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Curriculum Development in the Twenties and Thirties


by Ralph W. Tyler 1971

The American leaders of curriculum development after World War I sought to base their guiding principles upon the results of scientific studies of education. Thorndike's investigations of transfer of training had destroyed the earlier confidence in the educational value of school subjects as such. Formal discipline could no longer be invoked to justify the inclusion of such fields as Latin and geometry in high school programs. The relevance of the content of the curriculum to the problems and activities of contemporary life had to be considered. Furthermore, scientific studies of memorization showed that children forget material in a short time unless they have frequent occasions to recall what they have memorized. These findings suggested that curriculum content must be selected which children will have early and frequent occasions to use.


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This article originally appeared as NSSE Yearbook Vol 70, No. 1.


Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 72 Number 5, 1971, p. 26-44
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 19522, Date Accessed: 10/24/2017 5:39:54 AM

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About the Author
  • Ralph Tyler
    Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences
    RALPH W. TYLER is the Director Emeritus of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.
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