Every teacher wants a classroom filled with good students. It helps us get through lessons easier, and helps us manage our classroom environment. Good students make our job easier. But what exactly is a “good student?” Kumashiro’s Against Common Sense examines this debate. Common-sense tells us a good student follows the rules, listens attentively, reaches learning outcomes and strives to learn. While these are all good standards of learning, this one-sided view of a good student leaves much to be desired when it comes to examining our diverse students. This type of evaluation oppresses many of our students who struggle with certain aspect of learning, or require different learning strategies. Within the confines of this defintion many student may fail to meet the standards of what it means to be a “good student.” However, when changes are implemented and effective personalized teaching is in place, they are indeed good students. To subject our students to an unfair and biased standard only sets students up for failure. There are many different ways to examine our students’ progress and we have to keep these in mind moving forward.
Another concept Kumashiro discusses is teaching through crisis. This occurs when we teach our students something which requires them to think critically, reflect and make a change. This is an important part of teaching for social justice, and while it may be discomforting to us as teachers and students, it is an important part of our growth as socially conscious people.