Antoinette Gentile | Mini Moments With Big Thinkers

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Mini Moments With Big Thinkers

Mini Moments With Big Thinkers

Antoinette Gentile

TC Professor Emeritus Antoinette Gentile, a leader in movement sciences and neuromotor research, taught for 44 years in TC's Department of Biobehavioral Sciences in the Movement Science and Education/Kinesiology Programs. She pioneered in applying theories of brain function in movement disorders to patient treatment. Previously, treatment had been shaped largely by defining the extent of damage to patients’ brains. Gentile, whose training encompassed neuro-anatomy, movement, motor learning and developmental research, focused instead on the impact of environment on brain function and the potential for behavioral change. She was an early champion of the notion of “neuroplasticity”—the concept that the brain can reorganize following trauma, shifting functions to new regions. In a 1972 paper titled “A Working Model of Skill Acquisition with Application to Teaching,” Gentile argued that neuromotor skills are acquired in distinct stages, with a performer’s current stage having implications for teaching or treatment. In a “Taxonomy of Tasks”—now ubiquitous in texts in the field—she grouped tasks according to the structure of the environment in which they are performed. Gentile and a TC colleague, Joe Higgins (now retired), also established the first graduate program in motor learning, now a major sub-discipline of physical education/kinesiology. To effectively teach motor skills, they believed, one needed to know how the learner learns. Many graduates became leaders in kinesiology, physical education and rehabilitation (especially physical therapy and occupational therapy).

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Premiered on 7/14/2013


In "Mini Moments with Big Thinkers," leading figures in Teachers College's history discuss groundbreaking ideas, research and initiatives born at the College during the past half-century. The Mini Moments are drawn from the College’s Oral History Project, a collection of more than 90 videotaped interviews conducted by Melanie Shorin and Jessica Wiederhorn, the principals of The Narrative Trust, a private firm that conducts and captures the oral histories of institutions, communities and individuals. Produced in conjunction with TC’s Department of Development and External Affairs, the Mini-Moments are airing throughout 2013.

More Big Thinkers

Nahas Angula

Ed.M., 1979; M.A., 1978

Leonard Blackman

Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Education

George Bonanno

Professor of Psychology and Education and Professor of Clinical Psychology

Warner Burke

Professor of Psychology & Education

George Bond

Professor of Anthropology and Education

Margaret Crocco

former TC Professor of Social Studies and Education

Morton Deutsch

E.L. Thorndike Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Education

Christopher Emdin

Assistant Professor of Science Education

Alumnus William Epps

Pastor, Second Baptist Church, Los Angeles

Celia Genishi

Professor of Education

Antoinette Gentile

Professor Emeritus, Movement Sciences

A. Lin Goodwin

Vice Dean and Professor of Education

Edmund Gordon

Richard March Hoe Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Education

Maxine Greene

William F. Russell Professor Emeritus in Foundations of Education

R. Douglas Greer

Professor of Psychology and Education

Jeffrey Henig

Professor of Political Science & Education, Department Chair, EPSA

Sharon Lynn Kagan

Marx Professor of Early Childhood and Family Policy

John B. King, Jr.

Ed.D. '08, New York State Commissioner of Education

Henry Levin

Professor of Economics & Education

Eric Nadelstern

Professor of Practice in Educational Leadership

Sandra Okita

Assistant Professor of Technology and Education

Michael Rebell

Professor of Law and Education

William Dodge Rueckert

Co-Chair, Teachers College Board of Trustees

Donna Shalala

President of the University of Miami, former TC faculty member

Gita Steiner-Khamsi

Professor of Education

Derald Wing Sue

Professor of Psychology and Education

Ruth Vinz

Program Coordinator, English Education

Cally L. Waite

Associate Professor of History and Education

Barbara Wallace

Professor of Health Education

Vivian Ota Wang

M. Phil. '94, Ph.D. '95

Howell Wechsler

Ed.D. '95 and 2012-2013 Tisch Lecturer

Dr. Ruth Westheimer

Sex Therapist, Author and Media Personality