What does it mean to be a “good” student according to the commonsense?
A “good” student is someone who comes to class with a certain amount of knowledge and at the end of they year they know more. This student listens well, follows instructions, does what it expected of them. They comply to classroom norms and follow social norms. They don’t challenge the teacher or themselves, but accept everything that is presented. This student will end up being a good ‘product’, as they will conform and assimilate into being a functional member of society.
The “good” student is what society hopes for. But I suggest, every student is a “good student”. Every child comes to class with their own knowledge and understanding of the world, and when they share and contribute to the class, everyone gains greater insight. The sharing of oneself and respect of others is the foundation of learning; in this environment the students are engaged and contribute to their own education.
Which students are privileged by this definition of the good student?
The privileged ‘good students’ are the ones that the society deems most important. In Canada our society privileges white people, with all other cultures in the middle except for our Indigenous people; they are at the bottom of the hierarchy.
Privileged students can sit still, listen, follow instructions and don’t disrupt the class. These students make the teachers life easier, and are less demanding. Again, these students know and understand societal norms and comply with them. The students who don’t know our culture, are at a disadvantage, as are those with different skin tones.
What is made impossible to see/understand/believe because of these commonsense ideas?
With these commonsense ideas oppression is impossible to see. The privileged people think that they don’t oppress anyone, and they lead good, honest, happy lives. The reality of commonsense is invisible to the majority. Oppression happens, and certain sectors of society are excluded.
We need to start teaching our students to challenge the norms that they see everyday. Challenging and criticizing our normative narratives is difficult and can be an emotional process. We need to feel uncomfortable, as this helps to view things from different perspectives. Being a societal robot and not questioning what’s really going on, doesn’t help society to change and evolve. Just looking at gender, race, and sexual orientation, in the classroom is limiting, these ideas need to be expanded and all areas of society needs critical examination.
Kumashiro, Kevin. (2010), Against Common Sense. Routledge. Retrieved 27 January 2018, from http://www.myilibrary.com?ID=107087