Pilvikki Heikinaro-Johansson, PhD

Professor in Sport Pedagogy, Sport and Health Sciences

Pilvikki Heikinaro-Johansson


University of Jyvaskyla



My first touch with the Spectrum was in 1979 when Professor Risto Telama, a good friend of Muska Mosston and Sara Ashworth, asked me to study what teaching styles teachers use in middle school PE lessons. I acted as a research assistant in a large research project on “School Physical Education” in which we observed hundreds of PE lessons. My focus was on different teaching styles and teacher behavior. From the beginning my interest in the Spectrum rouse from following ordinary PE lessons in schools and analyzing the teaching-learning process through the Spectrum lenses.

During my professional career as teacher educator I have been teaching the Spectrum with my colleagues in different courses to PETE students at the University of Jyvaskyla. The Spectrum is a very functional framework to be used in teacher education. Preservice teachers learn how they can best reach different PE goals; motor, cognitive, social and affective by using different teaching styles.

The Spectrum has been a central element for decades in a course called “Teacher as researcher” where students learn to plan, implement and analyze the teaching –learning process and to evaluate one’s own teaching behavior using different observation methods. When we call after qualitative PE lessons it means that PE teachers understand and are capable to use the effectively, in a meaningful way.

I met Muska Mosston and Sara Ashworth for the first time when they visited Department of Physical Education in early 1980’s. Muska’s and Sara’s Spectrum workshop impressed the staff members and many of us included the Spectrum to our classes. Later, I had the opportunity to attend a Nordic Seminar on Sport Pedagogy where Muska and Sara were key-note speakers. In 1984 Muska and in 1996 Sara were honored with an Honorary Doctorate by the Faculty of Sport and Health Science from the University of Jyvaskyla. We have continued interesting discussion about the Spectrum during my visit to Sara’s home in 2007 and 2009. I am excited about the 50th Anniversary celebration of the Spectrum in 2016 where the Spectrum researchers meet each other.

Since 1980’s the Spectrum has been a central element in Finnish PETE. Because University of Jyvaskyla educates PE teachers for the whole country the Spectrum is well known and widely used across different schools and institutes.

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