“Curriculum theory and practice”

Reading: “Curriculum theory and practice” by M.K. Smith. 

Prompt: Think about: (a) The ways in which you may have experienced the Tyler rationale in your own schooling; (b) What are the major limitations of the Tyler rationale/what does it make impossible; and (c) What are some potential benefits/what is made possible.

I have experienced the Tyler Rationale in my schooling. In my elementary school,  the teachers focused heavily in English and Math. For example, using “Step 1: Diagnosis of need” (M.K. Smith),  the school diagnosis that the student lack multiplication skills. Then using “Step 2: Formulation of objectives,”  proposed that all the students had to memorize the multiplication table, up to the 12 times table. Students were tests in their automatic memory recall and speed to answering. Students did not have to show how they answered the multiplication question. 

From my experience the Tyler Rationale has some major limitations. Such as only it focuses on one outcome for all students. Specifically in my school,  the desired outcome was that all the students should have the multiplication tables memorized, up to the 12 times table. The desired outcome did not just want the student memorize their multiplication, but dictated  how the students answered. There was no variant to the outcomes.

On the other hand the Tyler Rationale has benefited me.  It’s limitation – specific outcomes, can be beneficial. Because my school taught me to memorize the times table I can apply that simple skill to more complicated equations. I don’t have to rely on a calculator for simple math questions. It  is much faster to solve a longer equation without having to use a calculator for every step of an equation. The Taylor Rationale has advantages and disadvantages. It can teach basic skills, but does not give room for different outcomes. 

“The Problem of Common Sense”

Reading:  “The Problem of Common Sense” by Kevin K. Kusmashiro.  

Prompt: How does Kumashiro define ‘commonsense?’ Why is it so important to pay attention to the ‘commonsense’?

Kevin K. Kusmashiro defines “common sense” as the normative practices in everyday living and the justification of certain behaviours and thinking. It is important to pay attention to “commonsense” because what is determined as “common sense” differs from culture to culture and different people groups.  In Kusmashiro’s case his American “common sense” did not make much sense to the Nepali peoples’ “common sense.” 

Such as in the case of Kusmashiro. In the Nepali school context it was “common sense” that the teacher, Kusmashiro,  would prepare the students for the midterms and end of year exams using the content of the designated textbook. His American approach to facilitating learning in the classroom did not translate well to the students. The students saw his teaching methods as detrimental to their educational success, specifically their success in passing the midterms and end of year exams. The Nepali’s “common sense” was oppressive to Kusmashiro’s method of teaching. It can also be said that if the situation was reversed Kumashiro American “common sense” way of teaching could be seen as oppressive.

As seen in Kusmashiro’s experience in Nepal, the dominant  “common sense” can be oppressive to other ways of thinking.  If there is a deviation from the dominant “common sense” that person is  dubbed as being weird. Worse case scenario, dubbed as illogical and unable to behave in the acceptable manner. People with the dominant “common sense” would try to correct this deviation. In turn this would oppress other individuals’  behaviours and thinking. Within the Canadian context the education system is likely to unintentionally oppress students due to the ethical diversity of the Canadian student population. The students, especially recently immigrated one and first-generation migrants,  could clash with the dominant Canadian “common sense.”  It is important to pay attention to “common sense” because a group has a different way of “common sense.” As teachers, we will encounter many different types of common sense will clash with our “common sense” and that of the school’s. Students themselves will have common sense that will be different not only to the schools but from each other.  Teachers and schools must be aware of the concept of “common sense” in order that the dominant Canadian “common sense” does not oppress other variants of “common sense.”