Kumashiro’s ‘Common Sense’

Respond to the following writing prompt: How does Kumashiro define ‘commonsense?’ Why is it so important to pay attention to the ‘common sense’?

Common sense, as defined by Kumashiro, is something that everyone should know or be familiar with. It is a certain view point or idea that a society has collectively and subconsciously agreed upon and accepted. He mentions that once something becomes ‘common sense’ it can be difficult to challenge or move away from because it has been something that’s been traditionally accepted and it provides a kind of comfort to stick with what is known. It is important to note, however, that what is common knowledge to one society could be something that is very unfamiliar to a second society. For example, when Kumashiro talks about his teaching experience in Nepal, many of the ‘common sense’ practices to the Nepali culture were all new to Kumashiro and it took time to learn and understand these practices. It is important to pay attention to the ‘common sense’ because it is something that is usually followed daily and it can help us to understand different practices of different cultures. Kumashiro talks of his experiences in Nepal and says that while teaching his Nepali students, he tried to implement some of the newer teaching techniques that are common in America. His students were quite unfamiliar with such ways of learning, and often asked him to stick with the teaching methods that they had been accustomed to and were now comfortable with. While common sense can provide comfort, Kumashiro mentions that it needs to be examined and challenged in order for growth and development to occur.

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