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Book Smarts vs Street Smarts

  • Date Submitted: 02/06/2012 07:14 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 60.2 
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Book-smarts vs. Street-smarts
Parents are the ultimate teachers while raising their children. My mother would sit down with me every night when she came home from work. She would have me read a little section or chapter from a novel and then summarize what I read. She did this so I would gain comprehension skills. I was able to read and write critically because of her help and strong emphasis on “book-smarts.”   Although my mother stressed being academically inclined, she also made emphasis of “street-smarts” and that common sense helps build the bridge to intelligence. I grew up speaking fluent Spanish, as well as English. My father helped me further my knowledge in “street-smarts” through language. He put much emphasis on being familiar with languages. Gerald Graff’s essay of “Hidden Intellectualism” shows examples and evidence that are comparative to the values and practices that I grew up with.
Graff criticizes those that do not put enough stress on “street-smarts.” He says that knowledge is far beyond academic learning and continues in the everyday world. Graff's theory of street smarts is useful because it gives insight on the issue of social life being excluded from academic situations, but this is not to say that street smarts is more important than academic knowledge or so-called book smarts. He illustrates that common sense and mental intelligence go hand-in-hand. From this idea, Graff says that students should see their interests through “academic eyes” (Graff 303). Students are more susceptible to take on “intellectual identities” if there is encouragement to take on these identities on subjects that interest them (298). Students need to have the proper balance between intellectualism and anti-intellectualism in order to become academically inclined. They need to learn to think critically on all levels with common interest in mind. My mother was my inspiration when it came to getting me to understand the importance of being “double-sided,” as she...

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