Central to the mission of the Alliance is the commitment to strengthen and improve the quality of massage therapy education. In support of this, the Alliance has begun work on a comprehensive effort called the Teacher Education Standards Project (TESP). The initial phase of the project involved the development of the competency standards for teachers, which is broadly applicable across the continuum of entry-level, continuing education, advanced massage therapy training programs and specialty certification programs. Overall, the goal of the TESP is to create a culture of teaching excellence in our field.
The Teacher Education Standards Project (TESP) will be carried out through a progression of five phases:
- The Alliance’s Professional Standards Committee issued the final draft of the Core Competencies for Massage Therapy Teachers. A first draft of this document was sent to Alliance Members for review in advance of the 2011 Annual Massage Conference in Charleston, SC on August 18-20, 2011. At this meeting, discussion forums were held to receive feedback from the education community on the proposed standards. Following the Massage Conference, the Committee reviewed both verbal and submitted written comments, and a second draft was presented at the 2012 Annual Massage Conference for public comment by the massage therapy field. This last round of input will be considered as the final document is prepared for adoption.
- Once the standards are defined in the competencies document, a model teacher training curriculum will be created as a recommended template.
- That will lead to the next phase, which is the identification and development of teacher training resources.
- To create a way for teachers to demonstrate they have achieved the competencies, a voluntary certification program will be established.
- The final step will involve working with national accrediting commissions and state regulatory agencies to incorporate these teacher education standards.
Overall, it’s estimated this project will take 5-10 years.
To date, the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education has completed Phase 1 of its National Teacher Education Standards Project, and is pleased to announce the publication of the Core Competencies for Massage Therapy Teachers. This document – the first of its kind in the massage therapy field – describes the foundational knowledge, skills and attitudes (KSAs) needed for teachers to produce successful and consistent outcomes with adult learners in a variety of educational settings.
This is beginning of a long-term effort to create a culture of teaching excellence in our field. To that end, the competencies document are presented in a set of ten standards, each of which describe the knowledge, skills and attitudes which form the basis for effective and successful teaching.
Attendees at the 2012 Annual Conferences played an integral role in this process. Through dedicated feedback sessions, massage school directors, teachers, CE providers and representatives of the primary stakeholder organizations in our field provided valuable input on the initial versions of the competencies. We also sent a preliminary draft to our members for comment. This feedback was utilized by the committee in development of the final document.
Following a public comment period of 60 days, the committee reviewed all feedback submitted and made needed revisions to bring the Core Competencies document to completion.
This NEW searchable database of educational resources is to help massage teachers achieve competency in the TESP standards. This Teacher Education Resource database was compiled by a group of massage therapy education professionals. A variety of media (e.g. websites, books, suggested trainings) included that relates to each of the TESP standards. Start your search now.
The members of the Teacher Standards Committee are: Rebecca Blessing (chair), Debra Curties, Stan Dawson (liaison to the Board of Directors), Holly Foster, Sandy Fritz, Sandy Grover Mason, Gloria Lawrence, Mable Sharp, Dawn Saunders, Cherie Sohnen-Moe, and Lucas R. Zarlengo. This group of education professionals has brought a deep well of experience and a diverse range of perspectives to this vitally important process.
With Phase 1 now finished, the Alliance moves into Phases 2 and 3, which involve the creation of a model teacher training curriculum and the identification and development of training resources. To ensure that teachers have achieved the competencies, a voluntary certification program will be established as Phase 4. The final step will involve working with school accreditors and regulators to incorporate these teacher education standards. Overall, it’s estimated the TESP will take 5-10 years.