Defining Common Sense and Its Importance

Kumashiro (2009) simply defines common sense as “what everyone should know.” Furthermore, he states that common sense is an action that dictates what everyone should be doing, not what they could be doing. Often what everyone in society thinks is unquestioned because the concepts of common sense are thought of as “a traditional perspective” and people feel social pressures to conform to what society thinks for fear of being “different.”

Different cultures are familiar with different practices. For example, Kumashiro (2009) wanted his students in Nepal to sit in mixed-gender groups, as that is the regular routine in America, but in Nepal, the boys always sit together on one side of the room and the girls sit together on the opposite side. The different views may sometimes cause conflicts in society because, as shown in Kumashiro’s (2009) case, he was unintentionally imposing his American views onto his students. In other words, he was oppressing his students because he wanted to change the school system to make it better but did so in a way that promoted American culture.  

Like Kumashiro (2009) states in his introduction, “it has become normal for us to experience oppression without realizing that we are doing so” therefore, it is important for teachers to be reflective so that they are able to analyze what they are saying and teaching and recognize when they are being biased or oppressing other students. If teachers are not reflective, they may continue to put subliminal messages into their lessons and their students may feel targeted. However, students should not be targeted, but instead seen as a valued part of the classroom no matter what their culture and practices are. When this viewpoint is in place in the classroom, the students will be motivated to learn and will be able to reach their full potential.   

Ultimately, oppression is an issue that can often go unnoticed in the classroom. However, if a teacher is able to reflect on their practices, they will be able to catch if they are being biased and can change what they are saying to make a more inclusive classroom. So, all in all, it is important for me, as someone who wants to be a teacher, to be reflective of what I am saying so that my classroom is free of oppression and will ultimately be safer.


Kumashiro. (2009). Against Common Sense: Teaching and Learning Toward Social Justice, pp. XXIX – XLI

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