Sit down Johnny! Face the front, Sally! Jensen, stop copying off of your neighbor! 99% Barbara, keep up the excellent work!
Kamashiro defines ‘commonsense’ as aspects of daily life that have become so routine and so commonplace that they often go unquestioned or criticized.
This commonsensical notion draws heavily into our expectations of students within our classroom. What, then, makes a marvelous commonsensical student you might ask?
- A good student comes to class prepared to learn with the proper materials and utensils
- A good student sits quietly in his/her desk awaiting further instruction. Facing forward towards the teacher with hands and feet on/under his/her own desk.
- A good student achieves 80+ grades and hands in all assignments in a timely manner
- A good student is respectful of the school environment, classmates and teacher.
- A good student never questions or critiques the teacher.
- A good student displays ability and willingness to learn.
- A good student ALWAYS colors between the lines.
- A good student will always say the right things in the right ways
Privilege definitely lies beneath the surface of these commonsensical views. People who are easily capable of conforming these ideals will tend to smooth sail through the education system and help to boost the confidence of the curriculum makers. What happens to those individuals who slip through the cracks? The ones that don’t easily conform to the requirements listed above?
- Feelings of guilt
- Acting out/disrupting
- Low self-esteem
- Feelings of inadequacy
The list goes on and on and I think the most alarming thing that happens is that individual believes that it was their fault and that it was them that failed. When in reality, it was the system and the teacher that failed to alter the curriculum to best suit the needs of certain individual learners.
Not everyone can alter their nature to fit neatly into a cookie cutter mold that wasn’t designed with them in mind.