“Common Sense” response

Kumashiro defines common sense as the things that everyone knows and accepts and never thinks to question. Kumashiro’s main topic is the school system; therefore, the commonsensical element in schools today is the acceptance that teachers, students, and parents have in regards to curriculum and the way schools are set up.

 

Kumashiro gives an example of the dangers that can come when a society accepts something like the norms of a school system and common sense. He writes about his time spent as a new teacher in Nepal. His experience was an eye-opener to the oppressive nature of his own American Education and way of thinking. Once in Nepal he realized that trying to change a culture or society’s way of teaching in order to mirror his own was much more challenging then expected. He originally had assumed that he would go in and help these people. When really, in the end, they helped him. He realized it was impossible to expect another culture to assimilate into his style and methods of teaching and learning when he himself had never taken the time to unpack his own “commonsensical views [on] education”.

 

Through an example like this it is quite clear how detrimental it can be when one does not examine oneself before they examine others. Kumashiro’s own beliefs and values were so engrained that he never realized the damage that his actions could have on others who did not share his same upbringing and experiences. Commonsensical ideas are not always easy to identify and sometimes we do not want to have to find them out. It seems easier to just accept certain aspects of out school systems; in fact it makes life a whole lot easier. Once you begin to dig deep and explore the roots of content and procedures you may nt like what you find. This is somewhat like the idea behind the hidden curriculum. No one wants to address these issues because they can be awkward and discomforting.

 

However, as Kumashiro clearly points out, in order to change to occur people must be willing to address issues of social justices. Kumashiro also gives clear evidence to show just how easy it can be for social problems to slip through the cracks when there are more ‘pressing matters’ such as curriculum to follow. Although it is super important to address these issues and work towards an anti-bias curriculum, he also gives a warning. Kumashiro stresses the importance of creating trust before diving into social inequalities and issues. Once the trust and respect is established within a school and community then you can begin to introduce new ways of thinking. 

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