Alliance Publishes Teacher Standards Document

February 4, 2013. The Alliance for Massage Therapy Education has completed Phase 1 of its National Teacher Education Standards Project, and has announced the publication of the Core Competencies for Massage Therapy Teachers. This document 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.

These comprehensive standards apply to the work of teachers across the entire continuum of massage therapy education, from entry-level training programs to post-graduate studies. They also apply to teachers throughout the arc of their professional careers.

In December 2010, the Alliance launched the National Teacher Education Standards Project (TESP) as part of its long-term commitment to strengthen and improve the quality of massage therapy education. This endeavor is both timely and essential because the majority of instructors in this field have not received formal training in the theory and methodology of teaching. As well, there are few jurisdictions that uphold competency standards for massage therapy teachers.

The Core Competencies will provide guidance to classroom teachers, continuing education providers, schools, national accrediting commissions, state regulatory agencies and other organizations in the massage therapy field.

The National Teacher Education Standards Project (TESP) will be carried out through a series of five phases: 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.

The Alliance’s Professional Standards Committee was responsible for the development of this document. A diverse group of experienced teachers, CE providers, and massage school directors researched existing teacher standards throughout the realms of public education and specialized professional education. The committee incorporated some of these well-researched templates, adding to them the unique nature and attributes of massage therapy education. Throughout the process, important feedback on working drafts was obtained from attendees at the Alliance’s 2011 and 2012 Annual Conferences, as well as through public comment periods.

According to Alliance President Pete Whitridge, LMT, “The establishment of the Core Competencies is a landmark achievement in the massage therapy field. Now that these standards are in place, we are shifting our focus to the practical tasks of implementation. In the months and years to come, the Alliance will provide resources to assist individuals and institutions in the process of meeting these standards, for the ultimate benefit of students and clients of massage therapy.”

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