The Common Sense of Common Sense

This week, for our first blog post for ECS 210, we read an article by an author whose last name is Kumashiro. Kumashiro discusses common sense and what is in the short article, “The Problem of Common Sense”. Kumashiro does not provide a straight forward definition of common sense, instead opting to use examples. The closest comment made by Kumashiro to define common sense is the following: “‘common sense’ or what everyone should know,” (page XXIX). So basically, the definition of common sense should be common sense (however, one should be cautious because everyone has an opinion on what should be “common sense”). From this comment forward, Kumashiro provides examples. Examples include how his way of teaching, the so-called American way, varies from the Nepal way of teaching. What Kumashiro thought to be common sense to how a classroom was run, was indeed the incorrect way according to the Nepali way. This is simply due to the fact that various groups have routines and knowledge they figure everyone needs to know, and this is dubbed common sense. 

            When it comes to paying attention to common sense, one should be cautious. In Kumashiro’s article, he attempted to teach a class in the American way but was instructed to teach in the Nepali way of the lecture-practice-exam approach. This provides a perfect example of why one should pay attention to common sense. The Nepali value their approach to education, while the Americans value their approach to education. While both believe their approach to be common sense, they turn a blind eye to the values of the others’ education system. By not paying attention to common sense, you are turning a blind eye to societal and cultural norms. If we turn a blind eye to these norms in a classroom, we may give students the wrong impressions. Students may not feel welcomed if we do not know the norms of their society or students may not feel like they fit into society if you are trying to teach different ideas and topics which differ to their community, province, etc… We should pay attention to “common sense” as it influences many choices and actions one does since it is all around them.