The “Good” Student

Earlier this semester I wrote a blog post about Kevin Kumashiro’s definition of common sense. Common sense is the assumptions we make without question or analysis; it is the lenses we look through without realizing we are looking through any lenses at all. These sensical assumptions include many things such as what curriculum should look like, which assessment methods are best, AND what this blog will talk about: the good student. Common sense tells us that a good student does not question the teacher, can learn easily, is obedient and submissive, and needs no modifications. Generally, this definition favors white students that have no exceptionalities. When I type “good student” into Google, the image results are very telling about what this definition means. 

Search results when “good student” is typed into Google

If you enlarge that image you will see that the majority of people in those photos are white, at a desk, and are with books or demonstrate obedience and compliance. This definition excludes any students with learning disabilities such as dyslexia or ADHD, any students who are not white, and any students who excel in other areas that are not reading, writing, or arithmetic. This is probably why so many artists have shared their stories about how negative school was for them; their intelligence and talents did not fit into this definition and therefore they were set up to fail. Learning about these assumptions we make has helped me to become much more critical, and now when I hear the term good student I try to imagine all kinds of students from all backgrounds and remember that it will be my job to help them succeed.

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4 thoughts on “The “Good” Student

  1. Alex, I like that you included the Google search results because that shows us that the “good student” view from the past still holds up today, to an extent. The other part of your post that stuck out to me was how we, as teachers, end up failing those students that display their talents outside the academic circle.

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  2. I never thought to type “good student” into google and see what comes up, but in the past it is true that the good students is seen as white and the one who does not question the teacher. I think it is great that learning about this has shown you to look past this sad reality and see all students as good students.

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  3. I love that you’ve included the google image result and I think that it really shows how deep this problem runs. I agree with your final statements that learning these kinds of things will help to make us more critical and open-minded teachers.

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  4. I love that you included the Google search picture into your blog post. I find it hard to believe that the pictures of the “good student” are so selective to mostly being white. This common-sense narrative makes it hard for any student that has a different heritage to see themselves as being a “good student”

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