ELAP Work Group Members Announced

Anne Williams of ABMP has confirmed to me today the members of the group that are working on the Entry-Level Analysis Project that I have been blogging about for the past few weeks. Since the secrecy surrounding this project has been my main complaint about it, I will share that information here.  The members are:

Cynthia Ribeiro, President of AMTA (National), educator, and school owner.

Tom Lochhaas, University-level educator, author, editor with 24 years experience in developing college-level textbooks and ancillaries.

Elan Schacter, Massage therapist, instructor, text reviewer, contributing author.

Clint Chandler, Massage therapist and instructor, experienced in curriculum development.

Rick Garbowski, Massage therapist and instructor, experienced in curriculum development.

Jim O’Hara, Instructional designer.

Anne Williams, Director of Education for ABMP.

Williams stated that she was in the process of compiling the comments of those who were present at the Leadership Summit; that everyone present was now in support of it, and that much more information about the project would be forthcoming in the next two weeks. She further stated that this was intended to be a research project, and that what people do with the information will be their choice. As I said in my last blog, neither ABMP, AMTA, or any of the other organizations present at the Leadership Summit are regulatory organizations, and none of them have the power to dictate legislation. (Clarification: the FSMTB is an organization of regulatory boards, but is not regulatory in and of itself).

I am acquainted with several of the people on the work group. Cynthia Rebeiro, Pat Archer, and Elan Schacter do good work in all they endeavor to do. I would have liked it if this information had been put out there immediately, along with the rest of the details, but you don’t always get what you want. And actually, the fact that you don’t always get what you want is sometimes a good thing. As I also previously stated, the wheels of legislation turn very slowly…and just because our organizations want something to happen doesn’t mean it’s going to. If the evidence produced by this project turns out to show that 750 hours ought to be required for entry-level education, it will take many years for that to happen in every state. That’s my prediction, and I’ll be glad to take any bets on that.

I’ve been reviewing COMTA standards for the past couple of days in preparation for a site visit, and it would be great if those were a requirement for every school. I think the quality of education would increase exponentially if every school had to jump through the hoops to prove they’re doing things diligently and going beyond what most of the state boards require. I’ve also been revisiting the MTBOK, and while I still have a few issues with it, I certainly hope it is taken into consideration.

I personally still think that education should be about quality, and not quantity. 500 hours is arbitrary to me–and so is 750. Look at some of the Canadian provinces…their required hours are 4 digit numbers. Those are arbitrary too, when it comes down to it. It should be about competency, not about hours. From my own experience, and someone has made this comment to me before–in entry-level massage school, you learn what not to do. It’s when you begin practicing that you begin knowing what to do. My real education started when I walked out the massage school door, and it’s been that way for a lot of us.

This project is going to be released for comment in a couple of weeks, according to Williams. I urge everyone to take the opportunity to comment–beyond any job task analysis survey that gets spread around. Those show tasks, and don’t reflect opinion. This is of too much magnitude to the profession for opinion not to be considered. School owners in particular need to speak up. If you run a 500 hour school, how many of you can afford to increase that be 250 hours? How many would just fold? I advise you not to sit on your hands.  It’s like an election. If you don’t vote, you can’t complain, and complaining after the fact doesn’t have any impact. Express your opinion.

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