What is “Common Sense?”

For our first week of ECS 210, myself and my fellow students were asked to read the beginning of Kevin Kumashiro’s Against Common Sense. We were then asked to share our thoughts on what Kumashiro meant by common sense, and why it is so important. I enjoyed the author’s use of personal experience in his writing because it allowed me to better understand his meaning of common sense. According to the author, common sense is the accepted norms that are engrained into minds by place and culture. People become comfortable with certain customs and ideas, and often are not seeking to change them. In his writing, Kumashiro uses his experience in Nepal as an example. When first arriving in Nepal, Kumashiro is surprised to find that the local people only eat two meals per day, as compared to his three. The local people, on the other hand, think of eating two meals a day as the norm. What is classified as common sense changes from place to place, and is unique to each individual. Although not all notions of common sense are negative, certain common sense beliefs can be viewed as oppressive. Educators need to recognize negative common sense ideas in themselves and others, and get rid of these common sense ideas, in order to make their classroom a safe environment that is free of oppression. I look forward to reading more from Kumashiro, as so far I find Against Common Sense very thought provoking. His book highlights the importance of anti-oppression education, but leaves me wondering whether a classroom free of oppression at all times is possible.

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One thought on “What is “Common Sense?”

  1. Cole Puetz says:

    I actually felt really similar things. The fact he had stories of his own helped me feel for his educational experience more clearly.

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