Are You A “Good” Student?

What does it mean to be a “good” student according to the 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?


If I were to define what it means to be a ‘good’ student according to the ‘common sense’, I would say that a student who is diligent, obeys what the teacher says, repeats and practices what he/she was told in the class. Hence, the student is able to learn what he/she is ‘supposed’ to learn according to the curriculum that suggests a clear guideline of “what books students need to read, how many and what types of essays they need to write, what vocabulary words they need to memorize, and the for final exam, what themes from the books they needed to understand and be able to develop in short essays (Kumashiro, 2004, pg. 19).” This indicates that the idea of common sense here does not allow students to have an opportunity to express their thoughts in class, while keeping them from experiencing a diverse spectrum of creativity, imagination, as well as critical thinking. In this circumstance, it is likely that the process of learning is not up to the students to decide. Rather, it tends to be a process of embedding the knowledge, which I personally think is a less efficient way of learning comparing to those of learning process that encompasses the process of experience or exploration of knowledge.


I believe that the students who are familiar with the standardized classroom. In other words, those who are used to the traditional education system would be seen as ‘good’ students, as they are more likely to get better grades on the standardized exams or assessments, which will result in being successful in the classroom. Role of the teacher here, would be offering teacher-oriented lectures, traditional tasks, assignments, and exams that are considered as a ‘suitable’ or ‘appropriate way’ to evaluate the students. Eventually, the classroom would become more like a ‘factory model’, as mentioned by Katia in the second week’s lecture. With less difference in thoughts and more uniformity among students, the teacher is put at ease and the traditional system can remain the same, as the ‘common sense’ does not have to change.


As I described briefly above, the idea of being a ‘good’ student when it comes to the ‘common sense’ makes it impossible for students to have their own thoughts as they would be trained to think in the same way as what they were told in the classroom. This, again, eliminates an individual’s opportunity to develop critical thinking, creativity, imagination, as well as ability to work collaboratively, as they would experience insufficient opportunities to work together with peers. Further, it would be hard for these students to become open-minded humans that recognize the beauty of diversity among people and within the society, because this standardized and traditional way of schooling does not enable them to learn about it.



Kumashiro, K. (2004). Chapter 2: Preparing Teachers for Crisis: What It Means to Be a Student. In Against Common Sense. (p. 19). Retrieved from:


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