The Good Student

The “good student” according to the commonsense ideas of education is one who the system works for. To think of it in a way that is more concrete this means that a good student is one who does not challenge the traditional model of education or the content that is provided in schools across not only the province but the country. It could be argued that the good student is one who is complicit, quiet and “smart”. The good student comes to the classroom with a prior base of knowledge that can then be added to and enhanced by the content of the written-curriculum. Socio-economically the good student is probably middle-class to upper-class, white and male. These beliefs are what Kumishiro refers to as common sense. The idea that things are a certain way because that is the way they have always been. To deconstruct further the idea of the common sense student we start to address some of the implicit and systematic biases of our view of education. These ideas of the good student privilege those who come from an Anglo-European background and who likely come from an educated and text-rich family. This commonsense idea of the good student often leads many to look at a struggling student as the problem rather to problematize the system. It is easier to say the student is having issues adapting to the learning than it is to say that we need to adapt the learning to the student. The work involved in turning a reflective lens on not only  the traditional written curriculum, but also the hidden curriculum and the systems we have in place that are intrinsically racist, sexist, biased is much more difficult that simply dismissing a student as not a “good student”. The readings and discussions around ideas of the good student make it difficult to see/understand/believe that it is the system and our commonsense beliefs surrounding education that are causing it to fail students. It is important to remember that just because the system has worked for many (in the class the white majority) does not mean the system is not flawed. Until we can have a system in place that educates all students in a way that fully prepares them for a successful life- until the system fails no one- it is worth challenging, problematizing and hopefully correcting for the implicit biases that allow these failures to continue to happen again and again.

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2 thoughts on “The Good Student

  1. But if the people who are perpetuating the same systems, are brought up in that system, and then successful in that system how do they really know its broken?

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