Reading Response #4

What does it mean to be a “good” student according to common sense? Which students are privileged by this definition of the good student? What is made impossible to see/understand/believe because of these common sense ideas? Reading response to Kevin Kumashiro’s chapter “Preparing Teachers for Crisis: A Sample Lesson.”

According to common sense, a good student is one who acquiesces, abides and produces work that meets the highest standards according to grading rubrics, in accordance with official government policy. Good students act in accordance with the norms of the dominant culture. Students who have been raised in households that provide them with the necessary cultural capital – educated, middle-class habits and values – are privileged. People who perceive good students in this way often fail to see the strengths of students who do not possess the necessary cultural capital – the behaviours and practices of the dominant, educated, middle-to-upper-middle class culture. Also, students who do not possess the demographic and personal characteristics of the dominant culture – white, heterosexual etc. – are often excluded from consideration as good students by people who are prejudiced (consciously or unconsciously).

Published by millarje

I'm in my first year of the University of Regina's Bachelor of Education After Degree program.

5 thoughts on “Reading Response #4

  1. I agree with everything you are saying. To add on to your post I would say that this commonsense idea of what a “good” student is blinds educators from students who may have different learning behaviours. For example, I am a doodler so many teachers in my high school thought I was never paying attention when really the only way I could was when I was drawing something.

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  2. You make some very good point in your response to Kumashiro’s article. I think it is important to provide every student, regardless of their circumstances, the tools necessary for them to succeed and be “good students”. Every student has the potential to be good.

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  3. Why do you think it is is white privileged males who are the privileged ones as a ‘good student’? According to the definition I could see many Chinese students being the outmost ‘perfect’ student as they have been engrained. in the commonsense of ‘good student’

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    1. Hi Kyla – Thanks for reading my post and leaving a comment. I’m always happy to discuss these sorts of things.

      I don’t believe that “good students” according to Kumashiro’s “common sense” can only be white males. In fact in my post I didn’t refer to either males or females at all. I defined a “good student” according to “common sense” as one who acquiesces, abides, behaves according to dominant norms, and possesses necessary cultural capital. At the end of my post I mentioned that students who are not “white, heterosexual etc.” are “often excluded from consideration as good students by people who are prejudiced (consciously or unconsciously)”. I stand by that. I suppose I could have used “sometimes” instead of “often”. I assume many (most?) teachers are not biased against Asian students. Those teachers could certainly regard Asian students who fit my criteria as “good students” according to “common sense”. The first four sentences of my post comprise my definition of a “good student” according to Kumashiro’s “common sense”. The final sentence is a qualifier and an appropriate one, I think, considering what we learned last week in class about unconscious bias.

      Anyway, thanks again for commenting. I welcome any additional questions you may have or thoughts you’d like to share.

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