ECS 210

Commonsense and the “good” student

During my elementary school years I was the good student according to the modern day, North American commonsense. I was quiet, I did my homework, and I never questioned my teachers; as an introvert the commonsense fit me perfectly. Once in high school though the commonsense seemed to change; no longer was I being praised for my quietness, but rather I was being told that I was a “good student, but needs to speak up more in class”. All of a sudden I was expected to change the commonsense I was raised to believe (that students sit quietly and listen to the teacher) and now speak up and question what I was being taught. Students who privilege from this commonsense are those who are raised in the dominant culture and hence are raised to understand this commonsense as well as those who can adapt to change in the commonsense. In turn students from minority cultures are disadvantaged; as differences between cultures cause the commonsense to not be so common.
Commonsense makes things such as racism, sexism, and homophobia impossible to see/understand/believe because the commonsense causes projection bias; where the dominant culture expects everyone to know the commonsense even when they are of different cultures. This is seen in schools when students from Asian and Indigenous cultures are seen as defiant when they don’t make eye contact even though their cultures feel as if direct eye contact is rude/confrontational. The commonsense allows the dominant culture to feel comfortable without actually learning about the diverse students in your classroom leading to many missed learning opportunities both for the students and teachers.


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