The Tyler Rationale

In reading for this week, the Tyler Rationale seeks to ask four main questions that every educator should answer before creating a curriculum or instructional programs. The four main questions are: 1: What educational purposes should the school seek to maintain? 2. What educational experiences can be provided that are likely to attain these purposes? 3. How can educational experiences be effectively organized? 4. How can we determine whether these purposes are being attained?

            I experienced the Tyler Rationale in my own schooling multiple times. The main one that I remember the most was in my History 30 class. We had an intern that made us worksheets where we would simply fill in the blanks while he just read out everything that was stated on the worksheet. There was no further explanation given, and as a student I realized that I was only looking for the words that I had to fill in, not the entire work sheet as a whole. The class was not engaging at all, and all this intern did was focus on the curriculum outcomes which just made me more confused because there was never a further explanation into the topics.

            The questions that are posed from the Tyler Rationale focus teaching information and eventually meeting the outcomes by the end of year. This makes it almost impossible to focus on what the students need to learn, because by answering these questions one is always thinking about what the teacher needs to teach. The Tyler Rationale almost forgets that students come into our classrooms already full of knowledge and understanding, and as a teacher it is important to find out what that is so the focus can be more towards what the students need to learn. This way of thinking and learning does not allow for much flexibility.

            The Tyler Rationale can be beneficial in classes like math or the sciences because in these classes’ students need to know how to find the right answer to certain questions, and outcomes that are presented through the Tyler Rationale can help students get where they need to be. However, in classes like English, social studies, and art there is not always a fine line as to what is right and wrong. These subjects create opportunity for a wide range of discussion, and also brings into account students’ prior knowledge which the Tyler Rationale does not typically plan for.


3 thoughts on “The Tyler Rationale

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  1. Hi Sarah!
    I definitely agree that the Tyler Rationale does not acknowledge that students come into our classrooms not as blank slates to be filled, but as human beings full of knowledge and experience. We need to understand these experiences in order to make a connection with our students.
    That being said, you are right, the Tyler Rationale does have its use. In math especially I would say because it is more black and white in terms of evaluation.


  2. I enjoyed reading your post as it demonstrated and summarized the Tyler Rational very clearly. I particularly enjoyed your comment about recognizing that students and classrooms are already full of knowledge and understanding and that we, as educators, are responsible for discovering that knowledge in order to individualize the class environment to suit the students needs. However, I disagree with your comment about how mathematics is a black and white subject where students don’t need to understand the reasons behind the content. I agree that that was how we were taught, but it is not necessarily the most beneficial approach. Please feel free to read my post if you’re interested in hearing more about the Tyler Rational and mathematics.


  3. Sarah, I appreciate your comments and agree with many of the points you have mentioned. I do believe there is a certain time and place for the Tyler Rationale, but as a future science educator I want to unpack the idea of a right and wrong answer in my classroom and provide students with more flexibility and inclusion during assessments. I hope other educators challenge this in the future as well! – Natalie


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