Who was she?
Dr. Gertrude Moskowitz († 2021) was born on April 14th 1928, in Toledo, Ohio. Her parents were Ida and Hyman Rothenstein. She met Merle Moskowitz in college, and they married in 1950. Shortly after, they moved to Philadelphia and then to Bala Cynwyd, where they brought up their two children, Jan and Lynne. They later divorced.
Dr. Moskowitz, affectionately known to all as Trudy, was a woman ahead of her time. She was one of the first female tenured professors at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she worked as a language teacher trainer for 35 years, touching, both directly and indirectly, the lives of tens of thousands of students, trainees and colleagues.
Incorporating the Flanders System of Interaction Analysis in the Foreign Language classroom, she introduced and developed the ground-breaking notion that teaching should be participatory and not merely a spectator sport where students were expected to sit humbly in awe of their teachers and learn either through bored submission or by managing to navigate and bypass massive egos. Trudy Moskowitz understood the effectiveness of a personal, student-centred approach, encouraging engagement and interaction between teachers and students and among the students themselves.
Trudy’s long and varied career included preparing Peace Corp volunteers and helping doctors with their bedside manner, but was always marked by one common thread, and that was her untiring effort to help and bring out the best in people, by embracing the personal and human aspect of communication and relationships.
Trudy Moskowitz passed away on October 10th, 2021, at the age of 93.
Trudy Moskowitz graduated summa cum laude in 1949 from Ohio State University. Subsequently, at Temple University she was awarded an M.Ed (1961) and a PhD (1966), for which she received the Phi Delta Gamma Doctoral Award, Honorary Mention for Outstanding Contribution to Research Scholarship, and Community Activities.
Trudy began her career in education as a teacher of Spanish in elementary and secondary schools (1949-50) and later at Temple University (1959-62), where she also lectured in Secondary Education (1962-64). She was Assistant Professor, Curriculum and Instruction (1966-74), and full Professor of Secondary Education (1974- 2000).
Throughout the 70s and early 80s, Trudy was in great demand as a speaker and workshop leader in Canada, Israel, Mexico and Japan. In 1978 she published her widely acclaimed book Caring and Sharing in the Foreign Language Class: A Sourcebook on Humanistic Techniques. She continued facilitating workshops and giving keynote talks until the late 90s, and she went on collaborating with various school districts and universities as an educational consultant.
In 1981 Trudy received the Educator of the Year Award from the Pennsylvania State Modern Language Association.
Temple University Library is assembling a special collection of Trudy Moskowitz’s work and is digitising relevant material donated to the university by her family.
Trudy Moskowitz had a driving commitment to her career and her students, along with a profound awareness of the importance of family. Despite being a busy professional, teaching evening classes, researching, writing books and articles, and giving talks, workshops and presentations around the world, she always made time for her family. She was passionate about human beings and helping other people. She was also fascinated by human interaction on a multi-cultural level and was an avid proponent of interaction in her classes, always advocating equality and dialogue. Indeed, it is a testament to her devotion to teaching that her children and grandchildren have all worked as educators throughout their careers.
She possessed a natural curiosity and was a voracious reader. he enjoyed travelling and learning about other cultures and also had a fondness for sweet treats, which she shared with the many students who visited her home.
Jan M. Zacharjasz (Daughter)
Teacher Influence: Pupil Attitudes and Achievement, Studies in Interaction Analysis
Ned. A Flanders
Fundamentals of Co-Counseling Manual
The Human Side of Human Beings: The Theory of Re-Evaluation Counseling
Mirrors for Behavior II: An Anthology of Observation Instruments Volumes A & B
Anita Simon, E. Gil Boyer
Interview with Dr. Abraham Maslow
Place in HLT
Marco Zanoni, a partially-retired principal from the Philadelphia School District, spoke very fondly of his former teacher, highlighting how she touched the lives of thousands of educators, reaching out to all of them in many different ways. She withstood the test of time in Temple University, participating both directly and indirectly in many educational programmes over a span of fifty years, successfully blending cultural, ethnic and socio-economic diversity with absolute inclusivity.
Gertrude A. Moskowitz is remembered as a kind, compassionate and caring person who dedicated endless hours to her profession with tremendous passion. A labour of love, making each class perfect and perfectly tailored to the needs of each and every one of her students.
Dr. Cheryl Ochs, a former student and teaching associate, recalls how “Trudy excelled at modelling and demonstrating empathetic behaviours in her own teaching style. She was able to demonstrate in her classes the sharp distinction between the effects on her students of excessive authoritarian behaviours compared to extensive use of empathetic behaviours. We loved her teaching approach, which was in sharp contrast to most of our other teachers….Trudy was always open to new approaches for lifelong learning and self-actualisation”.