Against Common Sense

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Kumashiro’s “Against Common Sense” is a great educational read for any future teacher. Common Sense is (in a way) a state or practice of doing something in a culture that would otherwise be unnoticed if you were not accustomed to their way of living. It comes in many forms and there is not just one way of knowing. Further, someone cannot simply define what is and is not common sense, just as one cannot define what knowledge is in a curriculum. Common sense is different in many places all over the world, however, you can state that common sense is a state of routine or commonplace that often goes unquestioned across the nation for any age, all day, every day, all year. Common sense limits what is considered to be consistent with the purposes of schooling.

Generally, alternative knowledge and perspectives – including perspectives that challenge common sense – are already dismissed as irrelevant or inappropriate because it goes against or past what is considered ‘normal’. In other words, common sense in itself is very oppressive as it refuses change and ignores any variation from the ideal, traditional views. It oppresses race, culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, class, disabilities, age, and so much more. When you know what normative common sense is, you can be aware of it. Therefore, in your classroom, you can explicitly and blatantly work against multiple oppressions. This also allows for more open knowledge to be presented. Common sense represents not only a way of living, but also the stereotypes and prejudice, hate, and discrimination within the already constricted social culture based around one perspective and belief.

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2 responses »

  1. I really enjoyed your response! I especially liked how you stated at the beginning how commonsense is hard to define because it differs between cultures, and it sometimes goes unnoticed if you are unaware of that culture’s customs. You were very clear in your definition and the problems that commonsense can lead to.

  2. Wow, this post brings up many good ideas! You mention that common sense, most times is a negative aspect that can be brought into the classroom., do you think that in select cases common sense may become a positive within the classroom?

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