Commonsense, as defined by Kumashiro, is an accumulation of the normative customs and beliefs that are built by collective societal knowledge of what we see repeating in our day-to-day lives. They help us to make sense of and feel one with the world around us. Such as how “My neighbors taught me much about the facets of life in the [Nepali] village that many of them seemed to take for granted as ‘common sense’ or what everyone should know.” These ‘common sense’ facets included things like the purpose of the well water at various times of day, or how they prepared their two meals each day. In the schools, it was seen as common sense to listen and speak only when spoken too, to divide the class by gender, and to study only in ways that they felt would prepare them for the tests to the extent that they felt any other method of teaching would jeopardize their chances of success.
It is clear that what I view as ‘common sense’ is different from the Nepali people. Kumashiro listed some things we take for granted as being ‘normal’ in North American culture, such as how we generally structure our school systems. Throughout the reading, I frequently caught myself thinking that the methods used in Nepal sound outdated and ineffective in comparison to the methods we use here in North America that have been slowly built upon and improved based on research and trial and error and are much more flexible and therefore “better.”
Kumashiro's assignment in Nepal was to “introduce schools to different and presumably more effective ways to teach.” This is not problematic an and of itself, it is beneficial for all teachers to be exposed to different methods of teaching to better help their students, “what [is] problematic [is] our failure to unearth the ways that U.S. [and Canadian] values and priorities and ideologies where embedded in our approaches to teaching and learning.”
Our common sense is full of underlying bias and oppressive views that we never question because the common sense formed around cultural norms have made it easy to overlook oppressive behaviors.