A Response to “Curriculum Theory: Conflicting Visions and Enduring Concerns” written by Michael Schiro
Reading Response Two
School is meant to prepare you for life. In this article we learn Frankin Bobbit’s view of school meant to ensure that the students are able to perform the tasks that make up adult life (i.e. work). The article further explores Bobbitt’s theories regarding efficiency. Ralph Tyler is introduced and his work (The Tyler Rational) becomes the focus of the article. The Tyler Rational is a model for curriculum which can be broken down to four major themes (objectives, learning experiences, organization, and purpose/evaluation).
Some of the ways I have experienced the Tyler Rationale in my own schooling is in the curriculum. Firstly, when teachers teach to the curriculum they have different outcomes and indicators for every lesson they teach; which is essentially teachers meeting objectives. Second, teachers pick out activities to do in class that they think are meaningful. These are learning experiences. When I was in school I remember doing a science experiment where we grew beans (which we wrapped in wet paper towel then placed in a plastic bag and proceeded to hang them up) in the window. This experiment went on to describe and show us students the process of photosynthesis. This was a learning experience. Thirdly, organization. Organization was a HUGE part of my educational experience from when you walked in through the door to when you left to go home. For example, organization is present in schools when the bells ring (the students know it is time to go class), in assignments (there are usually some guidelines as to what the requirements are), and rules (what is expected of you- appropriate clothing, language, behaviour, etc.). Fourthly, purpose. Everything in school has a purpose. In school every lesson, activity, and project has a purpose (an assessment is given); even if the student doesn’t realize it at the moment.
The major limitation of the Tyler Rationale is that it is set up for efficiency, not human beings. Everything does not always go according to plan. As educators we need to be able to adjust and adapt on the fly. The Tyler Rationale is just not possible simply because everyone learns differently, and everyone makes mistakes. But just because something is different shouldn’t label it as “bad” or “not efficient” it is simply just different, unique. The first example of a limitation of the Tyler Rationale from the article is the lack of concern for the child. In this view children are seen as potential functioning members of society, not children trying to learn. And secondly, the child is seen as a worker. This doesn’t allow the child to fully develop, results in children trying to act “grown up” and never really have the chance to experience being and growing up as a child. Which could cause negative side-effects or regrets later in life.
A potential benefit includes giving students the skills they need to function as an adult. In the concluding perspective section of the article states that the most useful knowledge is the ability to perform skills. I relate this to the Chinese proverb, “give a man to fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish, and feed him for a lifetime”. Teaching our students is possible. While others and I may not have all the answers to curriculum and the issues that surround it, what we do have an answer to is to make an impact in our student’s lives. So make that your goal, to everyday positively impact the learning of your student because that’s something anyone can do, with or without curriculum.