#1. The Problem with Common Sense

After reading “the problem with common sense”, I have a new perspective on what common sense might actually mean. The author, Kumashiro, defines common sense as something that everyone should know, (Kumashiro, 2009, p. XXIX). Their definition of common sense is very similar to my own, and most likely everyone else’s. The problem with everyone thinking that common sense is just something everyone should know is that everyone has different experiences within their community. If every community performs different daily tasks and declares them common sense, it is virtually impossible for anyone to feel welcome in a new place. In Kumashiro’s experience, they had traveled to Nepal and was unaware that Nepali common sense was different than American common sense. not to say that common sense does not exist, but it is used in inappropriate ways. Since common sense is classified as something that everyone should know, common sense tasks should only be basic human functions, such as eating when hungry. Assuming that everyone has the same knowledge base as one another may limit or discourage certain people from learning.

As future or current teachers it is important to pay close attention to what students say is common sense because it is our job to show students the possibilities of the world, as well as correct and guide them. If a teacher allows students to use common sense as a barrier for problem solving and finding new paths, they will ultimately have a negative outcome on their development. The problem with producing students with one track minds is that they will not reach their full potential socially, mentally, and physically if they are not taught to think outside the box. If a new student from China arrives in a classroom of students who have been apart of the same community and culture for most of their lives, the newcomer may feel out of place and unwelcome if the students are not taught how to view things from other people’s perspectives. Common sense is not a myth, but it is not used in a universal way. Most communities have their own set of values deemed as common sense, however these values may not be interchangeable with other communities. That is why it is important to pay close attention to what some say is common sense and know the difference between inappropriate and appropriate use of the phrase.

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