Reading Response 2: The Tyler Rationale

It is clear that Ralph Tyler has made a lasting impression on curriculum theory and practice because of the presence of his rationale still in schools today. In my schooling experience, I cannot remember a period of time I went without experiencing the Tyler rationale in some way. If I think back to Kindergarten, I can still see the ways my desk was arranged when I left for the day: straight in rows, tidy inside, indoor shoes placed together on top of my desk, and a green chart in the corner with gold stars for good behaviour that day. My view towards school, and my desk, from five years of age was orderly and systematic before I was even aware of it. Ralph Tyler said, “the real purpose of education is not to have the instructor perform certain activities but to bring about significant changes in the students’ pattern of behaviour,”  and as I got older, I became more aware of how schools were making me behave. Each first day, I would hear the purpose of my teacher’s topics, the content of the topics, how and when they would teach it, and when our test day was. We had to follow along with this rationale because if we didn’t, or acted outside of this, we would be punished by receiving a bad grade or loss of privileges.

One of the major limitations of the Tyler rationale is the dismissal of context. Ralph Tyler believed nothing outside of the classroom mattered to the student’s performance if the system in place was right. This is a huge limitation because different students have different needs, and the Tyler rationale does not cater to anything outside of what is efficient. The Tyler rationale puts emphasis on being efficient, spending as little time as possible when teaching a new subject before evaluation. By having little time to teach a subject, students must be good learners in order to do well on the evaluation, which is not always the case because of the varying needs of students. “They are told what they must learn and how they will do it.” Students who are not good learners, or have varying abilities, will be marginalized for not being as orderly and systematic as the Tyler rationale requires them to be. The Tyler rationale makes catering to students varying learning needs and abilities impossible because of its extreme emphasis on systematic efficiency, organization, and evaluation. 

One of the benefits of the Tyler rationale is having an outcome in mind. Students and teachers are able to plan and organize what they are learning towards a specific product stated. Working towards a product can be beneficial for students who like to understand the purpose of what they are learning, the content they are studying, how they will organize their learning, and what they will be tested on. The Tyler rationale makes teaching like a factory: efficient, organized, and systematic. By making teaching like a factory, it is now possible for anybody to pick up the curriculum and teach it the same way regardless of the students or their home lives: efficiently, organized, and systematic, like a factory. 

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