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Relevancy of Classic Curriculum Theories of Ralph Tyler and Hilda Taba

Posted by Hope Scott on Monday, January 24, 2011 Under: curriculum management
Two of your readings this week focused on the relevancy of the classic curriculum theories/models of Ralph W. Tyler and Hilda Taba. Based on the readings and what you have learned in this course so far, do you think the Tyler and Taba models remain applicable to 21st century teaching and learning? Explain.
According to Dr. Arterbury, "curriculum encompasses the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and processes to be taught and learned at the appropriate levels or courses in a district's school." Dr. Artebury also noted in his lecture that: "Hilda Taba described curriculum as a plan for learning" and that Ralph Tyler "defined curriculum as all of the learning of students which is planned and directed by the school to attain its educational goals." Their classic theories and models are relevant today. Dr. Artebury suggested that these theories are just a part of the framework the the state used in the creatation of the TEKS which we all use to guide student learning and assessment. Hilda Taba taught that objectives "establish a sense of purpose and provide a basis for deciding what to include or emphasize" in developing a curriculum (Fraenkel, 1992). She also believed that teachers should teach facts that enhance understanding because coverage is impossible. "Taba noted the importance of using objectives to establish a sense of purpose for deciding what to include, exclude, and emphasize in a curriculum" (Arterbury, 2011). She preferred sampling rather than covering. I tend to agree that many times we expect students to retain information which will be of no value past today. We need to give them precepts that can build upon each other. I feel that high school teachers build upon knowledge that students retain from elementary and middle schools. This brings me to Ralph Tyler, who, according to Ronald Simpson (1999), stressed that any educational system is an extension of the values of its society. I found the following quote in Wikipedia, "Tyler describes learning as taking place through the action of the student. "It is what he does that he learns, not what the teacher does" (Tyler p. 63). This quote is very applicable and relevant to today's' students and teachers. Lessons seem abstract and do not become concrete until the students go beyond the step-by-steps which are found in the text. I think they 'get it' when they create projects on their own using skills learned in the text. Ralph Tyler believed that any educational planning should consider the nature of the learner. He is also quoted as saying, "I've never met a child who couldn't learn." (Sanford News Service, 1994). Finally, a quote from Courtenay Middle School. Ralph W. Tyler: "The Tyler Rationale:" "In the first section of his book, Tyler explains that one of the main problems with education is that educational programs "do not have clearly defined purposes." These "purposes" as he describes them should be translated into educational objectives. This objective-based approach to evaluation is at the core of what Tyler proposes. Tyler's approach to evaluation followed these steps:

1. Establish broad goals or objectives.

2. Classify the goals or objectives.

3. Define objectives in behavior terms.

4. Find situations in which achievement if objectives can be shown.

5. Develop or select measurement techniques.

6. Collect performance data.

7. Compare performance data with behaviorally stated objectives." (Courtenay Middle School. Ralph W. Tyler: "The Tyler Rationale." 2006)

Arterbury, E. (2011, January). Tyler, Olivia, Taba. Lecture conducted from Lamar University, Beaumont, Texas.
Fraenkel, J. R. (1992). Hilda Taba’s contributions to social studies education. Social Education, 56(3), 172-178.
Simpson, R. (1999). Ralph Tyler on curriculum: A voice from the past with a message for the future. Innovative Higher Education, 24(2), 85-87.
Ralph W. Tyler. (November, 2010). In Wikipedia. Retrieved January 22, 2011, from
Sanford News Service. Ralph Tyler, one of century's foremost educators, dies at 91. (February 28, 1994). Retrieved January 22, 1011, from
Courtenay Middle School. Ralph W. Tyler: "The Tyler Rationale" (2006). Retrieved on January 21, 2011 from

In : curriculum management 

Tags: "ralph w tyler" "hilda taba" arterbury curriculum fraenkel simpson "sanford news service" "courtenay middle school" 

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Hope Scott I am a Web Technologies teacher. I created this blog as part of my Master of Education in Educational Technology Leadership for Lamar University, Beaumont, Texas.

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