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about us / history / Development of the Style Analysis Tools

1971 Development of the Style Analysis Tools

In 1970 Sara accepted a job at County College of Morris, in Dover, New Jersey, where Muska would regularly observe her classes and offer feedback about the implementation of the Spectrum styles. These classroom observation sessions, which continued for more than a year, were not always easy for Sara as Muska pointed out discrepancies between how she thought she was teaching a particular teaching style and how she was actually teaching that style. With continuous practice and feedback from Muska, thinking about the specific decision making patterns of both teacher and learner in the various styles becomes automatic. The Spectrum requires a different level of deliberate thinking about intentions, planning, implementation, and assessment. With the Spectrum as a pedagogical foundation, reflection takes on a completely different process. This increased knowledge, freedom to design, and flexibility elevated professional understanding about how to teach.

Muska singularly discovered the Spectrum’s axiom, Teaching is a Chain of Decision Making, as well as the notion of a non-versus framework and the idea that different learning objectives/outcomes were produced by specific clustering of decisions. However, Sara’s partnership added refinements, clarification, and even new styles to the Spectrum. During the practice implementation sessions, it became clear to Sara that a gap existed between theory and implementation. Although students and teachers engaged in "micro-teaching" when studying the Spectrum (videotaping for a minimal time frame from 5-10 minutes with 2 or 4 students), the congruence between theory and implementation was not significant. Too frequently personal, idiosyncratic "interpretations" guided the teachers' design of the style's microteaching episodes. Therefore, an excessive amount of time was spent, during the private viewing of the micro-teaching episode, reviewing the specific teaching style's structure. The question became: How can teachers more successfully implement the theory of each style, without the benefit of Muska observing and offering feedback in every classroom? The Analysis Tools per style were developed to offer teachers a review of the structure, sequence, and components inherent in each style. Sara's implementation procedures (Learning to See exercises) provided teachers and/or principals with the consistent tools they needed to independently internalize, implement, and assess the style's intent in the micro-teaching lesson. The same tools per style were used to guide classroom episodes and to assess the fidelity of the classroom action to the expected learning intent.

The Analysis Tools provided the sequence for implementing each landmark style. Deliberate adaptations and canopies could be designed once teachers had success in implementing the landmark styles. Fidelity to theory is essential for maintaining the integrity of any theory.