The Spectrum of Teaching Styles entered my life in 1970. I had taught physical education at the high school level and had just finished my second year with student teachers in the faculty of education at Queens University. My first contact with Muska and the Spectrum was in Victoria B.C. where Muska was speaking at the C.A.H.P.E.R. convention. I was fascinated with his message and came away realizing that there was much to be learned about the art and science of teaching. I was hooked and started my journey to learn more about the Spectrum and its application in student teacher preparation courses. My knowledge grew over 20 years under the guidance of Muska and Sara Ashworth.
The Spectrum is a great model to use in teacher preparation courses. It is a fundamental body of knowledge that students must know if they are to be successful teachers. The role of the teacher educator is to move students from the knowledge level to the operational level. After theory sessions on the Spectrum, our students moved into a series of video taped micro teaching episodes in various styles of teaching. This application phase was extremely time consuming but essential for acquiring the different teaching and learning structures and nuances of each style. The importance of appropriate verbal behavior for each style was highlighted in these video sessions.
These micro teaching sessions helped move students to the awareness level in their teaching and in acquiring a repertoire of alternative teaching behaviors. Demonstration lessons in various activities using different styles showed the styles in action. As part of the course load, students had to produce materials to be used in different styles. Booklets with their materials were produced and students had a volume of resources ready for future lessons.
With the knowledge of the Spectrum, learning the application of each style, seeing and receiving the styles in activity sessions, and producing materials for different styles--the students had a good start towards a successful teaching career that included alternative teaching and learning behaviors.
I was fortunate to be able to share the work of Muska and Sara Ashworth in England, Scotland and Wales each spring for 15 years. There were over 150 presentations over this span of time that involved hundreds of educators. Lectures and demonstration lessons were presented to faculty members of various teacher training colleges, student teachers, supervisors and to teachers in a number of school districts. In the latter years of my presentations, the total school faculty was involved.
Muska and Sara did follow up sessions in a number of teacher training institutions in Great Britain. Needless to say the Spectrum is well known and used in this part of the world. Its universal and comprehensive theory transcends boundaries.