“The Problem of Common Sense” – Week 1

Prompt: How does Kumashiro define ‘commonsense?’ Why is it so important to pay attention to the ‘commonsense’?

Kumashira defines common sense as being something that “everyone should know.” However, just because it is something everyone should know does not make it correct. The system often views those who do challenge the common sense as irrelevant. He further states that though the “common sense” may be comforting to educators, it is traditional in the fact that it doesn’t challenge the oppression embedded in this particular way of teaching. Instead, this term should provoke teachers to think differently about what it means to teach. This article states that, in Kumashira’s case, the USA’s understanding of teaching was seen by others as the “common sense” way of teaching, but it raises the question, can this way be challenged? Educators should pay attention to common sense and work to test it — therefore challenging oppressive teaching. By doing so, educators can understand and explore the reasons why we teach how we teach and how it can be changed to be inclusive of not only other styles of teaching but other environments. Learning different methods as a teacher is an essential way to grow, so focusing on one “common sense” way of teaching forbids you from adapting to not only the everchanging school environment but, most importantly, your students. As new teachers, we may feel as though we may not be able to challenge anything because we are new to the system, but this article emphasizes that it does not matter where you come from or where you studied but what matters is how you teach and recognizing who you teach. Kumashira highlights that just because you follow what other teachers do does not make it the right and only way to teach. What matters is how you as an individual educator work to include different methods and resources in your classroom in order to make “common sense” for your students as individuals. Especially in Canada, classrooms are made of students from all over the world. So, I think that teachers in Canada have to work harder to stray away from the traditional and not be afraid to explore in order to obtain inclusiveness and stray from oppressive teachings.

Article: The Problem of Common Sense 

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