The Tyler Rationale

Curriculum development from a traditionalist perspective is widely used across schools in Canada and other countries. Can you think about: (a) The ways in which you may have experience the Tyler rationale in your own schooling? (b) What are the major limitations of the Tyler rationale? (c) What are some potential benefits?

  1. a) Looking back on my 8 years of elementary school, 4 years of high school and 1 year of university, I found that many of my teachers taught using the Tyler rationale. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, it seems to be an effective and beneficial approach to teaching and learning. In elementary school, I can remember receiving handouts with a chart and three sections. The objectives section was already filled out and then the other two (identify and organize) sections were left blank, which was for us to fill out ourselves. I remember the first few times I received these charts, I was confused and unsure of what was supposed to belong in the empty sections. However, later on in elementary school, if I was able to fill in the “identify” and “organize” sections easily, I knew that I understood what I had been taught. Often times, we were asked to do a self evaluation (using a rubric) and I think that it was another useful way for me to know what I had to work on a bit more and what I knew I had grasped.
  2. b) While Tyler’s model is very well-known and widely used, I think that there are some limitations and some missing elements to his approach. I believe that Tyler’s rationale focuses more on the content rather than the students. While Tyler’s method worked for me and my learning style, it may be different for other students. It’s important to recognize that all students learn differently, and if teachers do want to use this method, it would be best to mix it up and not use this same approach for multiple consecutive lessons (like many of my elementary school teachers did).
  3. c) I think that while there are some limitations to Tyler’s method, I think that it can be not only an effective way for teachers to teach, but also a beneficial way for students to learn. I believe that because the first step in Tyler’s approach is to state the purposes or objectives of the lesson, it helps students to know what it is they need to understand to be able to grasp the new concept or information being taught. If the student is later able to identify and then organize the new concepts previously learned, it then serves as an effective indicator of how well the student has absorbed the lesson. If the teacher decides to have the students do a self-evaluation at the end of the project, it is a good way for the students to see what areas they could use improvement in and which areas they know and understand well.

One thought on “The Tyler Rationale

  1. Aimee!

    I like the way you described Tyler’s Rationale as being more focused on the content and less on the student. I discussed this a bit in my blog post as well. Although this type of teaching was efficient for you, and me for the most part (you become accustomed because really there wasn’t any other ways), I do find that the focus being mostly on the content and not so much on the students made school rather tough for many people I graduated with. Although both content/curriculum and students can both be flexible, I would like to think that as teacher we could incorporate different ways of teaching and learning before assuming our students are either incompetent or forced to simply skim by.

    Thanks for sharing!



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