In my greater years as a student of the Catholic school system in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, I was taught in a very structured way, methodical, precise, done the same way every year. I have a sister who is two years older than me, and a good friend who is three years older than me. Occasionally, for a light spot of fun, we discuss our high school experiences, asking if we were taught by the same teachers, asking if they still do that project that they are fond of.
And I think that the instances in which we are all saying the exact same things about a teacher and the content that they taught and the way in which they taught it is an excellent example of how I saw the Tyler rationale in my own school experience. The teachers that we could basically recite activities, questions and answers from were the teachers who were stagnant in their teaching, doing the same thing over and over every year.
Looking at Tyler’s first point: focusing on the educational purposes school should focus on accomplishing, it is clear that some teachers receive that coveted list of outcomes and indicators, or that textbook that the government has decided is the best way, and the best order in which to teach something, and there is no straying, no fiddling around, no trying anything new. They believe in the power of the list of outcomes being everything a student needs to learn, and it is taught in the most systematic, efficient way, and no other way is as successful. It’s creating an institution of blind faith in one way being the best way and making every student learn and develop the same. I guess that structure also works in to Tyler’s rationale three, in which the educational experiences need to be effectively organized. It’s also shown in the way every school in the division did the same experiences at the same times.
- York Lake Hike in Grade Six
- AMPO in Grade Seven (a week of summer camp, essentially)
- Grade Eight Cross Country Ski Trip
But it was also shown in our religious education.
- First Communion Grade One
- Reconciliation Grade Three
- Receive First Bible Grade Five
- Confirmation Grade Eight
We were constantly put through the same paces that the classes before us had been put through, without much deviation.
I think that that idea of systematically working is a major flaw in Tyler’s rationale, and a great failure in the way we were taught. Just because something was most effective for one class, doesn’t mean it is effective for ours. In our school, each class had a ‘fundamental problem’ that all the teachers knew. Like, my sister’s class was the BAD CLASS. The boys were all violent, the girls were all gossipy and stabbed each other in the back. Our class was not nearly as terrifying. We were the lazy group. An assignment is due? Three people will hand it in in the first month. Cross country is starting again? Half the class wants the free day so they don’t go and ‘do homework’ instead. In Grade Seven, we were supposed to sing Deck the Halls for the Christmas concert. The day of the dress rehearsal, we got up there, sang the first two lines, and then looked at each other and laughed because that was all we knew.
We were definitely not the keeners like the grade above us. So why were we taught in the same way?
The rationale does not take into consideration the students or the fact that class environments vary between every classroom, and there is no one “most effective” way.
The one thing that is nice is that the organization and optimization of the curriculum can be an excellent starting block for a teacher. No one is starting off with nothing; there is a good point with which to expand from. The idea of finding a way that is most effective, and looking at which experiences are important is a good way for a new teacher to be introduced into what can be seen as most effective, or they can see what should be learned, and then they are given the opportunity to shape the order and experiences how they see fit when the optimized path is ineffective.