The “Good Student”

According to Painter “Sound education stands before me symbolized by a tree planted near fertilizing waters.” (1) This idea is giving the impression that if you do this set of things that is assumed to be the “right” things then you will end up with the perfect student every time. A common traditional belief that if you put information into a student head enough and often enough then they are going to understand it, and that definitely doesn’t work for all students. As a teacher we have to be flexible to teach differently than what we are used to. Traditionally the idea of a “good student” was because when students were done with school, they were expected to be workers and they wanted uniformed workers and it seemed to be more about structure and learning how to work then the curriculum and what they were actually learning. However, when more jobs and careers became popular most students needed more from there education then just the basic skills.

In the article “Preparing Teachers for Crisis: A Sample Lesson. What it Means to be a Student.” Kumashiro describes a situation from when he was in college and working in a daycare and experienced dealing with a child that did not fit the “good student” character. The idea of a “good student,” someone who follows all the rules and does everything that they are supposed to do and learns everything that they are supposed to learn in the way and at the time they are supposed to learn it. This privileges the students that learn the way that they are taught (the read the textbook and understand type) which is usually a small group of students. I have mixed feelings about the idea of a “good student” mostly because I was that student, I was the “good student” (or so everyone thought) and most of the time I hated it. I was praised for it, but I watched many peers struggle because they thought differently or learned differently or considered lazy because they already knew the material. This idea of a “good student” should not exist but it is still very present in schools today.

1 Comment

  1. bonneaje

    Hi Sarah,
    I enjoyed reading your perspective on our assigned articles. I agree with many of the points you made. I was also what we could label ‘a good student’ but didn’t enjoy it when I noticed my peers weren’t learning the same method that I was. The ‘good student’ label needs to remain a thing of the past.
    Jessica Bonneau

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