ELAP: Stop Insulting Our Intelligence!

I spent a big part of last week responding to the first draft of the Entry Level Analysis Project (ELAP). I shared it on my social media several times and encouraged everyone in the massage profession to respond. While I do still encourage everyone to respond, I must say that I have some distress at the way this is being presented.

The powers that be seem to be worried that the massage community is lacking enough intelligence and ability to comprehend information. 

The framework being used to disseminate the first draft of the ELAP prevents anyone outside of the closed-door system that launched and produced this document from being able to read, comprehend and comment on it as a whole. Being restricted to viewing one learning objective at a time does not allow the reader to place individual elements in a larger context, which is vital for being able to properly evaluate this kind of work. We are finally being shown the Curriculum Map that the ELAP Workgroup developed, but only in small bits through a keyhole. This strategy is sure to reduce the number of people who would otherwise want to take the time to read and comment on something that is of potential importance to the field.

Over the past three years, people in our field have successfully reviewed and commented on two drafts each of the Massage Therapy Body of Knowledge and the Alliance’s Core Competencies for Massage Therapy Teachers — both lengthy and complex standards documents.

In addition, there are some other flaws in the document and the entire process. Instead of my repeating every word Sandy Fritz has said, I suggest you click on this link and read her blog. Fritz makes it very clear she wants this project to succeed, but brings to light a lot of issues that need to be corrected.

If you’re a regular reader, you know I haven’t been thrilled about this from the beginning–and I do mean the very beginning — starting with the way it was initially presented at a Leadership Summit when it was not on the approved agenda for discussion. If anyone other than Bob Benson, Chairman of ABMP, had done that, they would probably have been told to sit down and request that it be a possible agenda item for the next meeting.

In the meantime, I have warmed up to the idea — in theory — but I have some issues with the way it is presented. Like Sandy, I object to the document telling us how to teach. This is supposed to be about entry-level information and what that is–not how to get it across. There are also some faulty assumptions–like the one that all massage teachers are familiar with Bloom’s Taxonomy. Sorry to disappoint you, but some teachers couldn’t tell you what a taxonomy is if their life depended on it — particularly at those schools where last year’s students are this year’s teachers.

This is a research project. It’s not going to be the law — at least not in my lifetime. It’s intended to be the road map for what should be presented in entry-level massage programs. A lot of work has gone into it, and I do have appreciation that it has been a collaboration among our professional organizations. However, these organizations need to realize that there are intelligent people out here who want to look at the big picture instead of having it spoon-fed to us in kibbles and bits. I believe the Workgroup will get more and better feedback if the Curriculum Map as a whole was available for comment.

If you think this is a good idea, then contact the leaders of ABMP and AMTA. In the meantime, this is what we have, and I urge you to take the time to read it, take the surveys, and comment.

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