What does it mean to be a “good” student according to the commonsense?
The common sense understanding of a “good” student is someone who listens and follows instructions and rules. This student is organized, respectful and falls easily into the routines and expectations of schools and teachers. They most likely test well, answer questions in class, and get good grades.
Which students are privileged by this definition of the good student?
Learners that are privileged by this definition of a “good” student are those who are most likely fully intellectually able, have a “type A” personality and are able to sit still for long periods of time. Additionally, these students often have a good home life (ie. good financial standing, two parents at home, lots of love/attention, all needs are being met, etc). Furthermore, they are more likely to be agreeable with what is being taught and also, what is not being taught (nothing in school goes against their own beliefs/understandings).
What is made impossible to see/understand/believe because of these commonsense ideas?
Through this lens, it becomes impossible to see “bad” students’ difficulties at home, learning difficulties, and the oppression they suffer. Moreover, it is impossible to notice the strengths of these “bad” students. Therefore, the teacher and class are missing out on the students’ perspective; their ideas, opinions, and beliefs. Furthermore, these common sense understandings make it impossible to understand or believe that there may not be a “bad” kid at all. There may not even be a “bad” teacher or “bad” classroom. Most likely, it is a “bad” school system and even further, a “bad” society that writes these narratives that are being implemented in our schools, our classrooms, and our minds. Similar to Kumashiro’s story about “M” in the reading, the traditional classroom is not every student’s ideal setting to learn and that does not make a child inherently bad. Furthermore, like Kumashiro’s student, N, a student that gives an answer that does not align with the teacher’s answer is not inherently wrong.