How does Kumashiro define ‘commonsense?’ Why is it so important to pay attention to the ‘commonsense’? What commonsense understandings of curriculum and pedagogy do you bring with you into this course?
Kumashiro defines common sense as something that everybody should know. Something that is not necessarily taught but has been implemented without challenge, and designed to cater to a specific group of people. Kumashiro goes on to say that common sense is not always easily recognizable because as we are so accustomed to it. A quote that made me stop and think about the “common sense” that I grew up in and have likely passed down is “it has become normal for us to experience oppression without realizing that we are doing so, especially when, as noted earlier, oppression is masked by or couched in concepts that make us think that this is the way things are supposed to be.” This quote demonstrates just how integrated common sense is within our lives which is why it is so important to question or challenge it.
It was not until Kumashiro traveled to Nepal that they were challenged to live in different common sense than their own. Nepal is where Kumashiro discovered that common sense is not all that common and “quite oppressive.” It is important to pay attention to our “common sense” because of just that, it is not common, and it is oppressive. As soon as something is deemed “common” or “normal” there are ideas such as perfection, “the right way” or “the only way” that come along with it. These ideas are harmful because they are specific and cater to one’s understanding of their own “common sense” or status quo.
My current common sense understanding of pedagogy and curriculum comes from what I witnessed in my elementary and high school years. I understand pedagogy to be individualized beliefs as a teacher that builds the foundation of how you will teach and what you stand for. As for curriculum, it is the material that is to be taught, in what grade levels. The curriculum is the basis that teachers use to build their lesson plans and assess students.