Book Smarts vs. Street Smarts

Topics: Education, High school, School Pages: 4 (1489 words) Published: April 18, 2011
Is One Better Than The Other?
In 2006, when five hundred dropouts were interviewed, they gave many reasons for leaving school. Forty-seven percent, almost half of the students interviewed said that they left simply because they found their classes were not interesting. I think that a main problem in today’s school systems is that they are not connecting enough with the students and gaining their interest. Many students’ street smarts greatly surpass their book smarts. I believe that instructors can strengthen students’ book smarts by encouraging them to write, read, think, and learn about personal areas of interest. They can accomplish this by taking students on field trips so they actively experience what their learning in the class room, and use these “street smarts” to build a stronger foundation of what their trying to teach.

So what exactly are street and book smarts? There are many definitions of what people believe correctly define them. I think a good definition of a street smart person is someone who uses their life experiences, and common knowledge to make decisions. On the other hand, defines a book smart person as “Being able to succeed scholastically, and not necessarily in the real world.” I think what it basically comes down to is what is taught through academics, and what is taught through experience. I feel like a mix of both would be the best combination for a student.

Gerald Graff, author of “Hidden Intellectualism” in the book They Say, I Say explains in his writings that intellect does not only exist in the educated form of thinking. He explains that

besides the traditional academic intellectualism there can be some forms of hidden intellectualism that does not come from “book smarts,” or academics, but come from “street smarts” such as things learned from fashion, sports, or current culture. He expresses that every “street smart” student has just as much potential as a “book smart” student. He believes that...

Cited: Graff, Gerald and Cathy Birkenstein. They Say, I Say. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2010.
Miller, George. The prentice Hall Reader 8th ed. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2007.
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