“Against Common Sense”

Kumashiro’s, “Against Common Sense,” is both thought provoking and educational. I enjoy that his take on the education system and on our role as a teacher is realistic and understanding of the pressures and responsibilities our career carries with it. This pressure and responsibility to deliver to our students the best education possible means questioning our methods and pedagogy. This questioning and challenging of the way things are and why is exactly what Kumashiro advocates for. Not only do we have to deliver the curriculum content and prepare our students for the changing world they live in, but we also have to tackle issues like racism, sexism, bullying and oppression in the school system and society. Balancing all of these tasks and remaining unbiased and non-controversial can seem very daunting and Kumashiro points this out. The forward of the book discusses in length the American school reformation, an issue that is at the forefront of not only America, but also Canada. To me it is alarming how an initiative that initially seems so progressive and positive can essentially be very oppressive and negative once it has been de-constructed. Common sense is schooling is an important part of teaching but Kumashiro also points out how this common sense can also be a hinder to the experience and education of a student. He states that common sense only tells us what schools should be teaching and not what our schools could be teaching. Kumashiro also points out that common sense ignores the oppression that status quo in schools elicits. These common sense constraints and limits within the school system inhibit both teacher and student potential. This is a problem that we as teachers need to face and challenge.