As commonsense is a concept that varies between different cultures and societies, it is difficult to pinpoint a universal concept for what being a “good” student entails. A definition commonly perceived by people is that a “good’ student does exactly what is expected of them by their school. “Good” students show up to class on time and without missing school days, turn in their assignments diligently, and get good marks on homework and exams. Western society places a major emphasis on participation, attendance, and academic excellence. Other cultures have similar expectations of their students, but what they view as ideal or “good” may be vastly different in numerous ways. Franklin Verzelius Newton Painter notes in “A history of education” that education in Asian countries is designed to produce components of the already-established society rather than help build individuals. This, having been written in 1886, is incredibly outdated, but seeing the way Westerners perceived education in other countries is incredibly fascinating and helps understand how Western values and ideals came to be.
Obviously, with this definition of what makes a “good” student, there are a variety of cases in which a student may not be able to meet those expectations. Some students have learning disabilities that prevent them from excelling to the same extent as their classmates, while others may have difficult situations at home that prevent them from getting homework done or coming to class on time. Each case is different, and as a result, it is not fair to not consider a student “good” if they are barred from achieving these ideals through no fault of their own. Students that do not have such disadvantages are able to flourish in a traditional classroom and can be perceived by their teachers as being “good”, whereas those that need special attention or different considerations may not get the opportunities they need to truly flourish.
The model used by Western schools today is most definitely based on older models designed to educate only certain people and create ideal employees. It puts a major emphasis on arriving on time, participating, and doing exemplary work, which are all qualities valued in employees. Back when many students went on to become factory workers, these values were ingrained in them from a young age. Today, with society and the economy having evolved quite significantly, this model is outdated yet continues to be used to produce “good” students in a manner that benefits the privileged and does not give disadvantaged students the opportunity to succeed as well.
Painter, Franklin V. N. “A History of Education.” Internet Archive, New York : D. Appleton, 1 Jan. 1886, archive.org/details/historyofeducati00painiala/page/8/mode/2up.