Curriculum Theory and Practice: Tyler Rationale

The Tyler rationale is still used in many schools today. In my own experience being in school especially at the high school level this way of learning curriculum was very present. When I was in high school the main goal as a student wasn’t really to learn the material, it was more so, finish this so I can pass the class. The reason it felt like this was because the students are expected to complete a massive amount of work in a short time with little creativity or opportunity to learn in a way that best suites them. The students constantly are having to meet requirements and do several tasks that make it feel like you just have to get the to do list done whether you learn or not. Many students are slower at learning certain subjects and deal with having to just reiterate a textbook on a test to finish and move on to the next task at hand. I am someone who is a very visual learner and don’t get the most out of my learning if I am only reading out of a textbook. This Tyler rationale isn’t a process or approach to learning that works for every student.

              Some limitations of the Tyler rationale would be causing the learners to have “little to no voice” (Smith, 2000 pg. 4). Although this isn’t the goal it tends to happen as the students aren’t given as many opportunities to express their own learning and understanding, rather they just take in information. Another problem is that students are told what they must learn and how they will learn it (Smith, 2000 pg. 4). This can be problematic as so many students learn differently and in their own way. There are so many ways we can teach a certain subject or topic and we shouldn’t have to limit the way we teach instead we should explore as many options as possible so our students can learn in their own way. Many times there are certain objectives that need to be covered and it can tend to feel like a to do list where you just go and check things off even though that task might not be fully understood by the students. This way of teaching the curriculum is very process based and not giving the opportunity to explore the topic in other dimensions of life or past experiences.

              The benefits would be that as a teacher all of your students are checking off every objective needed to be learned and if they can check off the objective they can continue moving onto the next task. This can also make the teachers work a lot easier because they teach the subject one way and expect the students to also learn the same way and show that on the test. It can make the teaching of the subject easier as you just teach the topic as it is. This process approach makes it easy to explain expectations and to plan as you go through certain steps of instruction followed by a form of assessment. This isn’t the best way to teach but it is a way that many teachers default to when they don’t know how to teach in other ways or to make the task simpler and to the point.

              Although Tyler had many good questions and expectations for this way of learning, it doesn’t support every student in the classroom nor does it support every teacher. Every teacher and student will learn and teach differently depending on their preference and experiences. Learning shouldn’t be just checking off a box to say that you understood enough of a certain objective and moving onto the next in order to get it done and pass. Learning shouldn’t be just learning a bunch of information that is right from a textbook and then tested on what information you read. This rationale doesn’t allow for creativity and aid the various learners and their learning techniques.

2 thoughts on “Curriculum Theory and Practice: Tyler Rationale

  1. I have to same opinion about eduction as you have here in this post. Sometimes as a student this curriculum theory can be really frustrating and it defiantly takes away the chance for creativity for students. Yes the benefit is that all the students are checking things off but are they really learning or just remembering what was supposed to be taught so they are able to do well on the test. This may be a benefit but can also be a major down side to education.


  2. Your post was very well done! Thank you for the read. Do you think that because your schooling followed the Tyler Rationale that you view education differently than if you had not followed the rationale? Will you be using this in your own classroom?


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