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Lee Flockton

Teacher/ Educator, Birchville Primary School

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Is common sense an over rated concept or is it under rated?

I often hear both sides of this and wonder... I hear people say that it is over rated and it inhibits the opportunity to dream big. But then when looking to solve a problem there must be some hint of common sense used to be able to have initiative that is plausible to becoming a solution???
Or is it that we need to use less when brainstorming solutions but more when deciding which solution is best?


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  • Apr 7 2011: Grossly under-used, I think. I have worked with people engaged extensively in computer simulated modeling. Everything they know was learned entirely from a theoretical perspective (from books etc) and they have no practical understanding of the concepts. Hence, when the models spit out preposterous results, they are blissfully unaware of the meaning. An analogy would be a model that creates a human that is 15 feet tall and weights 5 pounds. Of course, it is not entirely their fault - education is primarily about memorization and regurgitation so common sense not required.
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      Apr 7 2011: I completely agree, I often put it to my students that theory is meaningless and often useless with out there being practical application. The reason why I ask this question is that I have always thought common sense is an important ingredient in the thinking process but recently at a conference listened to a speaker (in the field of education) go on a rant about common sense being the 'pits' in a learning environment due to it limiting the ability to think big...
      I have always thought that common sense is something that should be encouraged and taught in schools through problem solving and if done well there would still be the chance for the dreaming big with out limits and then use common sense to select/apply the ideas.
      It really is something that is lacking in upcoming generations...
      • Apr 9 2011: Hi Lee, indeed critical thinking and common sense are lacking. With regards to the conference, I wonder if they confuse imagination with common sense. Imagination is what allows me to say "maybe some particles can travel faster than the speed of light" while common sense says "I cannot run faster than the speed of light". I have to say I am not a fan of the educational system and home schooled my son for several years. He is a thinker and I did not want him to lose that. Cheers :-)

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