How is “common sense” defined, and why is it important to pay attention to?

The problem of common sense (Kumashiro. (2009). Against Common Sense: Teaching and Learning Toward Social Justice, pp. XXIX – XLI

Kumashiro speaks about “common sense” as the things that are often assumed or expected to be discussed/taught as normal because it is simply tradition, or the way that it has developed as standard. It is regarded as the things that we “should” be doing because that is just how it is done. It is often the routine aspects of teaching – and life – that go unquestioned because we are comfortable, and convinced that it is the best practice – for whatever reason. It is that unquestioned nature of the “common sense” that leads to the oppressive nature of the education system. We regard them as normal, without realizing how truly oppressive they are, and are often willing to settle because they easily slide under the radar unnoticed. If we want to foster a healthy educational environment we need to begin by questioning the true nature of how we are addressing social issues – rather than conforming to the way of teaching impressed upon us by Canadian (and/or American) societal norms.

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