I have talked about the idea of commonsense before in my blog post: Commonsense reflection, but this is about the commonsense understanding of the “good” student.
Kumashiro talks about the “commonsense” understanding of the “good” student. in the second chapter of his work against commonsense. What he is saying is that a common sense student is one that gains the right knowledge and understanding of material. But it also goes deeper than that; the commonsense student also engages in class discussion that often involves the students trying to find the answer the teacher has decided is correct. this also means that educational goals are often set by the messages and the images coming from a society that passes on what it means to learn.
Kumashiro also p[oints out that curriculum identifies what skills and knowledge we want students to learn and then test them on whether or not they have learned that. Furthermore, we reward schools that can get their students to demonstrate such learning and punishing those that don’t.
Furthermore, he points out that Students come to school with misinformation and it is the teacher’s job to correct what they know and add to what they don’t. This misinformation or what a student already knows can act as a lens and narrative that students can see information through.
The commonsense student means “meeting standards” these standards to be met are standards that society has deemed to be common sense and what a student needs to know.
All of this contributes to what Kumashiro defines as a good commonsense student.
The students most privileged by this information are a white student or at very least a student that has lived their entire life in Canada. The students that will be the least privileged by this are the new students to Canada or students living with families that do not adopt the norms of Canada. Also, the students least privileged by this “good” student are the students with mental disabilities that do not understand the cultural norms.
Cracks in the school system are difficult to see because teachers tend to see the student through the lens of commonsense. when in fact some are learning just in the way more familiar to them. This understanding also fosters an environment with little to no change because often teachers can’t see past the problems that are not so obvious.