Are You A “Good” Student According to Commonsense?

September 27, 2021 0 By Gledi Toci

I have gotta start by saying, I wasn’t always the “good” student, well what society considers good anyways. I wasn’t always the quietest person in the class much like M. I was seen as a trouble maker by many of my teachers, I struggled to be quiet in class, and had very strong opinions. Even though I came from a country with a very traditional learning style, when I came to Canada I took advantage of my freedom of speech compare to back home. However, that is what got me in trouble in classrooms, I would never want to do the readings or quizzes, I enjoyed presentations much more. Nevertheless, I did eventually become that “good” student teachers want, I was quiet, listened in class, and did all my work without questioning the teachers. This was due to me realizing it was not worth doing anything otherwise since it only got me in trouble.

So what does it mean to be a “good” student according to commonsense? As Kumashiro in the reading, “Preparing Teachers for Crisis: What it Means to be a Good Student”, you have to have specific skills, behavior, and overall standard. This standard as Kamashiro explains it holds students back from being who they are and is created from society itself. That is why a student like M thought she was a bad student when really she just learned different and needed a different environment. This is all due to commonsense, and all these thoughts and standards have become part of our human nature, and something we don’t challenge to change. Its common sense for students to have certain manners towards teachers and students or to not question teachers teaching. However, because its commonsense and part of our human nature, it does not mean we shouldn’t challenge to change it. As Kamashiro states “any perspective has strengths and weaknesses” (p. 27). This quote supports the idea that any perspective taught in schools is not essentially right or wrong, that’s why students need to have a voice. Every student deserves to input their perspective into their education, since there is no wrong opinion.

Secondly, is there certain student prievalged by the definition of a “good” student? The simple answer is yes. A “good” student is expected to have perfect behavior, learn the traditional way, not question anything taught to them and just listen. However, there is students like M, N and even myself, who don’t really benefit from that ideal student concept. Those students who don’t happen to learn well from the traditional learning and get those high marks, are looked down upon in society and made to feel as if they are a “bad” student. This is all because these students have a different learning style from others, and have a different perspective in what they are learning. An example that comes to mind for myself is when I first moved here and my issues in my math class. I would always get in trouble for not showing effort in my math class or doing the homework, however, I had already learned the topics back home, but the prof never cared to ask. Kamashiro supports this when he states “what students already know does not often account for” (p. 26), this becomes an issue for culturally diverse students like myself who come from a different curriculum. So then being said, the students who don’t have behavior issues, or those who don’t come from a different curriculum, are preivelged to be considered a “good” student.

Lastly, how are these “good” students shaped by historical factors? After the reading of “A History of Education”┬áby F.V. Painter, I have caime to realize that the shaping of who is considering a “good” student has been shaping for decades. When painter looks at different countries education system he judges it, believing that the American way is the right way. Racial hierarchy has created an idea of what being a good student is. With racism not being seen as a huge issue when Painter wrote the book, the idea that a student is not considered “good” because of the colour of their skin is just wrong. When Painter talks about the Chinese or Indian people education, he wrties as if they are below him. Seeing that culture/racial hiarachy has clearly impacted our commonsense on whos a “good” student, we now have to challenge that view. This sort of oppression and perspectives needs to be challenged, since we clearly know our commonsense understanding, is not right.