Redefining Commonsense

Kumashiro defines commonsense as daily practices, routines, and general knowledge that one is expected to know when living in a certain area. However, there does not exist a commonsense that applies worldwide. Across the globe, every single country, village, city, etc. all have their own unique version of commonsense, that outsiders may have difficulty understanding or adjusting to, as they often challenge outsider’s traditional ways of thinking and living that they experience on a daily basis.

It is crucial to not only pay attention to commonsense, but to also understand how commonsense may vary from person to person and place to place. Kumashiro evidently experienced this when he lived in Nepal for he discusses the many changes he had to adapt to from his typical American-style daily routine, and how they challenged many preconceived ideas, thoughts, and practices he already had. What was know as commonsense in Nepal was drastically different from what he was used to, yet for the culture and environment of Nepal it was the most practical way to live life. This was a very eye-opening experience for Kumashiro, and I admire the fact that he appreciated the differences in daily life and did not judge them negatively or view them as less than, simply because they were different from his.

Addressing commonsense as a teacher is something that all classrooms should be exposed to. As Kumashiro explains, students often have preconceived ideas about other cultures and places around the world that are different from theirs, and they are often based on negative stereotypes, or express only a small amount of the actual culture. As teachers it is our job to educate our students on these topics, and not only expose them to the world outside their own, but challenge to find out how commonsense relates to them, and to critically analyze the role it plays in their daily life.


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