The Tyler Rationale

There are a couple of examples that come to mind in my schooling which relate to Tyler’s rationale and ideas around curriculum. One example that sticks out quite clearly for me would be my math classes, especially in high school. We were taught how to find the answers to problems in particular ways, and that was exactly the way we had to do it. I remember there was one unit that I was struggling with, and when I asked for help, my teacher didn’t even know how to teach it a different way. I went around to multiple teachers in my high school and there was only one who had a different way of explaining it. There were also many times when during a test, I could come up with a formula that worked and find the right answer, but if I didn’t do the question exactly the way we were taught, I would lose marks. Another example is the reading tests we had to do where we were taken aside to read to the teachers, and we were graded in comparison to our classmates. We were then given a reading level and had to pick books according to that level.

Tyler’s rationale creates this idea that if we can see the end goal and we know where we need to get, then we just need to figure out the steps to get there and that these steps will work in the same way for everyone, which is not the case. Another problem with this idea is that it puts educators in a position where they teach us what to think, rather than how. This greatly limits educators and gives them very little room for creativity. Furthermore, this theory only focuses on the results, and not the steps and the learning it takes to get there. This takes away any opportunity for students to learn how to think critically.

Although I don’t see many, there are a couple positives to this Tyler’s rationale. The first that comes to mind is that everything is taught in an organized way. Everyone is learning the same things in the way, at the same time which, in theory, makes it easier to teach. This theory simplifies teaching for educators as it clearly lays out everything they need to teach and how they should go about it; and it allows them to plan their time accordingly. Even though this is not the most effective way to teach, seeing that everyone learns differently and at a different rate, it is an easy way to teach concepts quickly and with less confusion.

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