Taba’s model and TQM

Published in Business World, August 9, 2001

FOR SOME TIME NOW, Hilda Taba’s model of curriculum development has been gaining huge acceptance among school administrators. Unknown to a quite number of educators, however, the model is parallel to the Total Quality Management (TQM) business model.

Hilda Taba’s approach to curriculum development, also referred to as the inverted model, begins with available information on and a needs assessment of the community and the school. It is anchored on the following steps: 1) needs assessment; 2) formulation of specific objectives; 3) content selection; 4) content organization; 5) evaluation; and 6) check for balance and sequence.

Taba’s model involves teachers in curriculum development. This gives them a level of commitment and ownership not common to other curriculum models, and better prepares them for implementation.

Taba’s model requires a supportive, cooperative classroom where the students and the teacher are able to express their ideas and opinions without fear of ridicule or reprimand. It allows ways of teaching children how to think, process information from many points of view and solve problems.

This functional nature of Taba’s model of curriculum development is reflective of TQM, a business philosophy committed to customer satisfaction and continuous improvement. TQM’s ingredients reflect the significant steps on which Taba’s model is anchored:

* Intense focus on customer satisfaction. Everyone in a TQM organization understands that his/her job exists only because of customer needs. Thus, each job must be approached in terms of how it will affect or impact on customer satisfaction. Taba’s model begins with a needs assessment. Any existing information is updated to determine the real needs of the school and its community.

* Value of internal as well as external customers. A TQM company stresses the role of internal customers in the same manner that the Taba model involves teachers in curriculum development. While the TQM organization values the importance of the external customer, it likewise believes in keeping its internal customers – which include its employees, business partners and suppliers – happy and committed to the firm. Taba’s model involves the teaching staff and employees to generate their commitment to and ownership of a program, with the goal of providing a more student-centered curriculum.

* Accurate measurement of every critical variable in a company’s operations. TQM organizations emphasize measures, appraisals and evaluations. Employees must be trained in what to measure, how to measure and how to interpret the data. This emphasis on measurement is necessary for a TQM company to improve what it can measure. Similarly, evaluation is one of the key steps espoused by Taba. According to Taba, programs should always be evaluated and revised as necessary. Measures of evaluation can include peer appraisal and student evaluations.

* Continuous improvement of products and services. Both the TQM and Taba models stress the importance of customer satisfaction and the value of measurement processes to continuously improve products and services of the business firm and the curriculum of the school organization.

* Network relationships based on trust and teamwork. A TQM company believes in empowering its people. This means giving employees wide latitude in how they achieve their company’s goals. Taba’s model also manifests the importance of acquiring the teachers’ involvement, commitment and ownership.

Both business and education models believe that success lies in the leadership’s commitment and an open organizational culture as exhibited in employee empowerment.

Both business and education models strive for continuous improvement and excellence in the delivery of goods and services. Both do not rely simply on operational procedures but on a philosophy of commitment to quality, aided by empowering employees and providing them with ownership values.

The impact of globalization and technology on many sectors of society is forcing Philippine educators to evaluate the country’s school curricula to make them more responsive to the demands and needs of the changing times. Emphasis, however, should be made on the realization of a curriculum that is needs-oriented. Hopefully, Philippine educators will be able to apply the lessons from both the TQM and Taba’s models.