The article describes ‘commonsense’ as knowledge that everyone knows in a society. Some examples used are knowing that a school year runs from Fall to Spring, knowing that the three main meals are breakfast, lunch and dinner, and even daily hygiene routines like brushing your teeth and taking a shower. The importance of paying attention to ‘commonsense’ is the fact that our western ‘commonsense’ knowledge is not universal. Our knowledge of common sense creates a barrier and limits our perspectives on different ways of knowing/living. If we don’t pay attention to the common sense, especially as educators, we will continue to affirm some oppressive ways of thinking.
Kumashiro encountered a “lecture, practice, exam” curriculum model in Nepal. The lessons were textbook-based with limited room for student participation or alternative/critical thinking. The pedagogy was described as an environment where the teacher is in complete control of the student’s learning experience, and the students simply consume whatever the teacher writes on the board with no questions.
Our Canadian school system ‘common sense’ model focuses on learning separate subjects throughout different times of the day. Generally, there will be one teacher, sometimes with an assistant, guiding an entire class. Teachers are seen to be the ‘knowledge holders’ who unveil this knowledge to the students based on an organized academic schedule – “learning is planned and guided”. Students are generally encouraged and praised for their participation, and are often asked to work with their peers to problem solve or discover learning opportunities. Some advantages of this model is having a structured and organized system where students are able to have some input in their learning experience. Even though structure and organization in a school system can be great, a completely planned learning schedule with pre-determined learning outcomes can restrict a student’s authentic curiosity of a subject/topic, and can limit the ways in which a topic is approached and taught – all students learn differently and at different paces.