Reading Response #2: Curriculum Theory and Practice

After learning and reading about the Tyler rationale and curriculum as a product method, I realized that this was extremely common within my own schooling. This approach is based on providing clear guidelines of the outcomes so that educators have appropriate methods to how they teach and assess their students. My experience throughout elementary and high school was closely related to this approach as it was based on repetition and meeting objectives. In order to accomplish these objectives, we would learn through set PowerPoints and notes. After learning the material, we were asked to show what we know through repetitions of assignments and quizzes/exams. By displaying everything learned onto the exams and assignments, I was given a grade that would tell me if I achieved what was expected of me. 

When looking at the Tyler rationale, it is evident that there are some limitations to using it within education and the classroom. One of these limitations is the fact that students are told exactly what they have to learn and how this will become possible. By having such strict outcomes and teaching methods, the students will not be given a voice. All students learn differently, and by using only one learning style, could result in students not benefitting from the teaching methods being used in class and therefore, will not meet the expected outcomes. Another limitation is the measurability of objectives. In order to measure, objects need to be broken down. This can cause a problem in education as the focus is shifted onto “the parts rather than the whole; on the trivial rather than the significant.” This is largely evident in schools today. The students are learning so they can pass or “check a box” relating to meeting the objectives. The actual purpose of learning is often missed, and students only seem to be memorizing answers so they can pass the course. 

Even though the Tyler rationale has disadvantages, there are some benefits. By using this method, everything becomes more structured. Teachers were more structured because they all had a pre-determined plan to what they will teach and how they will teach it. The clear guidelines and outcomes make it easy for students to understand what they need to do and learn in order to become successful. Additionally, it gives students the responsibility in knowing what they need to do in order to achieve their academic goals. The repetitiveness of this method can also be seen as a benefit as to some students. Learning and practicing something over and over again, can help to remember and understand what is being taught and also what is expected of them. I believe that the structure within the Tyler rationale is necessary for education, but students should still be able to have a say in how they are learning so they can not only be successful, but also enjoy what they are learning.

Reading Response #1: The Problem of Common Sense

Within Kumashiro’s The Problem of Common Sense, there were multiple examples that showcase what common sense is. While teaching in Nepal, Kumashiro was immersed into a much different life than that in America. Routine chores and activities such as meals and water schedules were extremely different, and it took time for him to adjust to this new life. Similar to life outside of school and the classroom, students and teachers in Nepal had set routines in which they rarely strayed from. As the year began, Kumashiro wanted to implement his own teaching strategies but he quickly learned from his students that that was not how he was supposed to teach. He was told that girls sit with girls and boys sit with boys, and that learning took on the style of students copying exactly what the teacher put on the board, and that the students worked only from their government-issued textbooks. Through Kumashiro’s experience, he learned that ‘common sense’ differs in multiple societies. ‘Common sense’ is not the same everywhere one goes. By taking Kumashiro’s experience into consideration and using the examples presented, ‘common sense’ can be defined as a way of viewing different things based on how the society has previously viewed it and will continuously view it. It is almost a routine that goes unquestioned until someone does it ‘wrong’ or differently. 

It is important to pay attention to ‘common sense’ because it varies from different societies, places, and individuals. By recognizing that as educators, we can attempt to change harmful implications and oppressions that may be seen when conforming to society or the ‘common sense.’ As educators we can encourage our students to question what truly is ‘common sense’ and if they should be conforming to it. We can teach students to want to be themselves and be comfortable in not following ‘common sense’ or society. It is our jobs as educators to show that ‘common sense’ is not something that everyone needs or should follow; in fact, it is meant to be challenged and redefined through questioning and teaching. It is also important to pay attention to ‘common sense’ as educators because you will be teaching students from multiple backgrounds and therefore, will more than likely have a different ‘common sense’ than you and their peers. In order to ensure they are receiving quality education, we as educators need to adapt new ways of teaching and go beyond ‘common sense’ and what society expects of us.