Social Efficiency Method – Reading 2

The Tyler rationale is formed around the scientific technique that students are only learning to be fully functioning adults in society. He created questions based on this that teachers and schools should use to fit the right criteria of learning. His questions cover what the purpose of the educational information is, what experiences can be linked to them, how they can be put together and how we can observe that the students are reaching the results we want them to. This is a way of thinking that sees students as objects, like a factory wishing to produce a desired outcome.


The Tyler rationale explains that active learning is the most efficient way of learning. I would agree with this as a Science major because the labs and hands on experiments present in classes helps connect ideas and fills gaps in learning that the lecture wasn’t able to. In school, predominantly in math and science subjects, teachers would bring in objects or small experiments we would get to try or participate in. This gave us a link from real life to what concepts we were learning about in class. A concrete object was always helpful to different types of learners and something that always added a little fun to the lesson.

MAJOR LIMITATIONS – what is impossible

A limitation of the Tyler rationale would be the lack of control students have for the change in society. Because the curriculum standards are based on how society acts and what they want, we will never be able to create new ideas about society within our schools.

It also limits personalization of topics and relationships. With a very black and white curriculum that is said to fit all students and teachers regardless of background, locations, etc. we are all having the same conversations and hearing/teaching the same lessons. Students who live in a middle class area vs a poverty area are said to learn the same and have the same mindset which is simple not true. This method expects that a specific means will give us the same end result with no ands ifs or buts which does not allow teachers to personalize lessons based on their classroom make up or location. This deprives teachers of the personal connections they would be able to make by relating lessons directly to the lives of their students.

Tyler makes it impossible to get away from common sense as this method is a form of it. He asks teaches to go out into society and base their teaching off of what society is and wants. Teaches are expected to find the “norm” and repeat it to the next generation. The proper way to act, the intelligence required for a “good” job, how to educate, and how to gain success are all things that society tell us through this common sense.

It is impossible in Tyler’s method to see children as anything more than the potential they have to be in society. They are seen as what they can be in the future, not what they are right now. This takes away their childhood as we are forming them into “proper functioning members of society” from the day they start school until the day they leave.

Tyler makes us unable to associate a students personality with their behaviour/ learning. Because teachers are to observe the physical society, we are unable to see what influences may be causing someone to behave a certain way. This leads us to believe that a result is concrete if you deliver the material the exact same way every time. The social efficiency method assumes that people’s actions and personalities do not correlate and therefore, the actions and reactions we see in society and be directly reproduced in the classroom. With practice and repetition, the desired results will come and be observable by the teacher.

POTENTIAL BENEFITS – what is made possible

Tyler’s rationale makes different types of learning possible. With emphasis on active learning, students are able to work hands on in their subjects. This favours visual and kinesthetic learners as they are in motion and watching/doing.

The scaffolding method is made possible. Tyler states that curriculum needs to be completed in a logical order. Therefore a student needs pre requisite learning before they can move onto the next stage. When visualized, one can come up with a pyramid like structure that branches from known concepts to unknown. Like the scaffolding method, students are to focus on the unknown with the tools they already have from the known.


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Social Efficiency Ideology

The chapter Social Efficiency Ideology by Schiro (2013) explains that Tyler’s rational views curriculum development from a traditionalist perspective and as what is necessary for each student to learn to be a productive adult. To quote Tyler (as cited in Schiro, 2013), “education is a process of changing the behaviour of people. . . . [E]ducational objectives, then, represent the kinds of changes in behaviour that an educational institution seeks to bring about in its students” (p. 58). This view believes that the goal of education is to change students to be desirable by society and productive in society. Efficiency is another key point to this perspective. Tyler suggests that the process to reaching these objectives need to be effective and efficient. As described in class as well as in Schiro’s (2013) chapter, Social Efficiency Ideology, this perspective suggests the our education system works to meet society needs by trying to make each student into a desired adult, much like how a factory meets the wants of society by taking a raw material and pressing it into a product over and over again.

  1. In my own schooling experience, the traditionalist perspective on curriculum was the basic guidelines for my education. There was a strong focus on subjects that were considered more important like math and science and the methods used to support our learning were supportive of the traditionalist perspective. We were mainly given the information, told to memorize it, and given exams to test our knowledge. I remember asking why we needed to learn something and in response being told that we just had to. Even our dress code was pressuring us to conform to what society expected of us as emerging adults.
  2. I believe some major limitations to Tyler’s rationale is the fact that it limits real life learning, it limits the success of individuals who learn in different ways, and it is oppressive by way of telling the students that this one way is right and appropriate. It fails to look at the advantages of the uniqueness of each student. For example, the student that was told to change the way they dressed and to stop drawing and pay attention to math class, could have been a fashion designer, but instead were pressured to conform to a more “appropriate” career. Another disadvantage of this perspective is that it is very much from a white and colonial perspective. This structure is not the same for other cultures and sets many of our students up for failure. Not every student is going to learn in the same way and be as successful in every area. We must realize that the box that we try to push every student into is a different shape based on the society we live in.
  3. Some potential benefits that may come from utilizing the traditionalist perspective is that it focuses on creating good citizens. The benefit of this is that we are teaching our students right from wrong and giving them the education they need to be able to secure a job in our society.

~Taylor Block

September 18, 2018

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ECS 210 Post 2


  • Respond in your blog to the following writing prompt: Curriculum development from a traditionalist perspective is widely used across schools in Canada and other countries. Can you think about: (a) The ways in which you may have experience the Tyler rationale in your own schooling? (b) What are the major limitations of the Tyler rationale/what does it make impossible? (c) What are some potential benefits/what is made possible? Be sure to refer to the assigned article in your post; you may also include information from lecture if you wish.

  1. I find it intriguing to be able to look at my own schooling experiences and consider how exactly Tyler’s rationale came into play. I believe the schools I attended first of all wanted to be comparable to other schools of high academic standing throughout the province. There is a certain measurement of success based on how well a teacher’s class performs on provincial exams. The province releases the scores of each school on a chart of best to worst for public access, which affects which schools parents enroll their children in and how schools decide to better themselves in the following years. In order to bolster their own success, schools rely on the teachers ability to teach the students and the students ability to retain the information needed for specific examinations - which, of course, contain material the students are unlikely to remember post exam. So while this is perhaps what schools are currently seeking to attain, it isn’t necessarily what they should be focusing on. The should, I would dare to say, should be the purpose of educating students on how to succeed post high school.
    2. The main issue I find with Tyler’s Rationale is that the curriculum is the base for the goals of learning. As we can confidently know, the world and society is ever changing and evolving as so schooling needs to take that into account and reflect that. Working solely off of the curriculum is setting students up for inevitable failure once they leave high school. While the end goal of Tyler’s Rationale is to create good citizens, the definition of what creates a good citizen varies and does not necessarily fall in line with what we are told to teach by the curriculum. Should we not focus more on individual student success rather than whether or not we have managed to hit every single outcome of the curriculum?
    3. The most critical benefit that stuck out to me is the end goal of creating good citizens. Tyler’s Rationale gives us the idea that “the way to prepare individuals to lead meaningful lives in society is to provide them with the skills that will allow them to be constructive, active members of society,” (Schiro, M. 70). In the ESST class I’m enrolled in this semester, we have been talking about the purpose of education and how it has always been primarily on the topic of creating good citizens. This makes sense, as we want students to become contributing members of society so that humanity can continue to thrive and improve. While the article has some shortcomings, the previous quote is key to how we proceed in education.

In closing, here are my final thoughts on the article:
    As teachers, it is up to us to utilize things that Tyler's Rationale in that we take out the parts we consider key and critical, while recycling the rest. It’s entirely possible for something to give good points while simultaneously offering things we largely disagree on. Education and learning is about creating our own knowledge based on a plethora of thoughts and ideas. We can accept that things we may not necessarily agree with can work in certain settings, or worked previously, but also challenge that perhaps something else works better now. Learning is an ongoing process of trial and error and as teachers, we are forever going to be challenged to new norms and outcomes as set by society and our students.

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Examining Ralph Tyler’s rationale and the Traditionalist Perspective.

Resources: Social Efficiency Ideology by Michael Schiro

Curriculum development from a traditionalist perspective is widely used across schools in Canada and other countries. Can you think about:

(a) The ways in which you may have experienced the Tyler rationale in your own schooling?

WIthin my own schooling, I find that Ralph Tyler’s rationale still has a significant impact on curriculum today despite being conceived a century ago. The first an foremost obvious application of Tyler’s rationale during my elementary school days was in subjects such as mathematics or literature in which the objectives were solely to be able to utilize specific formulas or reiterate information. These subjects were not only subject to standardized testing, but also on the provincial level in the form of CAT tests. Another example of this rationale was the ‘accelerated reading’ or AR program. Much like the example of the Type to Learn example provided in the reading by Schiro, the AR program had its objectives and goals to be obtained by the student. The overall objective was for students to read, retain and regurgitate information about novels they had read. Following the reading, students would take a standardized test based on the novel and complete it to a satisfactory level in return for an incentive in the form of ‘AR points.’ These scores would then be proudly presented during weekly school assemblies in which the students would receive a prize as a reward for completing the objectives.

(b) What are the major limitations of the Tyler rationale/what does it make impossible?

In analyzing Ralph Tyler’s philosophy, an area of structural weakness lies in its approach in changing behaviour rather than accommodating them. As someone who identifies as a first-generation immigrant, someone such as myself is most likely to deviate heavily from the initial objectives that are placed on those within my own grade or age group. An example from the lecture showed a visual that significantly speaks to ideas of conformity or assimilation. In the image, it showed a row of students having their speech bubbles (their minds) being cut or moulded to shape by the teacher with a pair of scissors to fit a particular frame. This traditionalist mode of thought bars itself from exploring the potential source of knowledge that different groups and types of people bring with them and instead regards it as something irrelevant, something not to be examined, or that is which to be ‘trimmed’ from the minds of the students. With that being said, I find it impossible to consider Ralph Tyler’s rationale or approach to curricula as neutral from a migrant perspective. It is also worth considering that in viewing Tyler’s rationale as ‘neutral’, there is the critical assumption that teachers themselves are to be unbiased and neutral as well. As said in class, this notion of neutrality is impossible as teachers (like all other people) are shaped by heritage, influences, and the society in which they live; thus such values held by the teacher will be reflected in their teaching methods.

 (c) What are some potential benefits/what is made possible? Be sure to refer to the assigned article in your post; you may also include information from lecture if you wish.

Probably the most beneficial aspect of Tyler’s rationale is that traditionalist curriculum is geared to prepare students with the skills and knowledge relevant to the work they are likely to pursue in everyday life. The behavioural engineers ( those who make tools for curriculum) of curricula create tools with not only the students and teachers in mind, but also towards society, scholarly organizations, publishers, and businesses. In examining the example of Type to Learn, it is easy to assume that an objective of the program is to equip students with the necessary typing skills to meet the demands of a digitizing society. Not only are students being provided with the required knowledge to understand concepts, but with an overwhelming emphasis on ‘doing’, students are able to put their knowledge to practice, which will prepare and emulate the types of work they might have to do in an office, being a social worker, or even being a post-secondary student for instance. While Tyler’s rationale ignores some of the skills and other forms of knowledge students may hold as a result of identifying outside the traditional mould, it is arguable that this same conventional perspective to curriculum prepares students to better fit within the moulds of society.

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Week Two (Sept. 19th)

Social Efficiency Ideology – Michael Schiro (2013)



1) Can you think about:

(a) The ways in which you may have experience the Tyler rationale in your own schooling?

(b) What are the major limitations of the Tyler rationale/what does it make impossible?

(c) What are some potential benefits/what is made possible?



The saying goes, “practice makes perfect.” I have heard this phrase repeatedly throughout my life, and I am even known to use it myself. Michael Schiro’s (2013) Curriculum Theory discusses the application of repetition; in order for an objective to be completed successfully, a student must have the opportunity to practice, (59). This is an aspect of Ralph Tyler’s rational that I have experienced within my own education.

Occurring mainly within math and science subjects, my teachers would assign a variety of similar questions as homework so that we were able to practice in preparation for the exam. I also recall my language teachers (English and French) assigning us multiple grammar sheets and spelling lists. This tactic of repetition was also used within my athletic learnings. I learned how important the act of practicing was to my education as an athlete, once I was able to see my basketball layups and volleyball serves improve immensely.

Another aspect of Tyler’s rational I experienced within my own schooling includes “carefully sequenced from less difficult to more difficult,” lessons, (61) – which educators now refer to as scaffolding. I believe scaffolding to be beneficial to students as it eases them into an understanding of knowledge by beginning at/or slightly below their level, then increasing their abilities with appropriate challenges.

However, I find Tyler’s rational prioritizes assimilation first in the classroom and then in society. It views children not as “entities of themselves [that] have meaning,” rather their meaning is to “develop into adults [that] can serve their society,” (91). When I read this phrase, I image educators assimilating all different types of students and forcing them onto a single pathway that leads to adulthood. To me, this is the biggest limitation of Social Efficiency; a lack of individual identity and diversity within society.

Because Tyler’s rational focuses on the process of filling children’s minds with knowledge (69) that is deemed acceptable and successful at changing a child’s behavior in order to develop them into adults, uniqueness is not celebrated. As a result, personal interests (athletics, arts, etc.) and cultural differences (traditions, languages, etc.) appear not to be nurtured through this style of education, and may be lost or deemed unimportant.

Although Tyler’s rational encourages dedication and commitment through repetition, while also challenging students to develop and grow, Social Efficiency education is specific to a certain demographic of children that fit into what society deems as “the norm.” Therefore, we as educator need to recognize the positive features of Tyler’s rational, and leave behind the negative aspects that attempt to assimilate children, and instead celebrate their differences in and out of the classroom.

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ECS 210 Response: Unpacking a Quote About Education

Response to a Prompt: Choose a quotation related to education. It might be a quote from lecture, a quote from the list posted here, or a quote you found independently. In a post, unpack that quote. Think about what it makes possible and impossible in education. What does it say about the teacher, about the student? How does it relate to your own understandings of curriculum and school?

I am choosing the following quote to respond to:

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” -Aristotle

I chose this quote because I have often thought about this exact notion in the past. I have also experienced it myself and witnessed it in others. It is an important quote to unpack and know the significance of its meaning.

I found this blog that helps to explain how this quote may be interpreted and there is a lot of overlap between their understanding of Aristotle’s quote to my own understanding of it.

Simply put, it is crucial to be able to “tear apart” an idea or notion, fully examine it, and see both sides of the equation. After unraveling the pros, cons, and effects of said idea, is one able to use what they have learned from their analyzation and practically put what they have learned to practical, every day use?

Another aspect I understand of this quote is not accepting anything at face value. Just because there are popular views about ideas, does not mean that those views are valid.

As educators, we often have one way of thinking about ideas, and we pass on those biases to our students. Even curriculum-writers have biases. But, who are we to say what is meaningful to teach? It is time to stop endorsing our biases and rather, learning completely – or as completely as can about an idea – and then continuing to learn about that idea, both through research and communicating with others. It is only then that we can firmly endorse an idea.

Additionally, I think that people are often not as “wrong” and often not as “right” as we believe. It is often the people who have not critically analyzed ideas, that are the most confident. This confidence often translates into the general population believing that these ideas are the correct ones.


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Sept. 12th- Reading Response #1 on Kumashiro

Seminar #1 Reading Response

Q: How does Kumashiro define ‘common sense’?
Why is it so important to pay attention to ‘common sense’?

A: Kumashiro describes common sense as the accepted behaviours in a given society. He exemplifies this with a story from his time teaching in Nepal and the difficulty he had adjusting to the ‘common sense’ customs of the Nepali people. He reflects on his time training in the Peace Corps and explains that they received very little training on how to teach because their superiors believed that they already knew how to since they had all gone through the education system. Basically, the were expected to mimic exactly how they had been taught and, in turn, reproduce the idea that the “American” way is the best way.
Kumashiro then goes on to explain that the common sense “American” way; while comforting to a large part of the American population, is also oppressive to anyone who doesn’t fall under the “norm” of white, European, and Christian. Through what is believed to be ‘appropriate’ behaviour for teachers in America, the classroom is filled with un-questioned rules and systems that have been accepted as the best. The comforting common sense should be questioned because we need to change the status quo in order to reach anti-oppressive education. A lot of what we do that is believed to be common sense is actually inherently learned behaviour or belief and is not necessarily inclusive. As not to divert from social norms, we often behave in ways in which we feel we “should” or in ways that are comfortably acceptable and appropriate social behaviours. Kumashiro encourages all educators not to conform but instead to integrate social justice and anti-oppressive education into their classroom.


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The problem of common sense

Kumashiro defines common sense as what a society considers to be their norm. These norms vary extensionally throughout the world. In Nepal striking an unruly student would be considered the norm, however, in North America, if a teacher were to strike a student it would likely result in the teacher being reprimanded or even having their job terminated.

The reason it is important to pay attention to the “commonsense” is that what we may interpret to be commonsense may not at all be what another person would classify as commonsense. This idea is also dangerous because when it comes to commonsense often times it can be beneficial to a majority, and leave many at a disadvantage. Commonsense can often be very noninclusive and oppressive. In the story, Kumashiro speaks about how the peace corps was using education to oppress the Nepalese people and how it was a form of culural imperialism.

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ECS 210- Common Sense

Kumashiro defines ‘commonsense’ as knowledge that is supposed, ie: what schools are supposed to teach, what is expected of students and what is expected of you as an educator.

The reason that this is dangerous because we cannot go into a classroom supposing that we know what the year will be like, what our students will be like and what to teach, solely based on our own knowledge with our own ideas and expectations. This thinking is counter intuitive to anti-oppressive education. We must as educators meet our students half way and clear our ideas of what we ought to do, and instead do what we should do; which is not use common sense.

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“The Problem of Common Sense”- thoughts and reflection

Common sense is, according to Kumashiro, essentially the general thoughts within any society/culture toward education practices. It is the way education “should” be with regard to conditioning over the course of a person’s educational career. It is the standards expected of and demonstrated in schooling practices for a particular culture. 

Common sense is important to pay attention to because it fosters an environment wherein people become accustomed to certain things and begin to consider such things as the way things “should” be. This allows blind faith in the system, or education in this case, and a reluctance toward change and any differing perspectives. Differing perspectives may be outright rejected.

A reflective and critical approach toward education, somewhat described through the methods of anti-oppressive education described in the later half of the article, is a good way to negate the undesirable effects of common sense on education.

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