Kumashiro (2009) defines “common sense does not tell us that this is what schools could be doing; it tells us that this and only this is what schools should be doing” (p. XXXV). It is important that we pay attention to ‘common sense’ because it will vary depending on the values and perspectives that are associated with cultures. Kumashiro (2009) goes on to talk about how it is important that “common sense is not what should shape educational reform or curriculum design; it is what needs to be examined and challenged” (p. XXXVI). Educators need to be prepared to examine the curriculum and ensure that the ‘common sense’ is not oppressing the students that are trying to engage with it.
Kumashiro (2009) stated that the type of curriculum model that they encountered in Nepal was a “lecture-practice-exam approach” (p. XXXI). They went on to state that students came to expect that teachers would teach concepts straight from the required textbooks because all the final exams were based off the problems that were in the textbook. Also, Kumashiro (2009) suggested that it was common sense for students to learn this way and that they often asked to be taught concepts and problems from the textbook rather than problems that were created.
In Canada, it is common sense that curriculum is seen as a product. Smith (2000) states, “objectives are set, a plan drawn up, then applied, and the outcomes (products) measured” (p. 2). The benefits of this model are that it “provides and clear notion of outcome so that content and method may be organize and the results evaluated” (Smith, 2000, p. 3). I grew up with this model and I believe that it will be in place until post-secondary institutions change their acceptance requirements. Lots of post-secondary schools admit students strictly based on grade point average (GPA); thus, it is common sense for students to want to learn concepts that they are going to be tested on so that they can ultimately do their best on the exams. Smith (2000) argues that there are clear limitations with this model, such as: the plan or programme assumes great importance, there are questions around the nature of objectives, lack of impact on actual pedagogic practice of objectives and the problem with unanticipated results. Many of these concerns that Smith addresses I have witnessed in my education journey. For instance, I have overheard teachers stressing about not having enough time to “complete all the required outcomes of the curriculum”. Therefore, lots of these teachers have chosen to rush through concepts so that they can complete their required checklist of outcomes that were established by their province. This has a negative impact on the students because if they need additional support or time in certain areas they will not receive it because other outcomes need to be met.