What is a “Good” Student?

Hello everyone!

In ECS 210, things are getting busy. I have an essay due this Friday and I had a few readings to do before I could write this post.

This week we were asked to think about what a good student is and how common sense influences this idea.

The common sense of society states that a “good” student is what all students should strive to be. A “good” student is someone who sits down quietly in their desk. A “good” student is someone who gets all of their work done to what the teacher expects to be their best ability. A “good” student is also someone who will keep busy once they are done their work. They are also the person that does not cause the teacher issues. A “good” student is someone that the teacher does not have to pay much attention to unless they are asking a question.

The idea of “good” and “bad” students is something that society has constructed. Very few students actually fit the ideal “good” student that society has constructed. Students that are able to sit quietly in their desk are privileged by this idea that there are “good” and “bad” students. The students that understand that there are “good” and “bad” students and have the ability and drive to become what society wants them to be, will learn how to play the game of school.

When I was younger I learnt quite quickly, probably before I was in grade two, what a “good” student looked like. I, like many other students, wanted my teachers’ approval so I learnt how to play the game of schooling. I learnt how to sit quietly and get the highest grades possible in school. I knew that I was a “good” student because I got my teachers’ praise for sitting quietly and doing well on assignments.

Being a “good” student is not possible for many students. Many students with exceptionalities (disabilities) will be unable to sit quietly in their desks for long periods of times. Many students that do not have disabilities or who can tolerate sitting still for long periods of time are privileged by this idea that some students are “good” and some students are “bad”.

It is impossible for every student to feel valued and that they belong when the common sense of society is telling students that there is such a thing as a “good” student. Some students will never be able to fit this mold of being a “good” student. Many students will feel that they can never reach these impossible expectations that society has placed on them and many students will never be able to be this “good” student that society wants every child to be.

There should be no such thing as “good” and “bad” students. Teachers must strive to break away from the idea that society has forced them to believe to be true for their entire schooling. Teachers must accept that they have a notion of what a “good” student is and they must take apart that idea and recognize that it will harm many of their students. Teachers must ensure that they see all of their students as good, regardless of their behaviour, ability, or their work ethic. Every student is good in their own way, many of which will not fit into what society deems to be “good”.

What are your thoughts on “good” students? Do you think there needs to be change?

Thanks for reading my blog post!

Ashley Osachoff

6 thoughts on “What is a “Good” Student?

  1. I think what you said regarding students who don’t have a disability will find it hard to be the good student, especially kids who don’t like school and don’t want to be there. Students who don’t do well taking tests and are not able to memorize, these student at some point will feel defeated and probably depressed.
    To answer your question, I do think that it’s problematic that we have a good student model. Not every student will fit this ideal model and so as teachers we need to able to find new ways to teach to those students.

    As a future teacher when you have a student who is disrupted and not fitting the “good” student model what would you do?


    • Hello!
      As a future teacher, I think the students that are disruptive or not fitting what society thinks a “good” student is are often the students that need the most attention or help. I do not think that there are such things as a “bad” student. I think students have bad behaviour, but that does not mean they are bad people. I think it is important to have an open conversation with a student that is have disruptive behaviour in private. I think it is important for the student to give reason to why they are acting in this way and if there is something more going on in the situation. I think it is important to create a plan with the student to find ways to help the change the situation that is causing the behvaiour.



  2. Hi Ashley,
    I really enjoyed reading this blog post. You make some really interesting points about which students benefit from the “good” student model and who do not. I think in one sense, there needs to be some order within the classroom with the rules that make a “good” student but on the other hand, I believe in a balance between control and freedom. I use the word control very lightly here. How do you plan on achieving a balanced classroom and how do you think you will handle the “problem” students?


    • Hello Rachel!
      I agree with your statement that there should be some rules and guidelines in a classroom to ensure that all students are able to learn. I think you made a great statement stating that there should be a balance between control and freedom.
      I think that a “problem” student is the student that teachers often need to connect with. I do not believe that any student is a bad student, I think that some students have bad behaviour for various reasons. I think it is important to talk privately with a student that is having “bad” behaviour and find out why they are acting in that manor. I think there is often more to a situation than a student just wanting to cause issues. Working with the student to create a plan that will help the situation that is causing the student’s behaviour would be my first step to try to handle a “problem” student.



  3. Hi Ashley,
    I enjoyed your thoughts on “good” and “bad” students. I also really liked when you said, “the game of school”. I agree that with the idea of “good” and “bad” students, school becomes a sort of game. A game that requires getting teacher approval and fitting societies mold of being “good”. I thought this was a really neat insight and a cool way to look at it.
    Thanks for sharing,


  4. Pingback: ECS 210 – Gerry Can you Please Grade these Blogs | Miss Osachoff's Education Blog

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