Routledge Encyclopedia of Language Teaching and Learning

By Michael Byram | Go to book overview

Q

Quality management

Quality management is an approach developed in industrial contexts in the 1940s and 1950s and principally in the USA and JAPAN. It seeks to eliminate errors and defects in production processes by careful analysis of the function of individual elements, by attention to good design and, crucially, by giving responsibility for quality to the workers involved in production. One version of the approach is known as Total Quality Management or TQM, which introduced slogans such as 'zero defects', 'get it right the first time, all the time, every time'. When the approach is applied to service industries, where there is no tangible product, quality is frequently defined through customer or client charters or guarantees promising standards of service-such as the guaranteed punctuality of trains or the promise of prompt and courteous service in hotels. Quality management is divided into quality assurance-the steps taken to ensure quality in production processes or systems of providing services-and quality control-the verification, either internally in the organisation or by an external body, that standards are being kept.


Applications to language teaching

The concepts and techniques of quality management have been explicitly applied to language teaching since the 1980s, though elements of both quality assurance and quality control have long been present in the activities of schools and institutions. The development of CLASSROOM OBSERVATION SCHEMES and ACTION RESEARCH are clearly concerned with the analysis of performance, and NEEDS ANALYSIS is a prerequisite for proper design of language learning activities. These are features of quality assurance. Quality control has been carried out by school inspectors since the nineteenth century and, specifically for private English language schools in the United Kingdom, through the inspection schemes of the Department of Education and Science and, after 1982, by the recognition scheme administered by the BRITISH COUNCIL at the request of ARELS. In this scheme, schools are inspected by external inspectors, usually on a two-day visit to the school, and must achieve satisfactory grades in categories such as Teaching, Teacher Qualifications, Management, Premises, Welfare, etc. The name of the scheme is now the English in Britain Accreditation Scheme and includes the institutions of BASELT (the British Association of State English Language Teaching) as well as private language schools.

In the 1990s there was considerable development in society in general of consumer awareness; that the customer has the right to receive well-made goods and services provided efficiently. In competitive markets, commercial organisations reacted to consumer demand by creating ways of labelling quality-the certificate of guaranteed verification that a product or service is meeting established and declared standards. This consumer awareness also affected the world of language education, most obviously in the competitive field of private language schools. The movement, however, has also influenced public institutions, which in many countries have obtained more autonomy with a concomitant requirement to be

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Routledge Encyclopedia of Language Teaching and Learning
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vi
  • Editorial Team vii
  • Introduction xiii
  • Acknowledgements xvii
  • Thematic List of Entries xviii
  • A 1
  • B 73
  • C 90
  • D 169
  • E 188
  • F 217
  • G 228
  • H 254
  • Bibliography 259
  • I 288
  • J 316
  • L 325
  • M 394
  • N 436
  • O 452
  • P 458
  • Q 499
  • R 504
  • S 522
  • Bibliography 577
  • T 595
  • Bibliography 643
  • U 644
  • V 658
  • W 673
  • Index 679
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