The Tyler Model, developed by Ralph Tyler in the 1940’s, is the quintessential prototype of curriculum development in the scientific approach. One could almost dare to say that every certified teacher in America and maybe beyond has developed curriculum either directly or indirectly using this model or one of the many variations.
Tyler did not intend for his contribution to curriculum to be a lockstep model for development. Originally, he wrote down his ideas in a book Basic Principles of Curriculum and Instruction for his students to give them an idea about principles for to making curriculum. The brilliance of Tyler’s model is that it was one of the first models and it was and still is a highly simple model consisting of four steps.
- Determine the school’s purposes (aka objectives)
- Identify educational experiences related to purpose
- Organize the experiences
- Evaluate the purposes
Step one is determining the objectives of the school or class. In other words, what do the students need to do in order to be successful? Each subject has natural objectives that are indicators of mastery. All objectives need to be consistent with the philosophy of the school and this is often neglected in curriculum development. For example, a school that is developing an English curriculum may create an objective that students will write essays. This would be one of many objectives within the curriculum.
Step two is developing learning experiences that help the students to achieve step one. For example, if students need to meet the objective of writing an essay. The learning experience might be a demonstration by the teacher of writing an essay. The students than might practice writing essays. The experience (essay demonstration and writing) is consistent with the objective (Student will write an essay).
Step three is organizing the experiences. Should the teacher demonstrate first or should the students learn by writing immediately? Either way could work and preference is determined by the philosophy of the teacher and the needs of the students. The point is that the teacher needs to determine a logical order of experiences for the students.
Lastly, step four is evaluation of the objectives. Now the teacher assesses the students’ ability to write an essay. There are many ways to do this. For example, the teacher could have the students write an essay without assistance. If they can do this, it is evidence that the students have achieved the objective of the lesson.
There are variations on this model. However, the Tyler model is still considered by many to be the strongest model for curriculum development.