The Diary of a Good Student

A good student. I was a good student. I raised my hand when instructed, I handed my assignments in on time, I did anything the teacher asked of me. Did this work? Yeah sure, I got 90’s but why? Did I challenge the teacher? No. Did I look critically into what the teacher was saying? No. Did I dare to challenge what the teacher was teaching? No. I simply did well in high school merely because I just took the information the teacher told me, and portrayed that information through an assignment or a test. I never interpreted ideas, mostly because my ideas I knew, were not the ideas I would be assessed upon. I remember one instance where I did interpret a poem differently than the teacher. While my interpretation was correct, I got the answer on the test wrong. Why? Because the question was multiple choice and I had to choose either the answer which I gathered to be the correct answer or the answer which the teacher gathered to be the correct answer. I chose the answer I thought was right, based on how I interpreted the poem and was marked incorrect simply because it did not align with what my teacher decided the answer to be. I know right now this story may not make sense but keep reading to find out where I’m going with this!

In my opinion, multiple-choice assessment creates a good student as it requires students to answer the question based on the teachers’ answers.

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This week in ECS 210, we were required to read Kumashiro’s Chapter 2 “Preparing Teachers for Crisis: What It Means to Be a Student?” in the book, Against Common Sense. This article addresses what it means to be a “good” student according to commonsense. While the answer is not explicitly implied, it was implicitly stated. A good student is a student who answers questions with the answers the teacher wants to hear and does not question the teacher. These students are the one who fulfills teachers’ expectations and complies with rules and norms whether they are implicitly or explicitly stated. If we think about a “bad student” we often think of the student who talks without raising their hand and always questions the teacher. Or the student who is disruptive since they are not sitting at their desk. Kumashiro says “mainstream society often places value on certain kinds of behaviours, knowledge, and skills, and schools would disadvantage students by not teaching what often matters in schools and society,” (22) meaning society has determined what a good student is. This brings me to talk about the hidden curriculum. I wrote my first assignment on it and the notion of a good student reminds me so very much of the hidden curriculum. I have learnt the hidden curriculum to be the one where the dominant narratives of society are deemed important. An example is raising your hand. In Western culture, it is appropriate to raise your hand to answer a question while in other cultures, just saying your answer or your thoughts/questions can be said whenever. Is this correct? Should a student just be a memorization machine where they need to memorize answers the teacher expects of them? Or should we build students to be critical students? I believe we should build students to be critical students. I highly believe students are smarter than adults, they look at things with a new perspective and they are brilliant with their ideas. Students are more creative than adults, why? Because they are more fearless, especially younger students. Why? They have not gone through as many years as an adult of complying to what their superior says. If they want to believe a cloud looks like a unicorn, then let them. Don’t tell them it looks like a cloud. 

Do you see any unique shapes in the cloud? Or do you just see clouds because that is what you were taught?
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Furthermore, the students who are privileged by this definition are simply those who simply listen and accept what the teacher says. This assimilates students into being very similar. Students are not taught to be able to think on their own, because if they do, there is a high probability that their answer will be wrong because it does not agree with the teacher’s answer. Students’ who are defined as a “good” student doesn’t mean that is good. These students are not being taught to show their creativity, look at topics with different perspectives, or speak their opinion. If students are able to do this, then they would be good students because they are building critical-thinking skills which will serve many beneficial purposes. Every student will be able to succeed if the definition of a good student alters. 

Now I leave you with a question. Why were you a good student? Did you look at ideas through different perspectives or did you just memorize what the teacher said in order to pass a test? 

Until next time…


Life is full of choices. For instance, today, one of my choices was which outfit to wear. I had a wedding to attend and the weather was not warm at all. Thus, my outfit choices were put to the test. Should I wear dress pants and a nice shirt or should I wear a dress? Will I be overdressed if I wear pants? Will I freeze if I wear a dress? In the end, I wore both and switched outfits as part of the wedding was outdoors and part of the wedding was indoors. While this choice seems silly to discuss with you, it is simply an example of the many choices we face everyday. Where am I going with this? Keep reading to find out.

The most challenging aspect of this project I found was deciding a topic.
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For our first ECS 210 assignment, we were given numerous choices. The first choice was to either pick a curricular scholar or a topic/concept to examine? I chose to examine a topic. With this, I then had to choose a topic. What would I choose? Sex education and the curriculum? More than human and the curriculum? There were so many choices to choose from. To choose a topic, I picked on which interested me, while many topics interested me, one stood out. The one which stood out to me was ‘The Hidden Curriculum”. To start researching this topic, I simply typed in “The Hidden Curriculum” into the U of R library database where I was met with many results. From here, I saved a few articles to my account of which sounded interesting and related to my topic. After this, I began to read each of my saved articles and recorded which each one discussed. In the end, three articles stood out to me.

The article which caught my attention was Quality Indicators of Hidden Curriculum in Centers of Higher Education by Ghasem Barani, Fereydoon Azma and Seyyed Hassan Seyyedrezai. Within this article, the one line which grabbed my full attention was, “The hidden curriculum of the educational system reproduces the basic structure of the culture,” (Barani et al., 1658). Essentially, going off of this line, this article discusses how the hidden curriculum is related to culture, the dominant culture which in more cases than none, is typically white culture. This has detrimental effects to the students as well as the teachers, the article states. By following culture, class inequalities are also included in the hidden curriculum where different class students are treated differently unknowingly to teachers and to the students. With developing a keen interest on culture and the hidden curriculum, I read my articles I had saved in the U of R database, focusing my interest on society and culture. 

The article, Starting Where You Are, Revisiting What You Know: A Letter to a First-year Teaching Addressing the Hidden Curriculum written by Cassie J. Brownell relates to the article above. This paper is not your typical article, it is written like a letter with journal-like qualities which sparked my interest. This article addresses how society impacts the hidden curriculum. Like the article above, Brownell discusses how society creates inequality and creates a generational effect of inequality. But unlike the above article, this article discusses how the hidden curriculum is reflected in the world in general and how it is difficult for teachers to change this dialect. Lastly, a third article entitled, Belonging and Learning to Belong in School: The Implications of the Hidden Curriculum for Indigenous Students by Kiara Rahman is very similar to the first two articles as it also discusses society and culture within the hidden curriculum. It also talks about the effects seen from the impact of the hidden curriculum on the Indigenous students of Australia. 

Keep reading to see the next steps of my project!
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For the next steps, I plan to re-read the articles. This time, I will highlight similarities of the articles in one colour, and highlight differences in another. By doing this, I will be able to see the similarities and differences in the articles to gain a better understanding of the topic. From here, I will begin writing my paper. I hope to finish the paper in ample time to give myself enough time to proofread and make changes I deem necessary.

If you have any questions or comments about my progress, I would love to hear them!

Until next time…

Curriculum As A… Blog Post!

Curriculum. What exactly is the curriculum? What are the models of the curriculum? This week in ECS 210, curriculum models were explained in the article “Curriculum Theory and Practice” by Mark Smith. In this article, I learnt that there are four models of curriculum. The first model is Curriculum as a body of knowledge to be transmitted. Smith defines this model to be “a concise statement or table of the heads of a discourse, the contents of a treatise, the subjects of a series of lectures,” which basically means that whatever the teacher knows, they just put onto the students in a lecture type class typically. The benefits of this model are it provides a “’logical’ approach to the subject,” (Smith) essentially where the curriculum states what a teacher needs to teach. The downfall to this approach is “they [lesson planners] are likely to limit their planning to a consideration of the content or the body of knowledge that they wish to transmit,”(Smith). This means that a teacher may limit their lessons to what the curriculum says instead of going above and beyond the curriculum to better their students or changing what the curriculum says. 

The second model of curriculum is Curriculum as Product. Smith defines this model as a routine by saying “objectives are set, a plan drawn up, then applied, and the outcomes (products) measured,” (Smith). This model of curriculum enforces the notion of which a class begins with certain objectives that must be met at the end of the class. The article focuses on the benefits of this approach. One issue with this approach is this approach focuses a lot on planning with a fail or success pattern. It strives for student success with no consideration for what the students want. Also, this model can become messy as academic success is measured with grades and not actually what students are retaining in the classroom. The third problem defined, and what I believe is very important to note is “much of the research concerning teacher thinking and classroom interaction, and curriculum innovation has pointed to the lack of impact on the actual pedagogic practice of objectives” (Smith). This means the curriculum lacks communication with objectives. 

Curriculum as a Product focuses on failures and successes.
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Curriculum as Process is the third model of curriculum. “In this sense curriculum is not a physical thing, but rather the interaction of teachers, students and knowledge. In other words, the curriculum is what actually happens in the classroom and what people do to prepare and evaluate,” (Smith) meaning is based on interaction with teachers and students where there is no set curriculum or outcomes to be met while students are still attaining knowledge. One benefit of this approach is that is expected of the curriculum is to be practiced before being set forward. Another benefit of this approach is “they [students] have a clear voice in the way that the sessions evolve. The focus is on interactions,” (Smith) where the students have a sense of independence where they define what is being taught. One downside to this model is where learning stops once the goal is achieved where students may lose interest since the goal is achieved and there is no urge to go above and beyond since the ‘mission is accomplished’. 

With Curriculum as a Process, students are given a voice as compared to the first two models.
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The last model of curriculum is Curriculum as Praxis which the author defines to be “a development of the process model,” (Smith). While the Praxis model is related to the Process model, it is different. This model takes the students into consideration such as their life experiences, their roles and who the students are as a person, not a ‘factory worker’. The downside to this model, in the way I interpreted it, is the model does not follow curriculum closely which could lead to detrimental effects to students later on in their schooling if they are not reaching their outcomes and indicators early in their education. While this a con for the Praxis model, there is one upside to this model. That is, this model takes into consideration the students’ needs and wants and lets them achieve their goals based on those. 

In my experience in schools, I have seen the transmitted model used. I have seen this model used mostly in university classes, where the professors simply stand in the front of a lecture hall and speak what they know on a topic and do not overly pay attention to you as a student. This has made learning for me possible since I am an auditory learner for many subjects such as history. But this could be detrimental to students who do not learn very well with the auditory method. Another model I have seen used in classes I have been in include the Product model. In my high school math classes (ex: Calculus 30), the teacher simply stated what we would be learning, and a few days later, we would be tested on it. This method made it impossible for one to do well in the class if they did not test very well. With essays and projects, we were given rubrics and a document with a list of requirements where to get a good grade, we had to strive for success and hand the project in on time. If another means of evaluation, such as incorporating the Process model where students’ needs are then considered, there may have more possibility for students to take these classes instead of avoiding them since they knew they would only be evaluated on tests. Lastly, I have experienced the process curriculum where teachers view us as students and do not see us as outcomes or a “mini-teacher” (someone who knows the exact information as the professor and recites it like a robot like in the transmission model). This makes a student feel included and given a voice in their education. All in all, I have probably experienced the pros and cons of each model of the curriculum but until now, I was simply unaware.

Now as I leave you with this post, I would like you to consider, which model of curriculum do you feel made you a better student? 

Until next time,


The Common Sense of Common Sense

This week, for our first blog post for ECS 210, we read an article by an author whose last name is Kumashiro. Kumashiro discusses common sense and what is in the short article, “The Problem of Common Sense”. Kumashiro does not provide a straight forward definition of common sense, instead opting to use examples. The closest comment made by Kumashiro to define common sense is the following: “‘common sense’ or what everyone should know,” (page XXIX). So basically, the definition of common sense should be common sense (however, one should be cautious because everyone has an opinion on what should be “common sense”). From this comment forward, Kumashiro provides examples. Examples include how his way of teaching, the so-called American way, varies from the Nepal way of teaching. What Kumashiro thought to be common sense to how a classroom was run, was indeed the incorrect way according to the Nepali way. This is simply due to the fact that various groups have routines and knowledge they figure everyone needs to know, and this is dubbed common sense. 

            When it comes to paying attention to common sense, one should be cautious. In Kumashiro’s article, he attempted to teach a class in the American way but was instructed to teach in the Nepali way of the lecture-practice-exam approach. This provides a perfect example of why one should pay attention to common sense. The Nepali value their approach to education, while the Americans value their approach to education. While both believe their approach to be common sense, they turn a blind eye to the values of the others’ education system. By not paying attention to common sense, you are turning a blind eye to societal and cultural norms. If we turn a blind eye to these norms in a classroom, we may give students the wrong impressions. Students may not feel welcomed if we do not know the norms of their society or students may not feel like they fit into society if you are trying to teach different ideas and topics which differ to their community, province, etc… We should pay attention to “common sense” as it influences many choices and actions one does since it is all around them.