Reflection #2 (Tyler’s Rationale)

Curriculum development from a traditionalist perspective is widely used across schools in Canada and other countries. Think about: (a) The ways in which you may have experience the Tyler rationale in your own schooling; (b) What are the major limitations of the Tyler rationale/what does it make impossible; and (c) What are some potential benefits/what is made possible. Be sure to refer to the assigned article in your post; you may also include information from lecture if you wish.

Education and teaching have been tied to organization, and a systematic process related to curriculum theory and practice. The Tyler rationale has contributed and is widely recognized to the development of curriculum and instruction, still being used today. This dominant theory focuses on four basic sections, which are setting objectives, selecting learning experiences, organized instruction, and evaluating progress. In the article, Curriculum Theory and Practice, by Mark K. Smith, the article acknowledges the idea of curriculum and how it has been understood and theorized over the years in the teaching profession.

Going back to my elementary and high school years, which was not that long ago. I can say I did experience elements that echoed The Tyler rationale. I was taught subjects through systematic lessons in which the end goal was a formal examination administered by the teacher, graded and recorded. In addition, when I talk to my parents, there are similarities but also variants to this process that occurred in the generations that divide us. They talk about writing province wide examinations, regulated, administered and mandatory in all grades by all students. They gathered together in auditoriums, the day of the exams and everyone sat down to write these exams, grade specific and again province wide. As they describe this, I realize this type of systematic curriculum still continued for me. Teachers taught lessons/units and we as students studied the material, learning, and cramping the information as unit tests loomed in the air. This repeated over and over, in every subject and every grade. Eventually, every once and awhile there was an approach used that was familiar in these steps but also different. There was a divergent step or option, we the students were offered varying objectives to choose from, other than a formal, sit down exam. I remember in grade eleven, English Language Arts, the end assignment was given but this time there was an opportunity to the assignment. Presented to us were four options to complete the unit/lesson. In addition, if there was something, we thought would be an alternative, the student could review this with the teacher, get approval and use it for the assignment. This of course would have met the objectives and curriculum set forth but it did involve the learners themselves. So, learning is planned and guided but there was support being offered for the learners to be involved with planning.

Going back to The Tyler rationale, its platform can and has been criticized because of limitations and how it could have a negative impact on the learners themselves. Having everyone, no matter their unique learning styles, sit down and write a test could prevent true evaluation of each individual’s knowledge comprehension. For example, students that are not good test takers, ones that have test anxiety, writing formal tests could make it difficult to understand what they really know. On the other hand, even with limitations like these, there also are benefits to formal testing. Formal testing, may provide valuable information as to where students fit alongside their peers. Also, it will gauge were your students are aligning with other students in the province. This benefit will allow teachers to better support and adapt the learning needs of the learner. The Tyler rationale therefore will bring supports but also will carry cons that would need to be recognized by the teacher, especially when the educational needs of future learners continue to develop and evolve.  

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