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about us / History

The History of The Spectrum

This section tells the personal story of Muska and Sara's journey with the Spectrum. Other sections acknowledge the tremendous support contributed by colleagues from around the world. Specific content about the theoretical development of the Spectrum is presented in the Theory Evolution section.

Muska, charismatic even as a child, was a one-of-a-kind individual, with multifaceted talents and a healthy self-assurance. On the other hand, he was professionally dependent on others, who were not as visionary as he was, for opportunity and acknowledgement.

Stories still linger about his first teaching position in a kibbutz in the desert of Israel. With no gymnasium and only sand dunes and eucalyptus trees for equipment, he created lessons that invited his students to explore their courage, risk-taking, confidence, and imagination WHILE they were developing their strength, agility, flexibility, and balance skills through climbing, jumping, swinging. Each student traveled through a maze of obstacles high in the air through the tangled branches. He inspired his students to develop a sense of curiosity about learning and moving.

Muska's background was not confined to physical education. As a child and teenager he was a classical violinist, an equestrian, a parachutist trainer, a math and geometry teacher, a Hebrew and Aramaic teacher. In his post college days he taught anatomy, physiology and kinesiology; he directed camps for the blind and the disabled, and he had his own television program on CBS. Muska was not a one-dimensional thinker.

1959
1959-1970

Rutgers University

Muska taught at Rutgers University in the Department of Physical Education from 1959 to 1963. In 1963-1970 he served as Chairman. During that time, it is believed that, he was the first to change the name and college association to the Department of Kinesiology, in the College of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers.

Also during the early Rutgers' years, he hired Rudy Mueller--a colleague whom he acknowledged as "my dear colleague and friend whose sensitivity and patience helped sustain me in moments of agony and joy along the road" (1972, dedication page).

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The events cited below through 1970 occurred in conjunction with the Rutgers experiences.

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1963
1963-1970

Hosted Shape-Up on CBS for seven years

From 1963-1970, Muska conceived, produced, and directed a CBS TV series with children in New York City called "Shape Up." Each week he would meet a new group of young children in Manhattan and introduce them to a movement concept that they would explore in different teaching styles. Muska was gentle, charming, and charismatic with children as evidenced by his fan mail. Children excitedly recognized him in town, and parents and grandparents wrote letters thanking him for producing an early morning children's program that invited thinking. Only a few of his Shape Up programs remain in our library.

1964
1964

The Genesis of the Spectrum ideas

An interaction with a student jolted Muska to think differently about teaching. That interaction eventually led to the conception of the Spectrum of Teaching Styles in 1964 while Muska was a professor at Rutgers University (Mosston and Ashworth, 1990, pp. xiii). In the preface of the 1994 text, Muska tells the story of the defining event that motivated him to investigate the Structure of Teaching.

The Genesis of the Spectrum as told by Muska. Read More

1965
1965

Developmental Movement Published

Muska's first book Developmental Movement was published. This book offers the field of physical education "an integrated concept of movement designed to achieve total physical development (Muska believed that all fields had their own intrinsic conceptual frameworks, which like blueprints, link ideas to form a structure. Developmental Movement delineated the blueprint from which all movement is connected.

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1966
1966

The first edition of Teaching Physical Education was published in 1966 and outlined the Spectrum theory. Read More

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1969
1969

Muska and Sara's Partnership

The 25-year partnership of Muska and Sara as well as Sara's commitment to the Spectrum began with a keynote presentation by Muska at the Southeastern District Physical Education Convention in Memphis. The topic, addressed to the one thousand educators in attendance, was "Inclusion in Physical Education" and Muska presented the now classic "slanty" rope concept (see Style-E for info about this concept).

His ideas were novel and they focused on a range of teaching styles. The keynote emphasized one teaching style designed to include all students, independent of their ability level by providing multiple opportunities to be engaged in the task. Such ideas about teaching had not been part of Sara's university studies. The humanity of his ideas captivated Sara, and the content of his presentation changed her life.

After meeting at the conference, Sara attended every major presentation, college course, and workshop that Muska gave.

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1970
1970

1970 Muska left Rutgers

In 1970 Muska and Rudy left Rutgers to teach at East Stroudsburg University (ESU) in Pennsylvania. Muska's position was temporary so he would have time to create The Teaching Behavior Institute (TBI). Rudy and his wife, Sue, became faculty members and began developing a new pedagogical program for the PETE majors based on the Spectrum. Muska, rather than totally focusing on the development of the TBI, spent a great deal of time at ESU engaged with Spectrum teaching, working with students, faculty, giving sessions, and providing input for the new program. Teaching the Spectrum, expanding the profession's understanding of teaching behavior, and influence the learning that occurred in the classroom were Muska's passion. Consequently, the creation of the TBI lagged.

1971
1971

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.

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1972
1972-1980

The Center on Teaching - A Breakthrough for The Spectrum

In 1972, Muska and Sara were asked to direct The Center on Teaching (COT) , funded by a Title IV C grant from New Jersey Department of Education. The Commissioner of Education at that time focused on quality classroom teaching. In fact, every Friday he visited different schools and observing different classrooms. He heard about the Spectrum and requested a presentation for himself and his administrative staff. After the Spectrum presentation, he directed the Department of Research and Development to initiate a grant to establish the Center on Teaching. The mission of the Center on Teaching was to improve the quality of teaching and learning in New Jersey schools. The services and program training offered to any New Jersey school was free under the auspices of this Federal grant.

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1972

The Spectrum Expanded beyond the field of Physical Education

The Center on Teaching provided opportunities for Muska and Sara to expand the Spectrum beyond the field of physical education. Because the COT was available to all schools and teachers in New Jersey, Muska and Sara were able to apply the Spectrum to the different content fields represented in the public schools, to all ages and grades, to varying performance levels, economic levels, and to various labeled groups such as gifted or at-risk. Administrators studying the Spectrum found that they communicated more objectively and constructively with their teachers. They reported that when both teachers and supervisors studied the Spectrum, they shared a common language and a more congruent view about the actions and assessment of the learning intent and outcomes.

1980
1980-Present

National and International Dissemination and Recognition of the Spectrum

During the Center on Teacher years, Muska and Sara conducted over 250 workshops. Although in 1980 the Reagan administration drastically cut most of the educational grants (including the COT), the activities of the Center continued on a freelance basis. Muska and Sara continued to present and conduct Spectrum workshops both nationally and internationally.

1984
1984

Muska's Honorary Doctorate

In 1984, the Faculty of Sport and Health Science at the University of Jyvaskyla in Finland bestowed an Honorary Doctorate on Muska for his work in the Psychology of Teaching. This international recognition and honor removed his earlier professional feelings of rejection and non-acceptance. This experience reinforced Muska's belief about the Spectrum's universality.

1984-1985

European Lecture Tour

Additional recognition and opportunity for dissemination occurred when an invitation for a three-month visit to the Scottish Center for Physical Education in Edinburgh, Scotland arrived. During their stay in Edinburgh, Peter Hill, their host and former Temple University student, invited Muska and Sara to attend an international conference in Great Britain, where Muska and Sara met many new colleagues using the Spectrum who invited Muska and Sara to present at their universities. The three-month visit became an 11-month European Lecture Tour. During the 11-month tour Muska and Sara conducted 87 workshops on various topics related to the Spectrum in 11 different countries.

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1987
1987-2009

Department of Teacher Education at Florida Atlantic University (FAU)

In 1987, Sara accepted a university job teaching the Spectrum at Florida Atlantic University to undergraduates in the Elementary Education Department. Within the first four years, Sara received every teaching award offered at the university (a total of seven awards), including the prestigious student-conducted Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award (1991).

The FAU experience provided a laboratory for studying the application of the Spectrum to meet the pedagogical content needs of undergraduates. An incredible number of insights were discovered during these FAU years.

During the FAU tenure, Muska and Sara continued to receive invitations and give presentations, including: Jyvaskyla, Finland; Israel; Quebec, Canada; Rome, Italy; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Crete, Greece, New Jersey, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maryland and Florida.

1987-1994

Muska and SporTime Collaborate

In addition to traveling around the world presenting the Spectrum, Muska expanded his relationship with SporTime, a successful physical education equipment company. The company's products were cutting-edge, and much of their inventory was designed to be inclusive.

Muska was introduced to Barry Traub, who was SporTime's VP and traveled the world looking for innovative games and equipment that supported Muska's Spectrum philosophy. Muska and Barry shared a common philosophical view about the active development of children, and Muska created several pieces of equipment that SporTime continues to manufacture. Before Muska's passing he was entering a work relationship to give seminars and workshops sponsored by SporTime that promoted the Spectrum and the use of various SporTime equipment. Unfortunately, this collaboration was not fully established.

1994
July 22, 1994

Muska Mosston Suddenly Died July 22

Muska's passing shocked the Spectrum community. He was too energetic, vivacious and dynamic to be taken so soon. He was at a stage in his life where he was finally experiencing the acceptance of his ideas and receiving recognition from his colleagues. Indeed, his circle of friends and work obligations spanned the world. His cognitive capacities were amazing and his exuberance and zest for life were contagious.

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Click on the images below to expand. The first image contains the SporTime article by Barry Traub.

1996
1996

Sara's Honorary Doctorate

The Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Jyvaskyla, Finland, also confirmed an Honorary Doctorate on Sara for her work in the Psychology of Teaching and Learning. No other professional experience compares to the honor of receiving this award, and Sara was humbled to be a part of Jyvaskyla's honorary doctorate tradition.

2002
2002

5th Edition of Teaching Physical Education is Published

The 5th edition of Teaching Physical Education was dedicated to Muska Mosston. It was intended to be a tribute to him, but due to an unfortunate publishing error, the 5th edition (used for several years before the error was identified) should not be used. A corrected and updated 6th edition was written in 2008 and is available free online from the Spectrum Institute for Teaching and Learning. Click here to download the 6th edition of Teaching Physical Education.

2007
2007

The Spectrum Institute for Teaching and Learning Created

This non-profit charitable organization was established to provide a center for people from around the world to come and work together in a common commitment to improving education 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 theory offers a repertoire of alternative teaching and learning options from Command to Discovery for colleagues dedicated to the improvement of classroom learning. Spectrum theory also creates a common language for dialogue that can lead to theoretically solid implementation practices, while it provides a unifying structure for new ideas and for understanding change in education that can contribute to valid and cumulative progress.

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September 2007

1st International Spectrum Workshop in Halkidiki, Greece

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 REVISIT of the Spectrum theory. The intent of this workshop was to gain an international perspective about the use of the Spectrum and to support international collaborative relationships. The Spectrum provided the common language for two-way conversations.

A REUNION AND A REVISIT workshop was organized by Dr. Nikolaos Digelidis (University of Thessaly, Trikala, Halkidiki, Greece). Colleagues from around the world participated in this Spectrum conference.

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March 2007

The 1st INVITED SPECTRUM CONFERENCE for 22 Spectrum colleagues from across the USA and Canada in Buckeystown, Maryland

The first project organized by the newly created Spectrum Institute was a three-day Spectrum 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.

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2008
2008

First Website Launched

The Spectrum website advanced the opportunities for the Institute to serve as a clearinghouse for information and research about various teaching and learning styles. The information on the Spectrum site makes possible the immediate sharing of information and the opportunity to establish collaborative relationships with like-minded colleagues interested in the improvement of pedagogy.

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2008

The First Online Edition of Teaching Physical Education is Published

This first online book on the Spectrum is now available as a free download from the Spectrum Institute. This text is a corrected version of the 5th edition (which should not be used because of publishing errors). Click here to download the 6th edition of Teaching Physical Education.

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2009
2009

Keynote at The 26th ACHPER International Conference, Brisbane, QLD Australia QLD Australia

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. Approximately 500 very active and involved participants attended the conference.

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2010
2010

Keynote at the International Conference on Mosston's Spectrum of Teaching Styles sponsored by the Taiwan Society for Sport Pedagogy held at National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei, Taiwan

All sessions in this three-day conference focused on various aspects of the Spectrum of Teaching Styles. This visit to Taiwan was extended to include three weeks for visiting various schools and universities. It was a glorious experience learning that so many universities in Taiwan are using the Spectrum.

During this visit Sara witnessed first-hand a favorite observation 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, National Hsinchu University of Education, National Kaohsiung Normal University, National Taichung University of Education, National Taitung University and Minghu Primary School, Nanhu High School,Wun-Chang Elementary School, Shang Shih Elementary School, and Hsin Chu Municipal Hu Lin Primary School. Thanks to all of these learning centers for this glorious experience.

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2011
2011- Present

Teachers are the architects of learning

Currently, Spectrum events focus on establishing a national and international platform for the Spectrum Institute for the purpose of maintaining quality pedagogy through a common understanding and language for the theory and implementation of teaching. A common platform in no way restricts communication or ideas; instead, it expands the possibilities. Research for future developments depend upon a calm progression of ideas rather than an idiosyncratic approach where ideas are not linked or connected. In addition to the new web site, current efforts focus on a new Spectrum text for general education.

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