity sessions presenting selected Spectrum teaching styles.

  • Thirteen people attended a conference sponsored by SporTime at the Spectrum Institute in Buckeystown, Maryland. The goal of the conference was to offer alternative teaching support to the newly elected NASPE Teachers of the Year (TOYs) as they prepared their workshop lessons.

    The first project organized by the newly created Spectrum Institute was a three-day conference for North American physical educators. Twenty-two veteran and new generation Spectrum colleagues from across the U.S. and Canada participated in this conference at the Institute's new center in Buckeystown, Maryland.