What is the Spectrum of Teaching Styles (SOTS)?

Muska Mosston formulated The Spectrum of Teaching Styles and presented it to the field of physical education over 30 years ago. His theory continues to influence pedagogy because it offers a universal, comprehensive body of knowledge about teaching and learning. The Spectrum’s theory, which is based on decision making, delineates landmark teaching and learning options (styles/behaviors). Each successive behavior is derived from the systematic, cumulative shifting of decisions from teacher to learner. The cluster of decisions shifted in each style creates a distinctive set of learning objectives. Consequently, each teaching style is a landmark decision-relationship that leads both teacher and learners to a specific set of learning objectives and outcomes.

The theoretical progression from one landmark style to another shows the relationships and connections among the styles and the contributions of each style to various educational ideas and programs. The Spectrum does not designate any single behavior as superior to the others, nor does it prescribe a linear implementation order. Rather, it offers a range of styles to draw upon according to the objectives that are the focal point of the learning experience. The educational value and contributions of the Spectrum to learners can only be achieved when the full range of teaching-learning styles are used appropriately.