Reflection #2 – Commonsense in Definitions of Curriculum

Where do you see commonsense at work in the definitions? Especially in the first link, list some of the ways that commonsense might be connected to how we can define curriculum.

Formal, that which is written and planned, is the easiest type of curriculum to site when defining what curriculum is.  However, commonsense shapes what makes up the formal curriculum. Commonsense filters what should and shouldn’t be taught in school.  With formal curriculum being the mainstream idea of what all curriculum is, a lot of knowledge not gained from the written and planned curriculum is left out. If formal curriculum makes up all curriculum there would be a lot that isn’t being learned. Commonsense gives precedence to formal curriculum because it has become common knowledge that what is learned in school is planned and can be found written down in textbooks and binders. What’s not being talked about in curriculum is telling students a dominant narrative bound in commonsense.

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Reflection #1 – Against Common Sense

In the text, Against Common Sense: Teaching & Learning Towards Social Justice, Kumashiro defines ‘commonsense’ as being unquestioned assumptions, ideologies, and practices that are thought to be unbiased and something that everyone should just know. It’s important to pay attention to ‘commonsense’ because while they are believed to be unbiased, they aren’t – the cultural and historical narratives are at play in common sense ideas. Common sense reflects the dominant narratives and when they go unquestioned it helps maintain and reinforce oppressive education. The ideologies and commonsensical ideas of what “good” education is doesn’t work for everyone. Most likely, it only takes into context the people who created it and it therefore serves the dominant social groups at the oppression and disadvantage of the “othered” peoples. By only allowing common sense to dictate what good education and educational practices are, alternatives are automatically marked as not being good.

An important message I have taken from the reading is that while the task of working toward social justice and anti-oppressive education may seem impossible, it’s not. It is a difficult process, but it is of great importance and it is a job that doesn’t have an end; it has to be worked at consistently.

Resource: Kevin K. Kumashiro, Against Common Sense: Teaching and Learning Toward Social Justice, Revised Edition, New York: Routledge, 2009. Print