Common Sense

Hearing “Common Sense” as the definition of what everyone should know, by Kumashiro, was interesting. It can be so easy to forget that the things that are normal and accepted in my understanding, are not what is normal and accepted in other people’s understanding. Another person may have a whole different concept of an idea that for me is just accepted as a fact.
Kumanshiro encountered a very product orientated curriculum model in Nepal. The students were taught exactly what they needed to learn to be successful on the exams at the end of the school year. It was very clearly laid out to reach a specific goal, as Smith would say, “scientific.”
I haven’t been to school for over 15 years, so to judge what school looks like now is difficult. My school experience was fairly product orientated with a little of process. The goal was to have the students pass the grade/graduate. There were specific classes to encourage judgement development and meaning making, however the focus was just getting the students through to graduation. The benefit of this was that many students graduated, however school was not something that I valued or enjoyed while I was there, as it was a negative atmosphere in which I felt adrift and vulnerable with little too no idea how to navigate important day to day interactions in the classroom.
This past year, I was able to spend some time in a grade 5 classroom and I was pleasantly surprised by how the teacher encouraged the children to think for themselves and to teach each other. The learning experience was much different than my school experience. There was a lot more emphasis on personal development, and giving power to the students to make change in their world. I think that this is amazing. While it is important for students to learn to read, write, add, subtract, etc…, I believe it is equally important for students to think critically, know that they have power to be a change in the world around them, and to value others.
I am looking forward to being in more classrooms, seeing the different models of curriculum, and learning as much as possible. 

Links to articles this blog stemmed from:
The Problem with Common Sense
Curriculum Theory and Practice

2 Replies to “Common Sense”

  1. I enjoyed reading your blog post, Jennifer! You touched on both of the readings and incorporated both into your response. I agree with you on your point about how common sense differs from place to place, and it is incredibly easy to forget or push this information to the back of your mind. I know I am guilty of this at times!

    I must say that I am thankful that all of the schools I attended did not solely rely on the curriculum’s product model (although there was plenty). Like yourself, I have been out of school for ten years, and my experience could be very different from today’s classrooms. I think at the time that many people would experience some of the product model. I realize in my post that I focused all on the articles and did not incorporate my experiences, which I am now regretting. There is so much to get out of personal experiences and reflection.

    I find myself deep in thought about your comment indicating high graduation rates but the lack of enjoyment during the time spent at school. I am glad your current experience in the classroom showcased a different experience where students were encouraged to express themselves and challenge ideas. I look forward to us all having these experiences for ourselves in the future!

    1. Thank-you for your thoughtful reply. I am grateful that you school experience, though also a bit in the past was a better experience than mine. It is encouraging to hear your thoughts.

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