“Common Sense”

Kumashiro defines “common sense” as a knowledge that “everyone should know”. One’s geographical location, cultural and educational background help to shape their conception of “common sense”. This knowledge is often taken for granted by the people of said area, and is often only realized by an “outsider” visiting a foreign area and holds a different conception of their own “common sense”.

It is important to pay attention to the “common sense” of the area for a number of reasons. Kumashiro explained his difficulties when not understanding the “common sense”, stating that because he did cook their traditional rice-lentil-veggie combo, the people of Nepal assumed that he did not know how to cook. Immersing one’s self in the culture helps to understand this type of “common sense”. It helps the individual connect and also gain a greater respect from the people of the area.

As teachers, respect is needed in order for your students to see your lessons as valuable and something that they will use. Knowing “common sense” will also give the teacher a better understanding of what the students will see as valuable, in turn a better understanding of what type of lessons will engage them. We must understand our students’ cultural backgrounds and unique learning styles in order to create effective and engaging lessons. For these reasons, understanding the “common sense” of the area is crucial knowledge for educators in order to gain the respect of their students and community.


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