Respond to the following prompts: What does it mean to
be a “good” student according to the commonsense? Which students are
privileged by this definition of the good student? What is made impossible to
see/understand/believe because of these commonsense ideas?
According to the commonsense, a “good” student is the
one that gains knowledge that is favoured by the teacher and the school, in a specific
way as instructed by the teachers. No matter what the student’s knowledge was prior
to starting school, the commonsense approach in education works to teach
students in a way that only values certain knowledge and beliefs. “Good”
students in terms of commonsense are limited in many aspects as they are the
models desired by the teachers, schools, and the society.
Because students are limited to certain knowledge and
ways of teaching, only those who conform are privileged by it: it is very often
the students that come from the dominant culture or the ones that embody the
status quo. When students are taught and treated with commonsensical ideas,
they do not seek the need to feel uncomfortable and then disrupt the norms. As
a result, students and teachers keep reinforcing the oppressive status quo. This
creates an environment where only certain group of students are privileged and
considered as “good” students. Learning through crisis plays an important role
here because it is crucial to recognize and challenge the oppression that affects
many students everyday.
The topic that I have chosen for this assignment is “Race
and the curriculum.” Although it may not be obvious to everyone, current
curriculum is centred around the privileged people which leaves certain group
of people out. As Canada grows more diverse, it is essential to adjust the
curriculum in a way that values and benefits every race. Educators need to
respond to this change by challenging the problems of current curriculum.
The article that caught my eye was “Race, Diversity,
and Curriculum in the Era of Globalization.” The authors focus on
diversity and inclusion approaches in education in accordance with changes that
occur in 21st-century. They define globalization as constant exposure to new
identities as educators face difference and multiplicity. As globalization occurs,
there are things to be done in schools to improve the curriculum and quality of
teaching to promote diverse education system.
The next step for this assignment is to find articles on how teachers are implementing diverse and inclusive education in their classrooms. The outcome or effects of such curriculum will provide critical feedback on current situation and what educators can do to improve it. I am hoping to find recent articles since this topic, race and the curriculum, is progressing in our society rapidly.
1. Curriculum as a syllabus to be transmitted
This model focuses on the most effective way to
deliver the knowledge to students. Its benefit is the familiarity to students
when it comes to courses leading to exams. However, this model does not
indicate the importance or order of the material to be studied as it is the
traditional textbook approach. When educators choose to adapt this model, it is
likely that they only focus on the content of knowledge.
2. Curriculum as product
This model is systematic and organized. One can
clearly view the notion of outcome which makes organizing the content and
method easy. Students can be evaluated based on their results or the products. On
the other side, the restricted organization approach of this model limits
students and educators in their learning/teaching experience. Students are told
exactly what they are supposed to do which limits the opportunity for classroom
interactions. As a result, both the students and the educators may not realize
the importance of learning that is the result of interactions.
3. Curriculum as process
This model views curriculum as the classroom interaction
rather than a physical thing. This model does not provide a series of materials
or syllabus to be taught; it is an attempt or experiment in classrooms. Students
have a clear voice in this environment because the focus is on learning, not
teaching, due to the emphasis on interactions. However, there is a limit to variation
of this approach as many students and their parents prioritize performance on
exams as success of the course.
4. Curriculum as praxis
This model is based on the process model but further focuses
on emancipation. The curriculum is developed through the interaction of action
and reflection as students and educators go through a process of negotiation
and recognition of problems. During this process, students face the problems of
their existence and will face their own oppression.
In my experience, curriculum as a syllabus to be
transmitted was the most prominent one. For many classes that I had in high school,
the teachers made sure that we were on track with the curriculum because we had
to learn everything as planned in each semester. This model helped us prepare
for exams but did not allow much creativity and classroom interactions.
Respond to the
following writing prompt in two to three paragraphs: How does Kumashiro
define ‘commonsense?’ Why is it so important to pay attention to the
People do certain things everyday as part of their daily
routines. People also take certain ideas and values for granted. They do not
think hard about why and how they are doing those actions or have certain
beliefs. The same thing applies for the education system as addressed by
Kumashiro. Students and educators repeat the same practice defined as
“traditional” to them and they will continue to do it without questioning. For
example, it is normal for students in the United States that they go to school
from September to June because that is just the way it is. Commonsense is the
practices and perspectives that people take for granted but is limited to and
only benefits the privileged people.
As Kumashiro states, the commonsense found in the
educational system of United States causes oppression. Because commonsense
makes privileged people think that they are just practicing what has always
been done, they do not realize the need to challenge the oppression. It has
been so normal for students and educators to think that ideas other than what
they are familiar with are uncomfortable, unnecessary, and inappropriate. In
order to reform the current system of education, people must be willing to
accept the feeling of discomfort. Anti-oppressive education is challenging and
its work is never done; therefore, educators must examine and realize the
necessity of anti-oppressive education by paying attention to the “commonsense”.