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:


Unpacking My Educational Philosophy

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela

I cannot remember exactly when and where I read this quote first time, but since then, this always has been stuck in my mind as one of my favourite inspirations. As a future educator, I think that the idea of education encompasses not only academic, but also all other development areas in children, including social, personal, physical, moral, and cognitive, and is responsible for becoming better citizens. Throughout schooling, it is inevitable that the students would learn that the world is unjust, contains countless biases in various aspects. However, Mandela’s state has enabled me to believe the power of education and its possibility to make a difference in the next generation while contributing to the children’s development process and learnings, which more likely is built upon the healthy relationship between students and the teacher.


To me, curriculum is still difficult to define. However, I believe that school is a place where education occurs, and the idea of education, as mentioned before, does not necessarily mean just academic context. Education is a strong tool that helps students develop unique perspectives of looking at life, and plays a significant role for all individuals in the society. Education is a very critical investment and a hope to eliminate prejudices, reduce all inequalities while creating a sustainable community and peace for all, no matter what. Also, in order to achieve these goals, the best ‘education’ relies on both parties of teacher and students, and the opportunity to access to education system must be provided to all.

Questions to the ‘Efficiency’ in Curriculum

Respond in your blog to the following writing prompt: Curriculum development from a traditionalist perspective is widely used across schools in Canada and other countries. Can you think about:

A) The ways in which you may have experience the Tyler rationale in your own schooling?

As I was born and raised in South Korea, my entire schooling has done by following the Korean curriculum. Although various differences can be found in the education system between two cultures, similarities certainly exist as well, and I believe that Tyler’s rationale is one of the similarities. As argued in Schiro’s article (2013), Tyler’s rationale values the purpose of school and the schooling process for the desired purpose, while finding the most efficient and effective ways to achieve the purpose. Throughout my schooling, I remember that regardless of the subject, outcome of the class is always written on the top of the board in every lesson. Sometimes students were even asked to read out loud the outcome before the class starts. The lesson would include mini quizzes in regular basis in order for students to be ready for the midterms and finals. By looking back, I think that even though these classes may have been effective to achieve a certain ‘goal’, they were more like ‘training’ than ‘learning’ to me.

B) What are the major limitations of the Tyler rationale/what does it make impossible?

As discussed in the lecture, Tyler’s rationale can be seen as a ‘factory model’ because it features standardized teaching and learning, as well as teacher-orientated classroom rather than student-oriented. This would hinder the students from growing an ability to think critically and differently, strengthening creativity, while lacking socialization skills with less experience in working collaboratively with peers who share different background and ways of learning. Eventually, the students would be kept from accepting and embracing the diversity in the society.

C) What are some potential benefits/what is made possible?

Tyler’s rationale does suggest some structure and organization as a basis for curriculum development and implementation. It allows for rules and regulations regarding mandated subjects that must be taught to everyone. The guidelines can be utilized as a helpful tool for teachers, to ensure that they stay on track and follow similar methods and practices to that of their fellow teachers.



Schiro, M. (2013). Chapter 3: Social Efficiency Ideology. In Curriculum Theory: Conflicting Visions and Enduring Concerns. (2nd ed.). SAGE.

Is Commonsense Really Common?

Kumashiro would argue that the idea of ‘commonsense’ is what everyone should know, which is the default answer that most people would agree on. However, what is deemed as commonsense can be different according to one’s perspective, as it all depends on one’s culture, values, gender, race, socioeconomic class, experiences, background, and many more. That being said, commonsense cannot be universal. People are used to their own ways of thinking and routines, and they would think that those viewpoints and behaviours are considered as commonsense. Although it is not truly ‘commonsense’ to them, newcomers are expected to learn what is ‘commonsense’ in the new culture they reside in, whereas those commonsense is known by locals and seen as ‘norms’, as the locals have been raised with those ‘norms’. This implies that it might be easier for newcomers to question the commonsense because the locals consider it to be normal, while not even considering to question. Also, commonsense is practiced repeatedly, which makes it hard to recognize and challenge it, as it comforts people.


It is important to pay attention to commonsense because it helps us feel comfortable to question our ways of thinking, and intentionally allow this to happen. Due to the fact that those ways of thinking that we are used to, the ‘norms’ in other words, “privilege and benefit some groups and identities while marginalizing and subordinating others on the basis of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disabilities, language, age, and other social markers” (Kumashiro, 2009. p. XXXVI), it must be questioned and challenged with various viewpoints. By challenging what is seen as normative, we would become able to broaden our views toward the differences among people, and feel comfortable to accept those differences while embracing the diversity, which is a key to pursue anti-oppressive education.



Kumashiro. (2009). The Problem of Common SenseIn Against Common Sense: Teaching and Learning Toward Social Justice, pp. XXIX – XLI.