Basic Principles of Curriculum and Instruction
by Ralph W. Tyler
University of Chicago Press, 1969
Paper: 978-0-226-82031-6 | Electronic: 978-0-226-82032-3
DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226820323.001.0001


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What educational purposes should the school seek to attain, and what educational experiences can be provided that are likely to achieve these purposes? Rather than literally answering these questions of curriculum and instruction, Tyler develops a rationale for studying them, and suggests procedures for formulating answers and evaluating programs of study. Quite simply, his book outlines one way of viewing an instructional program as a functioning instrument of education.

The four sections of the book deal with ways of formulating, organizing, and evaluating the educational objectives that have been chosen for the curriculum. Tyler emphasizes the fact that curriculum planning is a continuous cyclical process, involving constand replanning, redevelopment, and reappraisal. Substitution of such an integrated view of an instructional program for hit-or-miss judgment as the basis for curriculum development cannot but result in an increasingly effective curriculum.


Ralph W. Tyler was formerly Professor of Education and Dean, Division of Social Sciences, at the University of Chicago.



1. What Educational Purposes Should the School Seek to Attain?

Studies of the Learners Themselves as a Source of Educational Objectives

Studies of Contemporary Life Outside the School

Suggestions About Objectives from Subject Specialists

The Use of a Philosophy in Selecting Objectives

The Use of a Psychology of Learning in Selecting Objectives

Stating Objectives in a Form to be Helpful in Selecting Learning Experiences and in Guiding Teaching

Meaning of the Term "Learning Experience"

General Principles in Selecting Learning Experiences

Illustrations of the Characteristics of Learning Experiences Useful in Attaining Various Types of Objectives

What is Meant by "Organization"

Criteria for Effective Organization

Elements to be Organized

Organizing Principles

The Organizing Structure

The Process of Planning a Unit of Organization

The Need for Evaluation

Basic Notions Regarding Evaluation

Evaluation Procedures

Using the Results of Evaluation

Other Values and Uses of Evaluation Procedures

5. How a School or College Staff May Work on Curriculum Building