ECS 210

What is Common Sense?

Question: How does Kumashiro define ‘common sense?’ Why is it so important to pay attention to the ‘common sense’?

Kumashiro defines common sense in a unique way. From my understanding I believe that Kumashiro suggests that common sense is when a group of people share a similar belief system where they perceive practices and their basic knowledge as the norm. It is interesting that Kumashiro expands the word common sense and applies it at a macro level. He does not simply define the definition as the “sound practical judgment that is independent of specialized knowledge [and] training” ( When Kumshiro describes it he shares it from a group perspective, which was when he experienced a difference in common sense when teaching in Nepal. The customs and beliefs in the world of education that they view as common sense, is different then what we would outline here in North America.

This leads to the importance of common sense. What is common sense? I just defined it in the previous paragraph of what Kumashiro believes it is. Does that mean that my idea of common sense is the same as his? Is your idea of common sense the same as mine? No, the definition is going to change depending on many different aspects. The following are some of the aspects:

  • Culture
  • Location
  • Age
  • etc.

This means that when we are teaching, we need to be aware that we are not assuming that our understanding of common sense is the same as our students.

I have laid out my thoughts and ideas from what I believe Kumashiro was trying to outline. I am not confident that I comprehend and understand the entire picture that Kumashiro defines as common sense, but throughout the readings I hope to grasp the concept further as he explains the term more in-depth.


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