Hilda Taba - Approach


Because Taba died in her sixties while she was still an inspiring educator, her students continued her work. Many of her students, who were members of the Institute for Staff Development in Miami, used Taba’s ideas to create four thinking strategies known as the Taba approach. The four strategies are concept development, interpretation of data, application of generalizations, and interpretations of feelings, attitudes and values. Using all four strategies, the Taba approach’s goal is to facilitate students in thinking more efficiently. Based on Taba’s methods, “to think” means “helping them to formulate data into conceptual patterns, to verbalize relationships between discrete segments of data, to make inferences from data, to make generalizations on the basis of data and to test these generalizations, and to become sensitive to such corollary relationships as cause and effect and similarities and differences.”

Taba’s strategies for encouraging students to think focus on the teacher as the mediator rather than the teacher as the lecturer. When utilizing the Taba approach, the teacher leads the discussion but encourages the students to share their opinions and to relate their own ideas to their peers’ ideas. The teacher must not judge the students by their answers and can neither agree nor disagree with their responses. Phrases such as “That’s not quite what I had in mind,” are not acceptable when using the Taba approach. Even positive phrases such as “Correct,” or “Now you’re thinking,” are too judgmental for teachers to say. Along with verbal feedback, the teacher should avoid giving nonverbal cues such as smiling during certain students’ responses and scratching his or her head during other students’ responses. The teacher’s role in the discussion is to encourage the students to expand on their classmates’ ideas or to ask students to clarify their own ideas.

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