ECS 210- Natalie Katzberg

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The problem with Common Sense – (From Kumashiro. (2009). Against Common Sense: Teaching and Learning Toward Social Justice, pp. XXIX – XLI). 

My interpretation to Kumashiro ‘commonsense’ definition is, if we get stuck in our ways and do not leave room for change and growth commonsense goes out the window. It is important to pay attention to the ‘commonsense’ because our learning and teaching can become too predictable, which can take the purpose and effectiveness away from our teaching and learning. The different types of curriculum model Kumashiro ecountered in Nepal was lecture-practice-exam vs American teaching more lecture and memorization.

The students in Nepal focus their learning on the main four disciplines of educations, social studies, English language/literature, Mathematic and natural science. They structure their classrooms according to levels of intelligence, they share resources and and have a very structured disciplined manor of teaching. They tend to focus more on the 3 r’s reading, writing and arithmetics, their view is that any other forms of teachings are a distraction to what should be taught. This takes away from students being able to think for themselves and makes the students views similar which conforms their thinking.

The Canadian curriculum has similarities to those of Nepal (the 3 r’s), the differences are we focus on 4 different strands of learning in our curriculum- 1) Develop Thinking 2) Develop Identity and Interdependence 3) Develop Literacies 4) Develop Social Responsibility. The drawbacks to our commonsense model is perhaps we do loose a bit of the essential learning day to day in the classroom. However teaching our students in my opinion to be critical thinkers and decision makers is a huge part of learning in todays society.

1 thought on “ECS 210- Natalie Katzberg

  1. Thanks for your response, Natalie! I agree that relying too much on commonsense can lead to monotony or predictability, however, I think that the real danger of ignoring the commonsense is that commonsense can often be oppressive to particular groups, so it’s important that we reflect critically on it.

    When thinking about curriculum models, recall that we read about the four difficult approaches to curriculum design – syllabus, product, process, and praxis. Which of these designs do you see reflected in the lecture-practice-exam model Kumashiro describes in Nepal, and which do you see here in Canada (or Saskatchewan)? Make sure that you are making connections to the Smith reading as well! You mention the four aims of the Sask curriculum: 1) Develop Thinking 2) Develop Identity and Interdependence 3) Develop Literacies 4) Develop Social Responsibility – can you see a bit of the praxis and process models here??

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