The Tyler Rationale

The Tyler Rationale sounds a lot like my experiences in elementary school.  I remember on our report cards were even marked on behaviours like listening, speaking in turn, etc.  A lot assignments or projects I have worked on were very much assessed on the ability to perform a certain skill such as doing All The Right Type in computer lab, the general structure of our math classes (i.e. teacher does a demo then students work on a similar problem on their own), physical education classes (The Beep Test and The Cooper Run), etc.  As I read this text, I could see how much it has influenced our system.

One benefit of the Tyler Rationale is that it lends itself well to summative evaluation. Both qualitative and quantitative data about students can be easily obtained.  As well, it “provide[s] rather immediate feedback to the student concerning the adequacy of his performance.” (65)  Although the Tyler Rationale is easy to use to evaluate (has the desired skill been preformed or not?), we have no insight into the connections or processes that led to the desired outcome.  I believe the Tyler Rationale reduces education to valuing rote memorization rather than the ability to think critically and answer higher level questions.  As students get older, it becomes easy to know what teachers want to/are expecting to hear.  How do we know if students are just telling us what we want to hear or if meaningful learning has actually taken place.  The Tyler Rationale sounds almost like classical conditioning at points in this in text.  I believe learning can be far more abstract than just the Pavlovian changing of behaviour that the Tyler Rationale focuses on.  Evaluation based on the Tyler Rationale is responsible for the trend of standardized testing that we see today.  The factory analogy that the texts demonstrates this as well as another flaw with the system.  The Tyler Rationale can reduce students to feeling like a number in the system.  As educators today, we know the making a connection with students is very important to their achievement but the Tyler Rationale makes no mention of this.

Although Tyler Rationale seems outdated, it is interesting to note that on page 69 Bobbitt is critiquing other methods preceding the Tyler Rationale in a very similar way to how we are critiquing his ideas today.  This just goes to show that we should always be evolving and adapting our methods just as our society is evolving and adapting.

Schiro, Michael. (2013). Curriculum theory: conflicting visions and enduring concerns, (2nd Ed). SAGE.



Kumashiro & Common Sense

Kumashiro defines common sense as what everyone in a society should know.  It refers to the way things have been done and how they are supposed to be done.  It is important to pay attention to common sense because, often, these unquestioned ways of doing things contribute to society’s tendency to privilege some while marginalizing others.  These processes are so ingrained in our systems that we usually do not see the problem with them or even consider that there are better alternatives.  People are creatures of habit and these structures and routines provide a sense of comfort in what can be a crazy world.  As Kumashiro says though, “ironically, although the status quo may be comforting for its familiarity and for providing a sense of normalcy, it is also quite oppressive”.  This reading helps to open the door for discussing why it is important to questions things and know why things are done the way they are, rather than following society’s arbitrary rules.

Final Post

This week we discussed the responsibilities of administrators.  In lecture, there was a Turn-and-Talk moment about memorable principals we have had.  I learned that there were a lot of very hands on principals.  In my schooling experience, I heard the principal speak at assemblies and that was it.  Other students had stories that included much more interaction than that.  Another new way of examining things was regarding the commitment the principal has to the community.  They are the liaison and spokesperson for both parents and teachers in their relations with each other.  I really only saw the principal as the boss/leader of the teachers and did not considered the wider scope of their responsibilities.  A final thing that was new to me was about the hiring process.  I was not ever clear on how teachers were hired, but in seminar it was mentioned that the principal, along with a team that may consist of school board officials, makes the final decision.

I made some connections to my school experiences from these classes.  At my elementary school, we had administrative changes about 3 times while I was there.  I think that reflects the pressure and maybe even volatility of the position.  You have a lot of people to answer to and are the main focus for any problems.  Another connection I made was regarding our discussion about school newsletters.  As a child, I remember them being sent home periodically but  did not really see the purpose.  Now I understand it as a way to keep the community updated with not only the students’ activities, but also the values that the school is trying to uphold.

One thing I am left wondering about is the experience and credentials needed to move into administration and also the differing levels between vice-principal and principal.

Week 10

One thing I learned was about the school that teaches Michif.  I have heard of some schools incorporating Cree in the classroom but not Michif. Another thing that was new to me was about the reading levels of students in Saskatchewan.  Part of the Education Sector Strategic Plan is about having 80% of students at grade level in reading, writing, and math.  I did not know there was that much room for improvement.  A final thing that stuck with me was in the Yerck’s pdf about her first year of teaching.  She discusses her reason for journal everyday: “learning remains hidden unless we have some reason for making it explicit.Writing the stories down was important. It forced us to explain the situation to ourselves.”

One connection I made was from reading an assigned article that discussed how focusing on the impediments of your work is a dead-end for teachers.  This reminded me of discussing white guilt in my ECS 110 class.  Nothing comes from either of these and they are both narrow and self-interested ways of viewing problems. The article also mentioned that, often, new teachers will feel like they should be seeing a lightbulb go off in their students’ heads.  This is something I understand completely and will have to acknowledge that this may not be the case.

A few times, high-stakes testing was mentioned.  I know that this is a bigger focus in the states but I am unsure about how much testing we have like that in Saskatchewan.

Professionalism and Ethics

This week provided me with more information regarding what I would call the bureaucracy of the teaching profession.  One thing I that was new to me was the Code of Collective Interests.  This code essentially ensures that teachers will stand together in union and respect the decisions made by their elected representatives.  I would imagine this especially refers to the decision to strike.  Another thing that was new to me was just how big the McDowell Foundation for Research into Teaching is.  For a Saskatchewan based foundation, it has awarded 1.68 million dollars in grants.  For the size of our province, that’s an impressive number.  I also learned that even if you are just a substitute teacher, you are still eligible for pension benefits.

One connection I made was to the McDowell Foundation.  I believe one of our guests speakers had discussed receiving a grant from the foundation for in class research.  It is nice to see examples of it being utilized.  Another connection I made was to the international travel opportunities.  One of my friends taught in Australia for a little bit so I knew there were opportunities but the STF makes finding them very easy.

One question I am still left with is about is I heard the term accreditation used and I am still unclear what that is or when we will discuss it.

Week 8

The readings this week offered a few insights for me.  One point was that it’s important to teach students about the arbitrariness of some of the things we do in schools and our greater culture (they way we speak, dress, write, etc.) and to talk about the power differences they represent.  Another takeaway was from the third article was regarding the vast differences in instruction between schools of different classes.  I was aware of differences but usually only thought of them in regards to resources, not the teaching.  Another thing brought to my attention was the role of hidden curriculum in maintaining a person’s socioeconomic status.  More the one article offered insights about how students from low SES backgrounds are often, maybe subconsciously, praised for things that will be important for working class jobs like obedience.  Students from higher SES backgrounds are more often praised for skills good for managerial jobs, such as initiative and assertiveness.

I made a connection to the portion in the text talking about one student’s frustration with being a writing class that used a process teaching method.  I personally have felt emotions like this in classes or completing assignments that do not have a lot of structure.  Another connection I made was with an article I read for ECS 110.  One of the articles discussed how for admitting that you are participating in the culture of power is difficult for a lot of people.  The article I read referred to discussions like this as “courageous conversations.”  It stated how uncomfortable these conversations can be and how people will often avoid them at all costs.

These readings solidified the impact of differential treatment and the hidden curriculum.  One question I have moving forward is does having a range of socioeconomic backgrounds in the classroom, rather than how it is now usually similar based on the school neigbourhood, change the job outcomes of students?

History of Education in Saskatchewan

The week we change our focus from childhood development to the administrative aspects of education.  I learned a few things from reading about the history of education in Saskatchewan.

  1. Prior to 1888, there was no formal teacher training.  Teachers were often just older students that either showed an aptitude for teaching or were pushed into it.
  2. Grade levels as I know them were not always organized the way they are today.  They were broken down into Standards going from I to VIII.  Standard I would roughly equate to grades 1 & 2, Standard II would be grades 3 & 4, etc.  Most students only made it to Standard II or III.
  3. Married female teachers were discriminated against in the profession and by the public.  Perhaps this relates to the religious, missionary background of education.

Reading about the history of education in Saskatchewan also allowed me to make a few connections.  One connection I made was simply to the names I was reading.  There were a lot of names in the reading such as Scott, Janzen, Sheldon-Williams.  These are all school names in Regina.  It makes sense that schools are named after people majorly involved in education in Saskatchewan, but I have never really put thought into the names of the schools in the city.  Another connection I made was when the text discussed NORTEP.  NORTEP is a program, based out of La Ronge, in which the Northern Lights school division provides teacher education to First Nations students in the hopes they will stay in they home towns as teachers.  I remember getting an email about multiple job opportunities in the Northern Lights School Division.  There were a lot of benefits and perks mentioned in the post because recruiting staff for those remote locations has got to be a serious challenge.  This program helps with that a bit hopefully.

Reading this text illustrates how much change has happen in so little time.  It emphasizes the need for professional development and continuing education.  One question I’m left with is how many school divisions will we see in Saskatchewan 20 years from now, its been decreasing at a crazy rate.