The Problem of Common Sense

January 6th, 2020

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. 

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