- What does it mean to be a “good” student according to the commonsense? Which students are privileged by this definition of the good student? What is made impossible to see/understand/believe because of these commonsense ideas?
According to Kumashiro’s Against Common Sense, being a “good student” meant that one was willing and able to conform. To the student, this would look like not asking questions that seemed “nonsensical,” or solely handing in works that were traditional – meaning expected artworks in lieu of branching out in one’s own ideas and creativity in fear of being scolded or given a poor mark. The “good student” strives towards As, follows expectations, and does not disrupt the classroom – and above all, answers the teacher’s questions in searching for the “correct answer”, or rather the answer the teacher wants them to give -regurgitating materials instead of giving opinions.
By this definition, the privileged students are those who are able to work in the traditional classroom setting. These students most frequently come from middle or high class homes with attentive parents. Why? Because they have been taught “proper” behaviors and the “social norms” of a classroom setting.
This idea completely overlooks the diversity in a typical classroom culture. There are students from multiple backgrounds including social status, culture, learning types, and health. A Caucasian child from a middle class home with attentive parents will learn differently than a First Nations child in foster care, or a Syrian refugee child who has recently moved to Canada after witnessing the horror of war. How can we expect all children to be under this definition of “a good student?” Perhaps we need to change the definition to be more accepting and tolerant of students with different views, cultures, and ideas of what is proper versus improper.