Common sense within the school system tells us that the traditional “good” student is attentive, follows guidelines, meets outcomes, and completes assignments exactly how the teacher or the curriculum wants them to be completed. This leaves very little room for students to show their creativity because if their ideas don’t match up with the ideas of what and how good students are “supposed to learn,” then the ideas are viewed as unproductive. This is a problem because of the amount of diverse learning styles each individual in a typical classroom has, and the lack of adaptability to conform to these learning styles makes it even more difficult for students to understand class content.
The students that benefit from the idea of what students “should” be learning are the type of students that follow directions very well and can produce work that lines up well with the curriculum. The student’s that may struggle with this idea of common sense would have more ideas that are outside of the box, but not necessarily wrong. Depending on the teacher, however, the second type of student could benefit if their teacher’s idea of what is deemed as common sense followed a more open concept that allowed students to explore the best ways that they learn. As stated in Kumashiro’s “Against Common Sense: Preparing Teacher’s for Crisis: What it Means to Be a Student,” students sometimes respond better to teaching methods that are less structured, and allow more freedom.
Since it is so limiting, the common sense that is structured and precise in school systems makes it very difficult for us to come to the realization that there are boundaries that can be pushed to help students express themselves, all while achieving the same goal. What students should be learning is one thing, but how they are taught can make a world of a difference as far as getting the most out of each student in the class.
For my critical summary assignment, I’ve decided to base my research off of the article “Seeking Race: Finding Racism” by Towani Duchscher. The topic of this article focuses on the author’s experience with racism within the curriculum, and shares some of the real life, racial experiences that she has went through during her time attending school. This article is very powerful to me because like myself, Duchscher comes from a Caucasian family, but is a person of colour. Her experiences are portrayed through poetry and journal like entries that come from specific periods in time in her life.
Duchscher explains how her racial identity does not dwell in the hidden curriculum, but instead, it is nullified. Race as a part of the “null curriculum” in simpler terms means ignored or not included. This is concerning for people of colour because of the lack of acknowledgement of diversity within the school system, and as Duchscher puts, it is “teaching students that black lives do not matter.” I feel that it is important to include students of all races and to continue to learn as much as possible about different cultures and backgrounds, so the fact that she believes the school system isn’t properly educating kids about equality raises some questions. One question that really stuck out for me from the very beginning of the article is when the author asks, “What will my children learn about race?” This quote has great significance to me because it makes me think about the future generations of kids going through school that are potentially not being educated about race and diversity.
My plan for this critical summary is to find two other articles that share the same aspect of lack of racial education, and enrich the topic of race in the curriculum through supporting evidence. My hope is to similarities in the two supporting articles, but with more depth than my original article by Towani Duchscher.
The Tyler Rationale has set a standard for Education for decades, and the basis of this curriculum structure is still used in schools today. The structure can be best described as a system that implements organization across all subjects that is value neutral, and focuses on education experiences that are primarily concerned with the final evaluation. Personally, I can think of many instances that I experienced aspects of the Tyler Rationale without even knowing what that was. For example, having a set schedule on a day to day basis, covering specific subjects on specific days, and learning about these subjects in a specific order applied to my schooling experience. Another example of an educational experience of mine that applies to the Tyler Rationale is the outer curriculum that involves social skills and learning how to be around people. This “curriculum” isn’t written anywhere, but has its own structure as well. Learning how to behave appropriately among dozens of socially diverse people is a skill that isn’t directly taught by teachers, but having boundaries and learning important values like respect and accountability are vital for each stage in life. I can think of many times as a young student where my teachers made sure I was using proper manners, respecting my classmates and other teachers, and making sure that I was putting in the necessary work to get my assignments done.
The Tyler Rationale has aspects to it that are still put to use in schools today, but the limitations have great influence from the students themselves, and the teachers as well. It is largely the teacher’s responsibility to put their students in the best position possible to succeed, and not every student learns things the same way. This becomes problematic if the teacher becomes glued to the curriculum, and can’t make adjustments based off of the needs of their students. The curriculum has an excellent resource to make sure that students are meeting the necessary outcomes, but at times, slight adjustments to the way that material is being presented may be required in order for students to grasp the content.
Kumashiro’s “The Problem of Common Sense” raises some interesting points about how Education is oppressing students by labeling certain practices as “common sense.” Aspects such as Monday to Friday school days from early in the morning to mid-afternoon, and classes that are taught in a closed space are examples of practices that are so routine and unquestioned that it becomes common sense. Schools have been generally the same for so long that creativity and open-mindedness to keep the students engaged is fading. The structure of a day in the life of a student typically has very little diversity as far as ways of learning. Students are so used to the same thing every day that it is becoming common sense for them because it is what school is traditionally supposed to look like. The lack of variety as far as different learning dynamics and setting can have an effect on subject material, making it seem dry. This leads to students memorizing the content rather than comprehending and absorbing the material and applying their knowledge.
It is important to pay attention to the “common sense” that students and teachers acquire so that as teachers, we can look at different ways to relay information, and so that the needs of all types of students are met. An example of changing traditional common sense would be to take a class outside, just for a change from the traditional classroom setting. Some students would appreciate the change in scenery, while other may not, but it is important to address the needs of all students, and creating a balance of variety and familiarity creates a more diverse group of students. Challenging traditional school structures also keeps students on their toes so they acquire multiple ways of looking at material. Knowing when to add variety into a structure is a skill in itself, and it is important to not change things too often to the point where it becomes excessive. However, finding the right balance between familiarity, variety, and challenge is key to getting the most out of students.
Hello! Welcome to my professional blog. My name is Terrell Draude and I am currently in my second year of the Education program at the University of Regina. On this site, you will be able to find information about me, my beliefs, some of my experiences, and helpful resources for aspiring teachers like myself.
Look around, and enjoy the beginnings of my journey to becoming an educator!