How to be a Good Student

The shared values, beliefs and perspectives within a give culture can be seen through the acceptable behaviours in that society. With regards to education in a Western culture, a good student displays these common behaviours because they are reinforced and taught by parents, teachers, and peers. Some of these behaviours within a school setting would be sitting quietly, sitting still, being able to work independently and within a group setting, participating in the activity/lesson that is given, listen to instructions then work accordingly, be presentable, use proper grammar, share, and the list goes on. Although not all these behaviours are “bad” as in they do not really harm anyone (ex. it’s nice to share and really, that benefits everyone), a lot of these ways of acting in a school setting are the expectations for all which would be challenging for those who don’t speak english as their first language, like to challenge everything you say, have a physical or mental impairment, or come from a low socio-economic family (bad hygiene, bad manners, may be violent because of lack of parental support etc). When student deviate from these behaviours they are told to behave and conform to the common shared knowledge about how to “properly” act. 

Because of commonsense, it is impossible to see the big picture unless you’re looking for it. The idea of partial knowledge contributes to this fact because we may be blinded by how we are suppose to behave and not understand different perspectives and most of all, different circumstances. Opportunities are lost for those who do not fall into these shared beliefs because they are told to oppress their thoughts and feelings in order to be more like the common white folk. Obviously I am stating general assumptions about common sense and I know many people challenge these ideals and standards which leads me to the idea of troubling knowledge… As much as I agree with critical education pedagogy, I see some challenges/critics for Kumashiro’s approach.

Challenges of teaching through crisis:

  • Students are in vulnerable stages in their lives and may feel overwhelmed and utterly confused – their abstract thought process may not yet be fully developed
  • Dealing with traditionalist colleagues and parents
  • Deconstructing and recreating paradigms does not happen over night

I most definitely don’t have the solutions, by I have resources to get there. I get what Kumashiro is saying, and as someone who is interested in anti-oppressive education, I see it as basically taking the most vulnerable and innocent and socializing them in a way that contradicts their comfortable beliefs and the way they see the world in hopes to create critical thinkers and awareness.

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