The problem of commonsense

How does Kumashiro define “commonsense”? Why is it so important to pay attention to the “commonsense”?

Kumashiro defines “commonsense” as the customary, or ingrained, way of doing and viewing things.  This includes the current view of what is “correct”, of current traditions, the status quo and doing things without thinking about them objectively or from a different point of view. 

It is important to pay attention to the “commonsense” in order to realize it is there, and to improve teaching practices and challenge oppression.  Basically, just because things have been done a certain way does not mean this should continue just because it is the custom.  Alternative perspectives can challenge the norms of schooling that put certain students at a disadvantage and unfairly benefit others.  Challenging the “commonsense” view of race, gender, sexuality, socioeconomic status and other aspects is the approach to take to improve the approach of anti-oppressive education.  This challenge is difficult to achieve in education because there is a real resistance to change due to the fact that as educators “we often find comfort in the repetition of what is considered commonsense” and “such changes can confront us with very discomforting knowledge” (Kumashiro, 2009).  

 

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