Week 2: The Tyler Rationale

Before this article, I did not know this even had a name. I saw and continue to see it happening around me all the time but thought nothing of it, and perhaps even that is an effect of the Tyler Rationale. Now that I am thinking about ways I have experienced the Tyler Rationale, I see it all over… in elementary school all the desks are aligned and face the teacher, maybe in high school you are allotted tables but you still need to face your body in a direction the teacher approves. All throughout elementary and secondary school you need special permission from the teacher to use the bathroom or go to the water fountain, and hands must be raised before you speak. Even in university, sure students are able to go about more freely, as we don’t really need to ask to get a drink or allow our bodies to urinate in the bathroom stall. However, at times, university students still do raise their hands when the class is having an engaging and insightful conversation because that is what we have been trained to do; and thus, another effect of the Tyler Rationale. The Tyler Rationale is all about behaviour and it seems like it is almost as if it is about how well you can behave yourself in public situations and then giving that a label called learning.

I think this rationale just tells young students how to behave.  It is pretty much saying: if you behave “properly” in school, you will do well in society; only those who behave “properly” will receive good grades; and, only those who behave “properly” will I guess “blend in” with the social norms of today’s society and therefore won’t be questioned about who they are if they act “this” way. This is a limitation because I feel as if you are telling students to not be themselves. It is true that you can still have a heavily learning based environment even if a student has their feet up on a chair or might have a water bottle or juice on their desk. Additionally, although the grade levels are obviously different, if you were to put a university class and an elementary school class right next door to each other, you would still obviously be able to tell that it is a classroom where students are learning purely through the student’s actions and behaviours because of the Tyler Rationale.

I suppose a benefit of this is that it does provide structure. How else is a teacher going to manage a classroom of students regardless of their age? However, if there was a new way to provide structure to students and unlearn (most) parts of the Tyler Rationale, that could be beneficial.


2 thoughts on “Week 2: The Tyler Rationale”

  1. I enjoyed reading through your article and your connections that you made back to your own life. In many ways, I think you described how Tyler Rationale often is the ‘default’ of many schools. How do you think the concept of common sense and Tyler Rationale are connected?


  2. Hey Elissa
    You have some good points about this rationale surrounding us unknowingly. What do you think would be some negatives about excluding all aspects of the Tyler rationale. I don’t like how the rationale comes across, but when I think about not using this rationale, I think of a scene from Jumanji!


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