Kumashiro uses his experiences in Nepal, where he taught in a small village, to anecdotally come up with a definition for common sense. While in Nepal, he frequently describes how it took time for him to get accustomed to the different ways of living with the villagers as compared to in the US, such as their meals, use of water, privacy, and schooling. What was strange for him was the common sense in this village. Common sense could be defined as facets of life that everyone should know. It is the status quo, which is what is familiar, normal, and comforting.

In Nepal, Kumashiro was presented with a curriculum model that was based on a traditional, lecture – practice – exam approach. Deviating from this was met with resistance. Doing anything different was considered nonsensical by the students. Their traditional approach was common sense.

Kumashiro theorizes that it is important to pay attention to “the common sense” because it is based in tradition and doesn’t challenge the status quo. This is specifically the case with education, which he believes is oppressive in nature. The oppressive aspects of society are embedded in the education system and have become normal and familiar. He believes we need embrace an anti-oppressive model towards education by re-centering education on issues of social justice by creating safe schools for the marginalized, different, and discriminated students. By providing curriculum that educates the students to understand and embrace our differences and for teachers to enable students to become aware and critique how society favours certain groups.

The “commonsense” model used in our Canadian school system still follows a more traditional approach in terms of structure. Classes generally start in September and finish in June. Material is divided by disciplines and students grouped by age. In terms of theory and practice, the commonsense model still favours the curriculum as a product, where objectives are set, applied and outcomes are measured. The benefit of this approach is that it is systematic, detail oriented and technical which makes it easy to measure and evaluate. The drawbacks are that it doesn’t consider different learning styles, demographics, or other social issues that a curriculum of process can provide, where there is more fluidity and flexibility between teacher, student and knowledge.