Total Quality Learning (TQL) was pioneered at Mt. Edgecumbe High School in Sitka, Alaska and is now utilized in schools and school districts across the country. TQL provides methods and tools for:
- developing student responsibility
- promoting problem solving complex thinking
- teaching students to evaluate the quality of their own work and that of others
In quality classrooms around the country, including some in Hawai’i, students develop class purpose, vision, and mission statements; work with their teachers to design curriculum units; and conduct student-led conferences to demonstrate their progress and areas of needed improvement to their parents.
In the book Quality Fusion, Margaret Byrnes of Quality Education Associates describes a holistic approach to utilizing a total quality approach in the classroom.
These eleven points help to distinguish and describe the “total quality” approach bing used by Voyager:
- The teacher demonstrates leadership (facilitator instead of boss).
- The mission, goals and academic integrity of the class are absolutely clear.
- All work is pertinent and flows from the students.
- Course content is connected to the surrounding community and the real world.
- The student is not only treated as a “worker,” but also as a team member of the “research and development” department.
- Peer teaching; small group work, and teamwork are emphasized.
- Aesthetic experience is provided to enhance learning.
- Classroom processes include reflection.
- The teaching/learning system undergoes constant evaluation.
- New activities constantly evolve from old activities.
- There is an audience beyond the teacher.