In 1949, a small book had a big impact on education. In just over one hundred pages, Ralph W. Tyler presented the concept that curriculum should be dynamic, a program under constant evaluation and revision. Curriculum had always been thought of as a static, set program, and in an era preoccupied with student testing, he offered the innovative idea that teachers and administrators should spend as much time evaluating their plans as they do assessing their students.
Since then, Basic Principles of Curriculum and Instruction has been a standard reference for anyone working with curriculum development. Although not a strict how-to guide, the book shows how educators can critically approach curriculum planning, studying progress and retooling when needed. Its four sections focus on setting objectives, selecting learning experiences, organizing instruction, and evaluating progress. Readers will come away with a firm understanding of how to formulate educational objectives and how to analyze and adjust their plans so that students meet the objectives. Tyler also explains that curriculum planning is a continuous, cyclical process, an instrument of education that needs to be fine-tuned.
This emphasis on thoughtful evaluation has kept Basic Principles of Curriculum and Instruction a relevant, trusted companion for over sixty years. And with school districts across the nation working feverishly to align their curriculum with Common Core standards, Tyler’s straightforward recommendations are sound and effective tools for educators working to create a curriculum that integrates national objectives with their students’ needs.