Good Student

What the “Man” thinks a good student should be.

In Western schools, a good student shows up to class on time, is neatly dressed, and has all their materials. They listen to the instructor, take notes, and make eye contact. They don’t distract their peers. They participate in the class when prompted. Once at home a good student completes the required assignments and at the end of the lesson/unit/term the good student is able to reproduce the important skills or concepts that the teacher covered.

According to this system, creativity and critical thinking are impossible. A good student is required to agree with and repeat the lesson, never questioning, never going further than the instructor requires. But this system makes it possible for good students to feel assured of themselves, to give others what they want, and to maintain the status quo.

 

What I think a good student should be.

A good student is aware of their world and thinks critically about people, systems, and environments. They ask questions. They challenge both instructors and their peers in constructive ways. They formulate their own opinions/perspectives and can support their views. Good students are always striving.

This perspective, however,  heavily favors North American qualities of assertiveness and confidence, which excludes values that other cultures hold. It requires that students already have well-developed communication and critical thinking skills that, frankly, most adults don’t have. But it does allow students to express themselves and their ideas, to generate knowledge, and to make their own decisions (although these are, again, values that are predominantly favored in North America).

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