What Makes a Good Student?

In the world today, students of all ages experience very different situations within the classroom. Some students are very attentive and have little to no problem learning and listening in a standard classroom setting. In other cases, students are struggling to learn and engage in this traditional way of teaching. Unfortunately many kids today deal with various learning disabilities or various strains of ADHD and other limitations, thus affecting their learning. As a teacher in the 21st century, it is incredibly important to get to know your students on an individual level. Begin to understand their strengths and weaknesses while in the classroom. No child will learn exactly the same as the child next to them and as teachers it is time to wake up and see that. The community of Education is beginning to be more inclusive to these different learners, but it can be quite challenging for teachers.

Every teacher wants to see their students succeed, but if some students do not learn or engage in the same way the majority of the class does it can become difficult for a single teacher. Becoming more aware of different learning styles and even different teaching techniques is very important in the school world today if we want the younger generations to succeed.

In Kumashiro’s book, “Against Common Sense”, chapter two, the author addresses these types of challenges and how frustrating and exhausting it can be for a teacher. Kumashiro also discusses the idea of common sense and delves into how much that term can vary from person to person and place to place. Today we believe common sense is standard and normal to every sane person, specifically in the classroom. This is no longer true which is why teaching can become a lot more complex than it was fifty years ago. As the world and generations evolve, our schooling system does not. To be a good student in general it means to be quiet, listen, and complete your homework. We must realize that NOT ALL students learn the same way and just because one child learns differently or cannot adapt to the traditional classroom, it does not mean they are a bad student.

The types of learners that can succeed in a traditional setting with no struggles are considered to be fortunate and even privileged. This standard of learning is not as common as it once was. When we continue to implant this idea of strictly structured learning and teaching, and the idea of common sense into the minds of young learners we will lose them in the process. Teaching is not an easy four year program that automatically makes you an incredible teacher, it will take trials and errors to find what way you teach best. Although teachers must learn to be flexible with their diverse learners, it is also important to introduce standard learning for their students that struggle as well. It is a grey area because sometimes you cannot give your student exactly what they need to succeed and often times we must show them how to learn in their own way rather than conform to this traditional idea of school and common sense.

 

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Empowering Perspectives Regarding Curriculum

Although there are many curriculum theorists that have influenced the nature of Education, Maria Montessori stood out for me. The fact that she was a powerful woman in a sexist world and still impacted the world of schooling inspires me and many other soon-to-be teachers. Her words spoke strongly to me as I know they did to many others as well. A quote from her that I admired and helped give a positive vision of curriculum and teaching as a practise is: “When you have solved the problem of controlling the attention of the child, you have solved the entire problem of its education”. (https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/maria_montessori_752883)

The reason I like this quote is because it is inclusive to all types of students. I have found that a lot of curriculum theorists within history appear more traditional and a bit more narrow viewed than we need in the world today. Although all of the theorists we have study have presented incredible ideas of Education, I find that the importance Montessori had implied on students of all kinds including those of low economic status and those facing various disabilities is very influential today. All the classrooms we will encounter as educators will be incredibly diverse especially today and I think that as a teacher it is important to be flexible for all students. This quote recognizes how students minds are very imaginative and a bit all over the place especially when in the classroom. As an educator she responds to this commonality by expressing the importance of avoiding the constraints of a students diverse minds. Students must learn to think on their own and not “how to think”. I believe that this quote opens up doors for students who cannot sit still and be solely drilled academics and expected to succeed in the world after school. By allowing students to think freely and solely we help shape them into individual learners rather than constrict them to a traditional ideal of what education is. Within this class we have already recognized the importance of formal and informal education and I believe that this quote proves that to be relevant to all successful teachers.