I think that school curricula is developed through the knowledge of what students need to know to be a contributing and functional member of society. For example, we need to know some math, as we use it on day to day bases. Learning to write and read is also important…as I am writing this I am thinking to myself “OK, so what about the arts?”. To be honest I don’t have a clue how school curricula is developed, I guess I have just always trusted that someone one out there knows what I need to know. i do however assume that professionals in each field are consulted in each subject area.
Having read the article over carefully it has been made very apparent to me that our education, and what we learn/teach in school is basically a product of politics. The government and powerful/rich people have their hands on everything, and mostly to ensure that school will pump out the necessary workers they will need to benefit the province, not necessarily what the communities need just whatever makes the province money. While I don’t think it is wrong to teach students things that will help them contribute an succeed in their communities, I do not believe that anyone’s education should be up for political debate. It is almost as if we are indirectly told what we are going to do with our lives by the things we learn in our school curricula.
Asking why citizenship is a curricular problem is very complex question. When I read through the readings that present students and what they learn about citizenship I found it interesting that many students can fully describe some ideas that revolve around citizenship but their socioeconomic status has more to do with it that how they learn about it at school. Students that would be categorized into the lower demographic don’t identify with the term citizen, in most cases. When students are engaged in learning about being a good citizen while the residing in the “higher” socioeconomic status they have a tendency to hold more interest. It is very apparent that students, aside from school, have an idea of what a good citizen is, even more interesting they may already know if that applies to them or not.
Coming from a relatively higher middle class background it is hard for me to think of myself as not a citizen. This brings me to reflect on why I think this? Was it the way in which I was brought up, the ways in which I was and am treated in society, or maybe it was even the school I was enrolled in. The idea of white privilege is true and certainly has a role in the understanding my citizenship, but so does my upbringing, the things I was taught at home, at school, walking down the street to the corner store, how I was treated in that corner store. The opportunities I had as a child were nothing short of a privilege. I believe that these privileges have a role in how we view citizenship in our own lives. I am to claiming that is right, because it is not. I guess what I am saying is that our social status does play a role, and I want to know how I can change this.
Changing these socially constructed ideas of what makes a citizen seems impossible, but what would happen if citizenship was part of the curriculum. When I say part of the curriculum I mean, what if students really went through a unit about what a citizen is and what a “good” citizen is, would they then identify with being a citizen? In some cases, I suppose it is proven that they would not. This idea of citizenship goes deeper than our education, how do we as teacher enforce this idea outside of the school?
Commonsense is something that is culturally constructed to maintain or set a level of expectation within a community. To be a “good” student would mean that this particular student uses this culturally constructed ideas of commonsense as guide to his or her own life. In short, a “good” student follows the rules, doesn’t challenge, and remains in the norm at all times. The problem with this is that because this commonsense is culturally created, it can be assumed that it would favor one specific socioeconomic background, race, gender, etc. These commonsense ideas deflate the importance of a diverse community. It truly does take all kinds to make the world go around, so why do should we look to this commonsense to guide us? In history the world changers are almost always rule breakers, they challenge the norms and break through a better world for all.
So what does it mean to be a good student? I believe to be a good student we first need to look at the teachers. For example, what does the teacher facilitate? Do they challenge their students? do they advocate for their students? Sure, some students may need extra attention in the behavioral front or maybe they struggle in a particular subject. Whichever way you put it, I simply cannot say there is such thing as a bad student (short of not putting any effort in and acting as if the world will just hand them the things that they want in life). A good student needs opportunities to challenge the norm, to learn in different ways, to be exposed to new ways of thinking. No two students are the same, so lets not trap them in this box that is commonsense.