Dialog About Basic Principles of Curriculum and Instruction by Tyler

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Maggy: My son is failing at school, and I am not particularly thrilled about it.

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Penny: Why so and you took him to that prestigious boarding school, he should be doing well if you ask me

Maggy: Yes I agree but this year we have seen terrible results with the whole school I don't know what's happening

Penny: Did you take a look at their curriculum for this year?

Maggy: I must admit I did not, in between raising the kids and working two jobs doesnt leave you with any strength for reading let alone waking up the following day and doing the same routine all over again.

Penny: I Know, but you really should because when I enrolled Thomas in the local public school I did so and I go over it at the PTA meeting whenever e are called in for a meeting.

Maggy: I think thats the schools job mine ends at paying the tuition.

Penny: I learned about it in a book by Ralph W. Tyler called Basic Principles of Curriculum and Instruction.

Maggy: Oh..you've taken up reading againwhat does it say?

Penny: Its only 128 pages long so it shouldnt take you more than a week to go through. It involves the answering of four questions to develop a curriculum and they are:

1. What are the educational purposes?

2. How can experiences be chosen to attain objectives?

3. How should learning experiences be organized?

4. How can the effectiveness of learning experiences be evaluated?

Maggy: Oh really and what do they have to do with the whole process?

Penny: Under educational purpose, it emphasizes on the need to have goals and a plan in order to ensure continuous improvement. This does not happen until a reliable source has been chosen in order to arrive at the objectives. Still with me this far?

Maggy: Go on

Penny: He continues to explain that the subject is further divided into two parts that have been at the center of debate since 1949. On one side they argue that what is important to the child is the sense of belonging to a group and just education which they say leads to knowledge. On the other, the argued that a child has needs, interests and may decide to pursue a certain purpose in life. And this group continues to add that the only way to establish what children need in an education is by study them.

Maggy: But why to study the children and the curriculum was developed by professors and a whole lot of knowledgable people who have experience in this sort of thing

Penny: I agree that a lot of consultation has been put over the years but in all these meetings and conferences they forget to use one important tool which Tyler referred to as behavior. Hich basically means a way of thinking, feeling and also how we act. He explains that as much as the basic needs of a child which are, food shelter and clothing are important; it is also essential to include the philosophy of our existence.

Basic needs of a child do not change but what does is what is in the present moment and what should be actually happening. Now these are like two forces pull at the child and what is important is to bring all of the forces including the child to a balance because if you tag a rope at both ends eventually, it will snap, but if we balance the tagging at both ends, the rope will remain intact.

Maggy: I dont understand you.

Penny: What he basically meant was inorder to make sure that the child has a balanced upbringing what is taught at school should resonate with what is taught at home. And there is where we find the perfect balance.

Maggy: Yeah I agree. Since I finished my schooling although it was years ago some of the stuff we were taught never applied in the outside world and its like you had to do a whole lot of learning for you to maneuver.

Penny: Am totally with you on that one and he explains the importance of identifying the status of the child before attempting to come up with the needs. Tyler says that in order to identify this needs we need to use any sort of parameters or methods like questionnaires, discussions, and even observations to identify their needs. When this is done it will be much easier to balance life and learning that will make the child learn as well as apply what is gotten in school to life on the outside.

Maggy: I think you should be on the board of my son's school too

Penny: Hahaha I have enough responsibilities to go around I think after this you should. Moving on swiftly, another way to attain academic goals is to use psychology. Using this makes it possible to differentiate between attainable milestones as well as those that cannot be achievable. The same field of psychology can be used to predict goals that are realistic by comparing the age of the child to the suitable grade. It analyzes the progression of learning and uses it to determine the end result.

Maggy: This all sounds great, but nowadays students just read when they have exams around the corner and after that books fly out the window until the next exam.

Penny: Which brings me to the next point. This also addresses this issue as the intent of this model is to be relevant in our day to day life. He points out that the true purpose of academics is to influence a positive change to the students and not only the learning materials.

Maggy: So what process leads you to attaining them?

Penny: Tyler compiled several methods which include: institutional learning, emotional experiences, learning from the immediate environment and life changing experiences. These methods except from Life changing occurrences can be applied to any normal school situation.

Maggy: Seems like a lot of work.Now how do you take objectives and experiences and fuse them together?

Penny: I also thought the same way because it doesnt look easy but it is done by supporting and reinforcing both until you come to a state of equilibrium. He suggests that you start with what can assimilate together, for example, a burger goes well with fries and not noodles, and this ensures that they do not clash and cause one to avid the other.

Maggy: I would definitely not try the burger and noodles

Penny: Me neither. Tyler insisted on two ways to go about this.One by making a choice of how the subjects will be arranged that is between core curriculum and other broader fields. Second, creating operating principles. This will lead o consultations nd ore f consultations till they get it right.

Then comes the process of evaluation which is the final phase and it dissects whether the curriculum has achieved it intended purpose and must tally with the academic objectives. The process doe does not end there as it is monitored and tested through the students, parents who are interviewed. With this, any school can churn out successful students as it is its mandate to be liable for any outcomes of its academic objectives.


Tyler, R. W. (1950). Basic principles of curriculum and instruction, syllabus for Education 360. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

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