Week Two: History of Curriculum

  1. What does it mean to be a “good” student according to the commonsense?

According to commonsense, a “good” student meets the teachers’ expectations and behaves appropriately according to the teacher’s or society’s set standards.  A few of these expectations and standards include following directions, sitting quietly (which represents listening), getting along with others, and completing homework as the teacher assigns on time. 


2. Which students are privileged by this definition of the “good” student?

Students which are privileged by this definition of the good student are those that are able to meet the expectations. They have been raised in stable homes that have provided for their basic needs, get enough sleep, have nutritious meals, have healthy outlets for their energy, and have supportive people who listen to them.  On top of that, they have been trained to do what they are told, such as to sit quietly in desks for long periods of the day and to respect authority. The good student has been accustomed to telling the teacher what they want to hear instead of pushing boundaries and thinking outside of the box. The “good” student, probably does not have obvious mental health or behavioral issues, any exceptionalities such as ADD or challenges learning. They probably come from a culture that has very similar values and expectations regarding learning as the school does. Personally, I would have been considered privileged and defined as “a good student”. However, part of the reason I was considered this was because I was too shy to bring attention to myself as well as scared of possibly be told my ideas were wrong. 

3. How is the “good” student shaped by historical factors?

Painting (1886) shares a lot about the history of education. Unfortunately, it was common historically that education was mostly only offered to a select type of people – men and the upper-class. Education was meant to train people to fit into society’s standards so that they could contribute to the economy. In some cases, the people were trained so they could work effectively as “a good employee” in the factory industry. Painting (1886) describes the ideal qualities to be “industrious”, “economical”, “polite”, “kind”, “honor their parents”, “respect those in authority”, and “patience”. People were not educated to become who they want to be, instead they were brainwashed to fit into society. I do believe respecting authority is important, but only if and when authority can be trusted and has earned the respect they demand. 

2 thoughts on “Week Two: History of Curriculum

  1. Celina,

    I’m intrigued by your last line, “respecting authority is important, but if and only when authority can be trusted and has earned the respect”. Teaching is about relationships and mutual respect.
    Thank you for sharing your own experiences of being a “good” student. It’s interesting how limiting this “good student” model actual is when it comes to learning How much more would you have learnt? What kind of inquisitiveness could have been nurtured?

    Thank you for your reflection. So many things to consider.

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