Why is it so important to pay attention to the ‘common sense’?

What is ‘common sense’? I guess I have been using it to measure and find out place where I fit, or perhaps I use it to conform or restrict myself so I present myself in certain ways, how I should be… perhaps, like a go-to guide book. However, the common sense I formed where I grew up in Japan did not completely fit into Canadian one and I quickly learned to adjust my way of thinking and figure out what is appropriate manner to behave so I would not get misunderstood by others. In some sense, ‘common sense’ help me to accustom myself into Canadian life comfortably. Although I despised the social conformity and restrictions that surround us, yet I do rely on my ‘common sense’ as an easy way to go on.

Kumashiro talks in his book, Against Common Sense, about how important to pay attention to the ‘common sense’ used by us in daily life, especially in school settings. Common sense; how teachers should be, how students should behave in the classroom, how school schedule are like, many of what people think about school were never taught as a subject. Rather we some how pick up those social cues from our communities, as well from the attitude of the people we associate with. Furthermore, many curriculum and assessments are influenced with common sense, such as ‘standard’ and an indicator: a child ‘should‘ be able to do this by this time period. Kumashiro points out:

What is significant here is the notion that oppression often plays out unrecognized and unchallenged in schools because it has successfully convinced us that schools are neutral, are nonoppressive, and should not be taking a stand one way or the other on issues of oppression.

 Why is it important to pay attention to the ‘common sense’? We must be conscious about what teachers standardize how students should be as common sense can create oppressive environment for certain students who does not fit into the standard. So we can stop assuming how it should be and start questioning why what we consider is the way it should be.

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