ECS 210 Day 1 Reflection: The Problem with Common Sense

This week’s reading was titled The Problem of Common Sense. Within this chapter, Kumashiro examines how “common sense” effects teachers and students within the classroom. He defines common sense as practices, attitudes, and actions that have become “so routine and commonplace that they often go unquestioned.” (XXXIII) he also goes on to say that “common sense tells us that experiencing such things is what it means to be in school” (XXXV). To put it more simply, common sense is what the dominant culture or group think to be “normal” or “expected” even though not everyone may share those opinions, especially people of minority groups, for example.

Further, into the chapter, Kumashiro argues that it is important for teachers to pay attention to “common sense” because it can often reinforce oppression and segregation, whether it be in subtle or blatant ways. Kumashiro states that it is not a question whether or not schools should question oppression because they all already do whether it be reinforcing it, going against it, or simply not acknowledging it without them realizing they are doing so. Once these common-sense narratives are placed in children’s heads it is hard to get it out, especially if they learn it from a very young age. Like the saying goes “its harder to unlearn something than it is to learn it, so better get it right the first time”. Habits are hard to break so its important for teachers to use anti-oppressive education that goes against those oppressive common-sense narratives. If teachers can show the next generation that some of those narratives are discriminatory, perhaps then there will be a shift on what “common sense” is and the dominant ideologies will become to correct those false assumptions when they occur.

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