After the crazy ride that was 2020, 2021 has certainly provided its own ups and downs in the world and in our profession. While we all expectantly planned and hoped for the return of our annual gathering, health and safety concerns involving the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the AMTA National Convention for the second year in a row. This did not derail the Assembly of Delegates (AOD) from their work as they once more held their meeting virtually. Christopher Jones and Daniele Sarkisian represented the Massachusetts chapter at this year’s meeting.
On August 12, 2021, the AOD meeting was held via the GoToWebinar platform. We were welcomed by Lee Stang, the moderator who welcomed and introduced our AMTA president, Steve Albertson. In the past year and a half our lives have changed along with our educational experiences and ways of communication with groups and organizations.
This year’s Discussion Topic was submitted by the AMTA’s National Board of Directors. Our questions for discussion involved distance learning, and included:
∙ What possible changes do you see to AMTA policy as it relates to the specific considerations of what does it mean to be considered “in class” when synchronous and asynchronous learning options become increasingly available?
∙ What do you see as possible changes to what the profession considers appropriate content for distance learning?
We, 64 Delegates representing 43 state chapters, separated into break out rooms for discussion and reported back to the assembly as a whole our thoughts and ideas on the topic at hand. Many of the groups reported similar lines of thought and many shared ideas on what we think distance learning could look like for the profession.
Much of the discussion revolved around core education. A particularly charged line of conversation revolved around the idea that a hands-on profession needs a larger measure of in person hands-on education than other professions. Questions of professional validity and public image in light of the amount of in-person instruction are major considerations as well.
The AMTA wants to be able to support the profession by offering sensible guidelines in this matter of distance and in-person education. It is the opinion of the AOD that distance learning has its place in massage education, but that accepted practices and recommendations must be made responsibly to reflect the necessary skills required of a hands-on profession. In this light, numerous follow-up questions have been offered to further the discussion on the topic.
Respectfully submitted and attended by your delegates,