Tyler Rationale

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.

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Teaching and Adapting

The thing that I find the most difficult about education is the fact that it is unpredictable. That is why it is so difficult for us to even have a steady curriculum on how to teach aspiring educators how to teach. A lot of what I have been taught so far seems to amount to: “well, I guess you’ll have to figure that out for yourself, then”. Which is not entirely useful when all we want is logic and all we expect is worksheets and memorization and tricks and tools of the trade.

When you go to school for dentistry, they aren’t going to give you a person to practice your dentist-ing on and say “have at ‘er, see what works best” because that is just not practical. Education is not quite the same. A lot of what we learn is experimental, or philosophical, or is like, different parenting styles and what sorts of parents are out there.

Which is useful in its own right, we are taught to take what we learn and choose how we want to apply it. And we are taught to adapt. Which I think is one of the most important things the article is speaking of. And after this long introduction of not much importance, here are three points that I have written about the article and my feelings.

1. Teaching from a cultural standpoint – Last year, I volunteered at the Dojack and it was probably one of the best experiences of my life. I met so many people I found inspiring and, in a way, I was the one learning, which is super cheesy and lame, but it is true. My family can attest, I spent most of my time home talking about how much I loved my volunteering and what I was going to teach math wise the next day. But it was also challenging. Like the article talks about students from other cultures learning differently, the same was to be said about the youths in the centre. One individual I worked with in particular was First Nations and hadn’t gone to the same school for more than a year at a time. So teaching him was a lot different than when I would teach Calculus at my high school when our teacher was busy.

I think that the most important part of understanding the way that culture and your place in life affects how you are taught is giving us the understanding that there is not one effective way to teach, and a lot of different styles can be useful and have merit depending on who your learners are. Keeping an open mind and adapting to your learners in some ways instead of always expecting them to adapt to you can help them learn better and make school life a little easier.

2. The way I was taught and how it affects how I want to teach – Like most people in my generation, I have been taught in the take notes down, memorize notes, write tests way. There hasn’t been much shaking it up in the system when I was taught and so a lot of my decisions as an educator come from my feelings on how I was taught.

I really hate tests. I really hate tests. I really, really, really hate tests. So I probably won’t be too inclined to utilize exams. I like doing examples and I like having debates and discussions, so I will be more inclined to utilize those in the classroom. However, I know people who really love tests, and who excel at test work and struggle with assignments due to procrastination. I also have friends who never talk in class and hate participation marks because it is forcing them to talk. I think that knowing your learners and knowing their strengths and weaknesses is the best way to find a balance between different styles.

I think that’s pretty much all I have to say on the matter at the moment. I guess the biggest point I want to get across is that I have a strong belief in students helping to guide learning, and I want to bring that into my classroom as best I can. Ensuring that students are comfortable will make them learn more. That isn’t to say I’m never going to challenge them or make the students learn in a way they haven’t before. Because if they haven’t experienced something, how are they to know if they learn well from….visual learning or not?