Post #2 – The “Good Student”

In Kumashiros’s, “Preparing Teachers for Crisis: A Sample Lesson” a good student according to commonsense is one who follows direction and does not ask questions rather, they just do what they are instructed. It is a student who is complacent with the flow of the classroom and is able to sit still and focus on learning by setting aside distractions. A good student, according to commonsense, is one that fits the mold of what a good learner ‘should’ be and is one who follows instructions precisely how they are given. Commonsense learning is about doing everything they as students “are supposed to do.”

The students who are privileged by this definition are those that fit this mold of the “good student” seamlessly. It is the students who think how teachers expect them to think and act how the teachers require them to act. It does not account for students who think or process material differently and it allows for little creativity or autonomy in learning. The students who learn well in a traditional school settings benefit from this type of education while those who differ in learning requirements fall to the detriments of this oppressive approach. The “good student” is a label for those who are able to adapt to the teaching methods they are exposed to and generalizes what every student should strive to be like. It is a term that tries to fit a unique being into the confinements of a uniform box.

The “good” student has been shaped by historical factors in the sense that what is expected of students is predominantly based on past expectations associated with cultural traditions and values. Painter (1886) also identifies how religion influences the criteria for what constitutes a “good” student in certain cultures. These perspectives are often deeply rooted into the culture and as such are very difficult to change. This is especially evident in cultures where change is looked down upon. It is clear that change regarding what the “good” student looks like finds its biggest barriers in culturally developed acceptance and definition.

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