The author of “Preparing Teachers for Crises: What It Means to Be a Student” was caught in the commonsense of what a “good”, classic, student was to act like. These traits included:
- Listening quietly during lecture and retaining that information
- Finding the specific answers the teacher wants
- Understanding readings like the teachers do
- Only doing subject tasks during their subject times (ex. Art during art time)
- And behaving like proper adults with manners, silence, obedience
These traits that were ground into this teachers mind actually made him shut down his students’ knowledge, thinking, and creativity. Later, the author learned that his commonsense idea of what a “good” student to look like was hindering his students learning.
The students that are privileged by the above traits would include children who may be:
- Higher status
- Strict parents, perhaps authoritarian parenting styles
- Learn by listening and reading
- Do not have many life experiences or background knowledge
- Who have a set way of thinking, just like their teachers
All these possible traits of students seem absolutely ridiculous, but they would need to be empty vessels. These students would need to all be little robots cut from the same tin. And this just isn’t realistic, which is why we need to move away from the commonsense of “good” students.
These commonsense ideas make it hard to see/ understand/ believe that:
- Children have knowledge
- Children learn through various methods
- There is more than one answer or opinion to learning
- Children’s true intelligence and understandings
In conclusion, as educators, we cannot try to fit all our students in one box. We need to remember that they have their own minds, thoughts, experiences, and understandings about the world. We need to give them their chance to express themselves and to create their own learnings.