Defining what it means to be a “good” student according to commonsense, requires us to think back to how we defined this term in last weeks blog. I understood the term to mean, “facets of life that everyone should know”. Based on this definition, what it means to be a “good” student will vary depending on the accepted commonsense for the scenario you are in. In the Kumashiro reading this week, “Preparing Teachers for Crisis: A Sample Lesson Plan” his definition of a “good” student is one who was capable of behaving and acting the way society and even himself expected them to. Typically, “good” students are ones who adhere to a certain type of behaviour such as remaining in your seat, raising your hand to answer, and handing in your work on time. “Good” students also demonstrate certain skills that should be achieved at each grade level; how to write an essay, quick recall of math facts or being able to tie your shoes. The student examples that Kumashiro uses highlight that, just because the students would not be classified as “good” students, did not mean that they were incapable of learning. What it requires is educators to recognize that there is an oppressive nature to being a student and to learning.

Using this definition of what a “good” student is, some people have a privilege based on their membership in the normative group, which sets the terms of commonsense and ultimately what it means to be a “good” student. The key factor to being privileged is being part of the normative group, which in North America is typically a white, able-bodied person who comes from a stable home life, and who have been taught and learned societal expectations of behaviour. Possessing these factors makes it easier to learn and follow school expectations and earns you the label of “good” student.

Historical factors shape the view of a “good” student due to the fact that education has existed throughout history and has created standards in response to what is occurring at the time. Education in the past did not look the same as it does now, but we have chosen to set the descriptors for a “good” student based off of societal standards of the past. Education will continue to evolve in response to changes in culture and society and as such, we should expect that our view of what it means to be a “good” student will change as well.