In 1949, Ralph Tyler introduced four basic questions every educator must answer when creating curriculum or instructional programs. They are:

  • What educational purposes should the school seek to attain?
  • What educational experiences can be provided that are likely to attain these purposes?
  • How can these educational experiences be effectively organized?
  • How can we determine whether these purposes are being attained?

The questions posed by Tyler focus on teaching information and meeting the outcomes at the end of the year and follows a transmission view of teaching. The transmission view can be described using the analogy of throwing a baseball. Knowledge is thrown from one person to another, arriving in the same condition in which it began (Smagorinsky 7). For most of us our previous school experience was just that, having material thrown at us only to repeat it back on a piece of paper for a mark. It didn’t really matter if we understood what was being taught. If we could memorize the information given to us and repeat it back the same way it was taught, the teacher could check off on their program that they “taught” the outcome given in the curriculum. The Tyler rationale also represents the factory image that we viewed in lecture. Children enter into the school system, receive the same information taught using one teaching style, and get spit back out the other end.

The Tyler rationale tells teacher to ask, “what do I need to teach?” instead of having teachers ask, “what do my students need to learn?” As future teachers, I believe it’s important to reflect on these previous approaches to teaching and adapt them to benefit our students now. What worked in 1949 should not be the same way of teaching in 2018. Although teachers need to follow the curriculum to know what their students should understand and demonstrate by the end of the year, our teaching styles must be adapted for our students that vary from class to class. Sometimes exams work, other times an open discussion amongst the class will teach you what your students know and understand. It’s all about learning and changing the future of teaching instead of repeating the cycle of information given and repeated.

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