Essay on Book Smarts vs. Street Smarts

1493 Words Apr 24th, 2011 6 Pages
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 …show more content…
When he was younger he was very into sports and sports magazines. He states that he “Hated books, and only cared for sports” (199). Graff explained that he had a hard time balancing his street and book smarts. He wanted to fit in with the “hoods” and didn’t want to act like he was smarter around them. “I grew up torn, then, between the need to prove I was smart and the fear of a beating if I proved it too well; between the need to not jeopardize my respectable future and the need to impress the hoods” (200). Graff’s point here is that he found it hard to find a balance between acting too smart, or playing too dumb.
Through engaging with friends in conversation about “Who in school is the toughest” (201) and sports Graff began to “learn the rudiments of the intellectual life: how to make an argument, weigh different kinds of evidence, move between particulars and generalizations, summarize the views of others, and enter a conversation about ideas” (201). He began to realize that his “street” conversations made him more intellectual, not less. Graff explains “ I believe that street smarts beat out book smarts in our culture not because street smarts are nonintellectual, as we generally suppose, but because they satisfy an intellectual thirst more thoroughly than school culture, which seems pale and unreal” (202). Basically, Graff is saying

that street smarts let the student really get out and experience what they’re

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