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TQM In Schools

Posted By: Alan Jones on September 3, 2014
Why to we continue to have these conversations? Best to return to W. Edwards Deming himself, the inventor of continuous improvement---who repeatedly said (to the point of disavowing TQM itself) that his statistical control techniques used at Toyota could never be applied in the service sector --- education being one of those sectors he mentioned. His rationale for this comment is based on all the reasons listed in this response, but more importantly, he describes what he named as an "end-point" mentality, which for car manufacturing or flying a plane, is healthy and required, but in a social service industry can drive out the crucial role "judgement" plays in the messy world of classrooms. Observing a teacher conduct a test-preparation lesson is one terrible example of what can happen in end-point classrooms. The truth about teaching, as pointed out by Gary Fenstermacher, is that we will never know what instructional behaviors/techniques or combination of instructional behaviors/techniques will result in students developing deep understandings of a discipline. What is left to us in schools, is the continual development of patterns of teaching behaviors that contain the possibility of creating in classrooms levels of discourse, methods of inquiry, and levels of thinking that educators believe will best offer the opportunities for the habits of thought and behavior exhibited by an educated individual. I know the picture I paint of teacher evaluation is too messy for my corporate/CEO/engineering counter-parts, but, in the words of W.Edwards Deming, there are some activities in life that will never be able to be measured, nor should they.
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 TQM In Schools by Alan Jones on September 3, 2014
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