How does Kumashiro define 'common sense?' Why is it so important to pay attention to the 'common sense'?
Kumashiro seems to define common sense as the normative customs and beliefs that are built by collective societal knowledge of what we see repeating in our day-to-day lives. 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 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 when spoken too, to divide the class by gender, and to study only in ways that they felt would prepare them for the tests.
Looking at myself, my internal thoughts while reading this short article, and the way I phrased the paragraph above; 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. While reading, I caught myself thinking that we have a lot more flexibility in our learning methods and are, therefore ‘better.’ Kumashiro’s statement that, “… what was problematic was our failure to unearth the ways that U.S. values and priorities and ideologies where embedded in our approaches to teaching and learning.” stood out to me because it is something I feel I have always been aware of on the edge of my conscience, but do not think about all too often; and it is essential to think about!
Bringing this back to the topic question about the importance of paying attention to what we define as ‘common sense,’ I feel it is important because we must realize that countries and cultures have different societal norms. The better our understanding of how things differ from place to place, while checking our own beliefs along the way, the more we as educators can help students who struggle to identify themselves within the curriculum.
One quote that I would like to see discussed further is that “common sense limits what is considered to be consistent with the purpose of schooling.” I felt this is a very profound statement that summarizes the importance of acknowledging what we see as ‘common sense.’