East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania
The Spectrum of Teaching Styles is a tradition in the East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania (ESU) physical education teacher education program. The first edition of Teaching Physical Education (1966) was used in 1967 in the physical education methods class I took as an undergraduate. By the time I returned to teach at ESU in 1972, Muska and Rudy Mueller had been teaching there for two years and had firmly established the Spectrum as the centerpiece of the physical education teaching methods class.
Muska embodied a passion for teaching. He was the most exuberant, inquisitive, energetic and engaging educator I ever encountered. The first time I met him in 1965, he was enthusiastically presenting his Rutgers University students' performances of their creations from his developmental movement model. Throughout the next three decades I had the pleasure of being a colleague, co-presenter and friend. I attended numerous presentations on the Spectrum at conferences all across the country. Time and time again Muska captured his audiences in the first five minutes and had them focused on his every word and animated nonverbal gestures. Even more impressive, is that he captivated his undergraduate students – those he was with for more than a conference appearance or workshop. In 1992, he returned to ESU and after just one year of teaching, the physical education student body honored him with the 1993 Phi Epsilon Kappa Outstanding Teacher Award, as well as a standing ovation when he came in to teach his last class.
Whereas audiences were wooed by his rhetoric, profound ideas and lively demeanor, his university students had a chance to experience the self-enhancing Eureka! Ah-has he delivered through the purposeful use of the Spectrum of Teaching Styles.
As a teacher educator at ESU for over thirty-five years, I depended on the Spectrum of Teaching Styles to provide the framework from which our physical education professors and teacher education candidates could make sound teaching style choices. The Spectrum is now embedded throughout the undergraduate and graduate curricula. First and second year undergraduate students initially experience learning physical education content through the modeling of the Spectrum by their professors. In their junior and senior classes students begin a progression of incorporating the Spectrum in their own lesson plans and practicing the styles as they implement episodes to full lessons. In student teaching they independently choose appropriate styles to fit their objectives and learners. As graduate students they embark on sequencing and combining styles to match learning outcomes and assessments congruent with a variety of state and national standards.
The Spectrum of Teaching Styles is timeless. The framework is so enduring that it has provided answers for teachers' teaching style choices through decades of educational reform. Whether the cry was time-on-task, outcomes, critical thinking, standards, or assessment; the Spectrum framework was and is a reliable and fitting source for matching the standard, type of thinking, objective and/or assessment with the teaching styles that engage students in learning. Muska was brilliant! The framework he discovered in the sixties and revised and refined with Sara is meeting the needs of education in the new millennium! I am forever in their debt.
Just as Muska's work has been an important part of my career as a teacher educator, his friendship was an important part of my life. He was exuberant when his students learned: he would sit in my office at ESU in 1992-1993 after teaching a class, recount every nuance of his students' discoveries and revel in their joy. I cherished those moments. He was, also, contrary to popular belief, a good listener. He artfully asked the right questions and empowered one to solve their own problems. He was a tireless cheerleader, pushing and prodding as I went through the arduous process of gaining my doctorate. I remember his final push being a thoughtful look at my license plate (which just so happened to start with ABD) and making a tongue-in-cheek remark about whether I was going to allow the state of PA to predict my future! He enchanted Rudy's and my son Kirk with his many-pocketed vest, urging him to go through each one until he found his surprise: a harmonica! And, with a twinkle in his eye, Muska took it out, played a lively tune, handed it to Kirk and then taught him to play! What a memorable gift! What a memorable man.
Now that I am newly retired, I look forward to working with Sara, the guardian and renovator of the Spectrum, and my ESU colleagues to continue the work of promoting the Spectrum of Teaching Styles in the United States as well as around the world.
About Sue: Sue was the Coordinator of the undergraduate physical education teacher education program from 1988-2004 and of the physical education graduate program from 2004-2008.