Education in 1920

In 1920, Alfred Fitzpatrick published a book called “The University in Overalls.” Fitzpatrick is the founder of Frontier College that was created in 1899. He believed that the students did not have the same strong education that the men working in the frontier had because of the extensive work and poor living conditions that the labourers lived in. In Fitzpatrick’s book he states:

“There should be more studies involving physical exercise.  It is too bad that students are forced to resort to dancing and hazing for sufficient exercise to keep them in health.  Why waste such physical exuberance, when the muskegs of the north need draining, and millions of acres must be cleared (97).”

Fitzpatrick believed that the land and hard work can teach students many skills that they need in the future, especially back then when they would be living in the new country. He saw the benefit of physical activity in relation to education. Physical activity not only benefits the body, but it also helps build and shape the minds of the students. Fitzpatrick thought that the students should work alongside the labours in the fields and mines so the students could learn by working alongside the labourers. In the evening he believed that the students should then teach classes to the labourers and through working with them all day they would be able to learn how to better teach them. This student teacher relationship is beneficial to both parties. Even now we think that it is important to not just have teachers standing at the front of the class, but rather have students and teachers learning from each other. In this way the students will feel more equal to the teacher rather than feeling the that the teacher is superior to them. Fitzpatrick believed strongly that physical exercise benefits the whole body. It is very evident today that children, and all learners can only sit and listen for so long until they can no longer concentrate and need to move. Fitzpatrick wanted to put the physical energy of his students to use instead of the students using there energy for activities such as dancing or hazing.

I believe that students need to be able to move and get physical activity breaks throughout the day. Fitzpatrick discussed adult education, but I think that it also applies to children. Physical exercise helps everyone better learn information and gives everyone a well deserved break. I think the idea that we can learn from each other is still relevant in today’s setting. Everyone, no matter their age, has different skills and abilities and it is important that everyone feels that they can share their own ideas. If teachers listen to and learn from their students, the students will feel empowered and the teacher may learn something new. Overall, I think that Fitzpatrick made good points that are still relevant in today’s schools.

The Tyler Rationale

I have experienced the Tyler rationale in my schooling in many ways. The Tyler rationale influenced the way that my educational knowledge was tested throughout my schooling. The testing that is put into place in schools was influenced by the Tyler rationale. As a student I was better at taking tests than other assignments that were given. Therefore, I benefitted from the Tyler rationale because I had better grades than if I would have been assessed in other ways. Standardized testing that was put into place has also affected my schooling. In Saskatchewan there are departmental exams that are taken by high schools students to pass their classes. These exams are the same for students across Saskatchewan which is a similar idea to standardized tests. These tests cover all aspects of the course even if limited time was given to different topics. This may give some students an advantage compared to others depending on their teacher and class.

The Tyler rationale has limitations because of the strict procedure that is taken in order to have the same final product. The first question in the Tyler rationale states, “What educational purposes should the school seek to attain?” This puts limitations on what the schools should teach to the students. The people who decide what is important for the students to attain have the dominant views of society and the majority culture. This leaves information and skills that can be left out of a child’s schooling. The second question states, “What educational experiences can be provided that are likely to attain these purposes?” This puts a limitation on the experiences that students will have in their schooling. The Tyler rationale focuses on the product not the process. This affects the students that work through the process, but do not end at the same final product. The final question in Tyler’s rationale states, “How can we determine whether these purposes are being attained?” This puts an emphasizes on testing to determine whether a student has learned the content. Some students who struggle with test taking have a disadvantage and may be unable to show that they have learned the material. These tests can also help students who know the information, but struggle with other ways of showing it, such as presentations or essays. Overall, there are disadvantages to the Tyler rationale.

The Tyler rationale also has some benefits to it. It has a strict organization and structure that allows students who need to be aware of their expectations, to succeed. The Tyler rationale also gives teachers a method to follow; this could be seen as both a positive and a negative. To a resourceful teacher this may seem as constrictive because they are unable to use their own ideas, whereas to a less enthusiastic teacher a plan that they have to follow may be a positive aspect. It also gives students a way to gauge their knowledge and success with the average of their classmates. The Tyler rationale has tremendous organizing power which is one of it’s greatest benefits.


The problem of common sense

  • How does Kumashiro define ‘commonsense?’
    • Common sense is defined as “what everyone should know”. Common sense is the normal; it is what is expected. It is understood that everyone knows the same information because of the common experiences they have had.
  • Why is it so important to pay attention to the ‘commonsense’?
    • It is important to pay attention to common sense because everyone does not have the same common sense. For example, people in different parts of the world live in different environments that cause a difference in common sense. Kumashiro was told that he did not teach correctly because all the people around him had been taught in the same way for many years. Kumashiro thought that his way was the best because it was how he experienced education. It is common sense that school runs from September to June, but there is no real reason to believe this other than it is what we have always experienced. Many things that we think are normal are from our experiences. It is important to be aware that although it is assumed that everyone has the same experiences, they do not and this leads to differences in common sense. If nobody pays attention to common sense, mistakes could be made based on not knowing the information that is presumably known to everyone.