Reflections on Tyler

During the last lecture I had an interesting conversation with a few of my peers. The general consensus seemed to challenge the Tyler Rationale in that it promotes the “cookie cutter” style of curriculum in education—make all the students do the things we say so that they end up being the beautifully box-shaped minds that we want them to be.If this is not what we are meant to do in school, then what are we meant to do? I struggled with defining  what school is for the reason that school was created by a society that requires people to have a school education to survive. The Tyler Rationale fits the needs that society requires of school. I have a hard time coming up with any other ways to do school. If we change the way school is done, that means changing culture and society, which is a giant task to put on my shoulders.

Getting a school education is seen as a right in society. It gives students the general education, which is to learn to read, write, do math, learn social skills, and basically learn the things that are required to function in the North American culture and society. Beyond learning what is needed to function is getting a post-secondary education; it is not seen as a right, but rather as a privilege that is becoming a requirement to make a decent living. How can I, as one person, change society in that it will not require school to create a certain product required to function and survive in society?

Perhaps when I have these thoughts and feel the burden of making big change, it is better to not focus so much on the larger issue, but the issue at hand. The Saskatchewan curriculum has obviously been influenced by the Tyler Rationale. I agree with the discussion we had in the lecture about being imaginative and creative with the curriculum, and using it as the guide that it is. Just because there are outcomes, doesn’t mean that the 30 students in my class are going to end up as identical little square boxes. There is no way I am going to have 30 grade 1 students sitting in a desk all day doing rote memorization. And if I recall correctly, I didn’t do that when I was in school either.

I recall having standardized testing in high school, and it was fine for me. I was fortunate in that book learning came very easily to me. Writing a standardized test was no problem for me, and I generally scored well. Now, did I score well because I have been trained to learn a certain North American, white privileged way? Most likely. For those that didn’t fit into my category, I’m sure the testing was awful and marked them as incompetent students. If the Tyler Rationale supports standardized testing, I dislike the Tyler Rationale. If the Tyler Rationale supports creativity in teaching and how certain outcomes are taught, then I like the Tyler Rationale. It appears I both like and dislike the Tyler Rationale!

I guess what I’m saying is that the Tyler Rationale is what a person makes of it. It seems general enough to be applied to many good and bad things about curriculum. It can be applied to standardized testing, which would encompass step number 4, but that doesn’t mean that it limits step number 4 in that it must include standardized testing. Absolute freedom in curriculum could lead to problems, but so can strict rules. I see the Tyler Rationale as broad enough to allow flexibility in curriculum, but also narrow enough to create a guideline. It might just work if applied in the correct way.


One thought on “Reflections on Tyler

  1. sarahreimer education says:

    Kim! Excellent post. I really enjoyed reading it. I like how you talked about how changing school would mean changing society. I think that is quite true, and very interesting to think about because if we think that a certain way of teaching could create a mismatch between societies expectations for its members, it can be a scary yet extremely valuable and motivating opportunity! I think that it is such an amazing and crazy responsibility to be basically modelling and representing the world and how we should live in it to students! Wow. What an opportunity.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Kim 🙂


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