ECS 210 Week 1 Blog Post

  • I would first like to mention that, after reading this first article, my eyes have actually been opened an insane amount. It touches on many points that I believe in as a future teacher and I found myself to really enjoy this read. In this article, Kumashiro defines “commonsense” as a set of cultural or systematic norms that stem from a certain region or places in the world. The word is pretty much exactly as it sounds. It just these basic practices that most people know and are accustomed too. Now, Kumashiro states that this “commonsense” varies from place to place, which is to be expected. Just a small example he gave in the article was that, in the U.S. it is very common for families to have three square meals a day. However, when Kumashiro moved down to Nepal, he learned that it is the norm to have only two squares meals a day with tea being served in between. Now, it’s not to say that these actions are odd or not normal, but that it’s a normal practice in a place that others haven’t experienced before. This is also the reason why it is important to pay attention to commonsense. There is no reason for everyone to have such narrow education that they can’t learn from other parts of the world. When in Nepal, Kumashiro learned that the educational “commonsense” was far different from that of the United States. While he was growing up, and in school himself, he was exposed to mostly hands on learning which was meant to be more engaging for students, so they retained more information in the future. Now that he has taught in Nepal, he learned that this isn’t the case in all school systems in the world. He noticed that in this part of the world, they use a lecture-exam system. This basically means that the students would head off to school and be lectured about a new topic in their textbooks every day, so they can get through everything in order to get the grades they need in their final exams to pass onto the next grade. This is why we need to be aware of and pay attention to “commonsense” in the world. We need to be aware that other places in the world do things differently and that’s okay! It’s not to say one way is better than the other, but people should be exposed to all types of “commonsense” in order to expand their knowledge! In my mind, there is a time and place for lecturing students and writing exams, but there are also times where getting kids more engaged in their work can be effective as well! 
  • To my knowledge, and experience, the Canadian curriculum is very similar to that of the United States. We do lots of learning that is similar to them which all relates back to more engaged learning rather than exam and lecture focused. I do believe, at one point, our school curriculum was similar to Nepal’s, but was later modified in order to make way for a different type of learning. Pro’s for this new method that we run are that kids have a chance to apply what they have learned in order to almost get a real-life experience. A huge downside that I see in our method is that we have some trouble with exams when they do come around. Sometimes, it is hard for students to apply their knowledge when it comes to test time, and that affects them and their final grades moving on. We need to try to come up with new ways to get students to apply their knowledge if we want help our students out to the best of our abilities!