“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.

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5 thoughts on ““Against Common Sense”

  1. This is along the same lines of what I got from the reading. I like how you specifically mention the different types of oppression that using common sense within the classroom can lead to. Do you think, in some ways, that the use of common sense within the classroom can be deemed as positive?

  2. Howardecs210: Yes! Common sense can and is used to benefit us in the classroom everyday. I believe that common sense can help us keep our classroom flowing smoothly and help us time-manage the classroom as well. In addition, if we take the time to understand out students and use our common sense critically, we can use that information to tailor our classroom management strategies and focus in on topics of interest in our lesson plans. However, it is important that we do not let our common sense take over our classroom or put too much weight on our common sense which may be highly culturally influenced and negative.

  3. @kweiss3: If we can combat ignorance of cultural oppression then we are taking a giant step in the right direction. I do believe it will get easier to decipher our oppressive pedagogy as we are more educated and become more aware of the ways we encourage oppression in our classrooms unknowingly. Unfortunately it will be challenging for us as teachers, but as long as we keep learning and making a constant effort to create a classroom and curriculum of equality we are doing the best we can! I know personally I am making progress by identifying the parts of my pedagogy that are oppressive and changing them. When I encounter oppressive issues that I had never realized before, I know that I am becoming a better and more prepared teacher. Do you feel that your pedagogy is progressing?

    • I do feel that my pedagogy is progressing! I’m noticing more and more oppressive commonsense things in my daily life, both in school and out of school. I think being able to recognize them elsewhere is helping me recognize them in myself.

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