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Posted on October 12th, 2012, by

Traditionally, educators viewed curriculum as an essential part of the education system which ensures the high quality of education. At the same time, views of specialists on curriculum varied consistently that led to the emergence of quite different approaches and principles to the development of curriculum. Nevertheless, curriculum is still essential since it lays foundation to the education process and helps educators to develop a teaching strategy to meet the ultimate goals of teaching. However, the principles and approaches used in the development of the curriculum can play a crucial role and influence the content and overall effectiveness of the curriculum. In this respect, it is possible to refer to works of Ralph Tyler and William Doll, who developed quite different view on curriculum.

First of all, it should be said that Ralph Tyler and William Doll paid a lot of attention to curriculum and, in many of their works, they attempted to explain in details their vision of curriculum and backed up their views with theoretical developments of other educators as well as they developed their theoretical concepts and principles. The main difference in their views on curriculum is that Ralph Tyler tended to certain simplification of curriculum. He viewed curriculum as essential element of education process, but it was not self-sufficient and Ralph Tyler did not tend to develop a very complex view on curriculum. He believed that such complexity of curriculum could make it ineffective and difficult to use by educators. In contrast, William Doll stood on the ground that curriculum is very complex and he developed the idea of chaos-order dichotomy as one of the major principles of curriculum. As a result, he developed his view on curriculum as a complex process.

Ralph Tyler developed a very simple structure for delivering and evaluating instructions. He developed four basic principles of curriculum and instructions which mirrored his views on curriculum. First of all, he argued that it is necessary to define what educational purposes the school should seek to attain. This means that he insisted on the importance of the definition of the learning objectives. Obviously, it is a very important step in the development of curriculum since the definition of objectives contributes to the formation of a long-run strategy as well as define methods that can be applied to meet the objectives of the learning process. Secondly, Ralph Tyler suggested to define how learning experiences can be selected which are likely to be useful in attaining these objectives. In other words, he suggested to introduce useful learning experience. In such a way, it is possible to improve consistently the effectiveness of the learning process and make curriculum truly helpful in regard to attaining the learning objectives. In fact, the useful learning experience opens larger opportunities for educators which they can realize successfully. At the same time, educators can share their useful experiences that will contribute to the professional development of educators and, thus, improvement of the quality of their work as well as effectiveness of curriculum. Thirdly, Ralph Tyler insisted that it is necessary to find out how learning experiences can be organized for effective instruction. In such a way, he suggested organizing learning experiences to maximize their effects. In this respect, Ralph Tyler laid emphasis on the importance of the organization of learning experience, but he argued that it is important to avoid too complex structures which can decrease the effectiveness of learning experiences and curriculum at large since educators can have problems with the practical implementation of complex structures. Instead, he suggested focusing simple but effective structures. Finally, he estimated that educators needed to define how the effectiveness of learning experiences can be evaluated. In fact, the evaluation is very important for the definition of areas and experiences which are not effective and which need to be either eliminated or improved. In fact, the evaluation is crucial since it helps to avoid drawbacks which used to be implemented in the learning experiences and curriculum and develop new, more effective ones.

At the same time, it is important to stress that Ralph Tyler insisted on the necessity of avoidance of complex structures and, instead, he believed that simplicity of the curriculum and instructions is the key to the overall success of the learning process. In addition, Ralph Tyler argued that students should be active participants of the learning process but not subjects since “it is what he [student] does that he learns, not what the teacher does”¯ (Tyler, 1949).

In this respect, Ralph Tyler views are similar to those of William Doll, who also believes that students should be active participants of the learning process. On the other hand, William Doll denied the simplified view of Ralph Tyler on curriculum and he argued that curriculum is not an organized process. To put it more precisely, he argued that curriculum is formed on the bases of chaos-order dichotomy. In this respect, William Doll argues: “The image of curriculum I have in mind is not that of a “firm formlessness”¯ nor of a firm anything”¦ The curriculum, then, is in continual transformation, ever evolving, ever changing ”“ and yet having sense of shape to it. This shape, always fuzzy, always fractaled, is actually created by the process itself”¯ (Doll, 2009). In such a way, William Doll stands on the ground that the curriculum is not a static entity. Instead, it is in the process of constant changes. In such a context, it is obvious that the idea of Ralph Tyler is not applicable to Doll’s concept of curriculum because Ralph Tyler viewed the possibility of the organization of curriculum on the basis of learning experiences and the implementation of his principles. Hence, once structured curriculum could be applied efficiently. However, William Doll denies such an approach because he believes that curriculum is changing and, therefore, it cannot be based on a standard structure, while the organization of curriculum needs to be changed along with the change of the learning process.

At this point, it is worth mentioning the fact that William Doll argued that curriculum is not changing itself, but it changes under the impact of external factors, namely he states that “we may indeed, and often do, change curriculum, but it is we ”“ external agents ”“ who do the changing, the curriculum does not change itself”¯ (Doll, 2009). At the same time William doll challenges in a way the idea of Ralph Tyler that it is necessary to use learning experiences in curriculum to improve it and make it more effective. He argues that “the curriculum begins before the teaching begins, our lesson plans of material to be covered are devised prior to, not after, our teaching”¯ (Doll, 2009).

Furthermore, William Doll develops his own basic principles of a good curriculum, which include richness, recursion, relations, and rigor (Doll, 2009). Also, he adds five curricula types, including currere, complexity, cosmology, conversation, community (Doll, 2009). In such a way, he develop quite a complex concept of curriculum and its development. In this respect, it should be said that such a trend to complex view on curriculum can be explained by Doll’s belief in the role of science in modern education since he believes that the modern education is based on a scientific approach and he extrapolates this approach on curriculum. At the same time, he argues that “curriculum should be filled with such a spirit; it should be “spirit-full”¯ (Doll, 2009). In such a way, he brings in the idea of spiritual aspect of curriculum, which was practically ignored by Ralph Tyler.

Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that Ralph Tyler and William Doll have quite a different view on curriculum. Ralph Tyler tends to proper organization and certain simplification of curriculum, while William Doll, in contrast, is more inclined to view curriculum as a complex structure. In addition, Ralph Tyler implies that curriculum can function on the basis of learning experience, while William Doll argues that it is constantly changing under the impact of external factors. As a result, they develop their own principles of curriculum, which though may be applied by educators successfully.

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