Curriculum Theory and Practice Response

Growing up in Regina public schools I was able to experience many different ways of teaching and learning. From elementary to high school it was clear to see the traditionalist perspectives that was widely used between one teacher to the next. The Ralph W. Tyler rational in the Curriculum Theory and Practice article by Smith is based on four fundamental questions that provide a scientific model that can get the same results no matter who the student or teacher is. Tyler’s last question is “how can we determine whether these purposes are being attained” which is the assessment block of his rationale. My schools would have end of semester written exams that would test what we know in all subject areas. Exams and tests were highly emphasized within the schools I attended. I have always wondered why exams were taken so seriously. It had never made sense to me have strict time limits or strict no cheating rules. I believe that through this process I and many other students as well have severe anxiety over test taking.

Some of the limitations to the Tyler Rationale is that he completely ignores context. His ideology is that curriculum development can rise above context which is the social, cultural, and historical differences in the classroom. If teachers are extremally focussed on getting their class to pass all of their examinations than there is very little time for interaction between the teacher and student which is where most of the actual learning takes place. His rationale makes impossible for all students to benefit from. By ignoring the individual difference in the classroom this takes away from the learner, which then students are left with little or no voice.

There are a few potential benefits from the Tyler Rationale. It is productive, systematic and has high organizational power. His rationale provided a clear form of outcomes that made organizing the content, methods and evaluation somewhat easy.

The Problem of Commonsense Response

Kumashiro in The Problem of Commonsense article defines ‘commonsense’ as perspectives, views and ideologies that have been brainwashed and forced into minds. These concepts make people feel somewhat comfortable in the sense that it gives them the mind set of “that’s just how it is and how it will always be”. An example of commonsense in North America is having the school year start from September to June and no school in the summer. This idea stemmed from early history when Canada needed the summertime to harvest fields and since then this idea has become and believed to be an unchangeable concept. In todays urban society it does not make much sense to not have school in the summer but since its a part of our commonsense it won’t be challenged to change.

It is so important to pay attention to the ‘commonsense’ especially in schools because if we simply ignore it and not challenge it than we allow oppression to happen. Some of the things that are taken as ‘commonsense’ in schools advantage some students and disadvantage others. This is why it is important to pay attention so we’re able to questions and challenged certain ways of teaching and doing so, it does not continue to oppress people. An example of commonsense in schools that have the potential to disadvantage and oppress individuals is having the school day start early in the morning. Some individuals are not privileged enough to have access to transportation or even the means to have a healthy breakfast before school. Changing the time of day when school starts could have so many benefits for everyone, since it could improve students academic responsibilities.

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