ECS 210 Common Sense Blog – Sept. 12

In the introduction to his book, Against Common Sense: Teaching and Learning Toward Social Justice”, author Kevin Kumashiro gives an anecdote about his experience teaching in Nepal. His experience taught him about the contrasting ideas of common sense that he and the people of Nepal had. Living and teaching in Nepal taught Kumashiro that what he thought was common sense, was really just his own american ideals and that the people of Nepal lived and functioned in a way that was very different to his own. With regards to teaching, Kumashiro goes on to describe the common sense view of education in the United States as following a simple but strict guideline. There are a set number of classes, set class times, set class years, and generally pre-determined classes or teaching materials. Things in the United States are done in a certain way, and Kumashiro claims that they are not necessarily better than in other parts of the world. He also goes on to talk about how implementing those American ways of common sense teaching can be oppressive and imperialistic towards the other countries. 

 Kumashiro talks about how oppressive these common sense ideas of teaching can be to other countries, but also in the United States itself. It is important to notice and understand common sense, because it helps identify problems within our current school systems. Looking at and thinking critically about what we consider common sense in our schools helps to determine what may be some outdated ways of doing things. Picking about our ideas of what should or shouldn’t be in a classroom right now, or even how a classroom functions, can help to inspire change not only within our schools but also within ourselves as teachers.

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