The ‘Good’ Students

[week 4] post

The notion of a good student is an idea that flickers around society in many ways, a predominant way of which is ‘commonsense’ ideal of the good student. Depending on where you are and the society with which you reside this ideal may in fact be very different, but the good student we’re referring to is a very specific version.

The good student is that student who meets the expectations of the teacher. This student fits the norm for what a student is. The student listens carefully to what the teacher has to say, raises a hand always before speaking. The good student asks questions, but none that would be possibly deemed destructive or an interference. The questions that are acceptable are known to the teacher and the student is expected to only ask those questions and to give the answers the teacher would expect. The good student works hard to memorize the knowledge presented by the teacher and equally hard to have what is perceived as good relations with others. The good student is likely to be the culture, religion, sex, gender orientation, sexual orientation, and nationality that the teacher expects a good student to be – which has seemed to be straight, white, male, christian in the past, and even now this stereotype holds in many regards. Therefore, a student who fits the mold and behaves in the expected ways is the good student and worthy of more attention, praise, and esteem than any other. Should this be the case? Of course not, that shouldn’t even need be said but sometimes it’s quite necessary.

Due to these notions of a good student, the student who learns in a different way or behaves a little differently is shunned as a bad student without any consideration for their individual skills, talents, abilities, and preference and perceptions. That student sitting off to the side, never socializes, carefully examining the flowers growing by the fence can’t possibly be a good student: there must be something wrong with such a student and with that student’s teacher for not getting the student to conform. That’s what the commonsense would have us believe at least…

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