Anti-oppressive education creates discussions that education can create or contribute to the oppression of a person in a social group based on race, class, gender, ability, sexual orientation, etc.. Many of our “common sense” ideas or rituals harm these people, and we do not even realize it. We need to make a commitment to teaching for social justice to relieve this oppression and allow our students to feel safe and comfortable. If our students feel safe and undiscriminated against in school then we, as teachers, can begin our job of teaching; however, when our students feel judged and unsafe they cannot possibly learn until we take the steps to help them. When we teach for social justice we send a message to our students about our values, purposefully or not. By doing this, and becoming aware about issues in or for different social groups, we can connect to our students. “Common sense” appears in the definitions of written curriculum, societal curriculum, hidden curriculum, null curriculum, and the phantom curriculum. “Common sense” is connected to our definition of curriculum by being the forces that “educate” us, the structure and nature of schools, the stuff we do not teach or actually ignore, and the messages that are prevalent in media. When we believe an idea is common sense we do not explain it in depth to our students, but we fail to keep in mind that every culture has a different version of common sense and none of which are identical. These common sense ideas leave students in the dark unsure of what is expected of them and wondering about their place in society.
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