Week One: The Problem of Common Sense

Week One: The Problem of Common Sense

  1. How does Kumashiro define ‘commonsense?’ Why is it so important to pay attention to the ‘commonsense’?

Kumashiro defines common sense as the knowledge that everyone knows (or should know) in society. Some things that are considered ‘commonsense’ in our western world are; eating three meals a day and washing your hands after using the washroom. Kumashiro finds out quite quickly that ‘commonsense’ to the people of Nepal is not that obvious to her. She feels lost and overwhelmed in this new society and is struggling to learn their way of life. Some things that are ‘commonsense in Nepal are eating two meals a day and the use of water throughout the day. 

It is important to pay attention to ‘commonsense’ because it is not universal. Ebery society/culture has different things that are ‘commonsense’ to them. As Voltaire said, “Common sense is not so common.” It is really important for me as a future educator to be aware of the things I consider to be obvious or ‘commonsense’. My classroom will be filled with students of all different cultures and backgrounds and it is important that I acknowledge that everyone may not be aware of the ‘commonsense’ in our western society. 

‘Commonsense’ can be comforting and provide a sense of familiarity but it can also be oppressive and limit our perspective and different ways of knowing. 

2. What type(s) of curriculum model did Kumashiro encounter in Nepal?

Kumashiro encountered the “Lecture, practice, exam” curriculum model in Nepal. Their curriculum is definitely a “product” curriculum. Students were given a textbook to follow throughout the year to prepare them for the year-end standardized test that determines if they move on to the next grade. They were lectured on the textbook, given questions to practice and then given an exam. When Kunashiro tried different ways of teaching in her classroom there was much resistance. She wanted to engage the students but they wanted to continue with their textbook-based learning system. 

3. What type(s) of curriculum model is the “commonsense” model in our Canadian school system? What might be the benefits and drawbacks of this model?

In Canada, the curriculum varies from classroom to classroom, but the general idea is the same. The curriculum model is learning separate subjects at set times throughout the day. There is an academic schedule to be followed with goals and certain materials to be covered for each year.  As well as the model encourages kids to participate, get involved in group discussions and ask questions. An advantage of this model is that it is organized and it is clear what goals need to be achieved. However, because education is on a plan and certain things need to be covered it restricts kid’s interest. Teachers are stressed I’m trying to cram in everything that needs to be covered within the year so they cannot spend to much extra time on things their students are expressing interest in. It limits the topics that are taught as well as the way they are taught due to the time limits and goals that need to be reached. 

One thought on “Week One: The Problem of Common Sense

  1. When you make the comment that “common sense can be comforting and provide a sense of familiarity…” I completely agree. But we have to be careful with being in a state of comfortability and familiarity because we stopping thinking about the future and improvement. And when we enter that state we digress which in the end affects the students and the opportunities that can get to be the best version of themselves.

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