Common Sense; do we really need it?

Kumshiro describes “common sense” as something that everyone knows or takes for granted in a society/culture/community.  He goes on to describe how as a newcomer to Nepal, that he had to learn these things.  Things such as showering in a public place, learning that meals were only served twice a day in the shop, and how schooling was conducted, these activities were all common sense to the villagers but not to Kumshiro who had a different common sense.  It is simply what they do without any real thought as to doing them or why they do them. Common sense is something that has always been done without anyone really questioning why it is done.  Most of the time there is no questioning because it is something that isn’t even thought about.

We need to pay attention to the common sense because not all the common sense of a society is as simple as where and when people shower.  The common sense is often generated by those that have privilege and power in a society and whether purposefully or not oppresses those who do not hold the power and privilege in the society.  When we don’t question our common sense, we then assume everyone has or should have the same ideals as we do so we set out to change the common sense that isn’t like ours.  Kumshiro set out to help those in Nepal by bringing in the American methods of teaching, assuming the American methods were better.  When we stop, pay attention, we learn so much.  Paying attention to others common sense gives us a deeper insight into their lives, traditions, beliefs and values. We may learn about others and take some knowledge from them to improve our schools or ourselves.  When we pay attention to our own common sense we might be uncomfortable, because we just might see how our common sense is not the right way for everyone, including those that we interact with daily.  If we paid attention to our common sense, we would have to act to change it and change is uncomfortable.