Book Smart Vs Street Smart Essay

The sample essay on Book Smart Vs Street Smart Essay deals with a framework of research-based facts, approaches and arguments concerning this theme. To see the essay’s introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion, read on.

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, Urbandictionary. om 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.

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What Is The Definition Of Street Smart

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 esides 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 knowledge does not just come through the classroom, but through everyday experiences. Graff uses his own experiences as a child to back up his reasoning.

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 learning, so it feels more real to them. Like Graff, Malcolm X has similar experiences regarding book and street smarts. X grew up as a smart child, however when he was in eight grade he dropped out of school.

Years later he began committing petty crimes and began coordinating various narcotic, prostitution and gambling rings. X was sentenced to seven years in prison after being arrested and convicted on burglary charges. It was there in prison that he taught himself how to read and write. X was “Immensely proud to realize that not only I had written so much at one time, but I’d written words that I never knew were in the world” (22). X moved on to be a successful man and fight for equality in the world. Malcolm X obviously had the street smarts, but like Graff he mixed his new book smarts with his street smarts to be successful in life.

Both Malcolm X, and Gerald Graff make very interesting points about street and book smarts. I respect what Graff, and X have to say and agree with them, both book and street smarts are very important. I definitely believe that you must have both street and book smarts to be the most successful in life. I really like when Graff says, “Every “street smart” student has just as much potential as a “book smart” student, and knowledge does not just come through the classroom, but through everyday experiences. So many times people think that if a person appears to have more street smarts than book smarts then they don’t have as much potential or aren’t as smart.

They think that because book smarts aren’t taught, they aren’t as useful, or don’t make the student as educated. I believe that just having book smarts can’t get you through real life, and just having street smarts doesn’t give you enough education. I like that Graff can identify that both are pretty equally important, and one isn’t much better than the other, as well as much good without each other.

I also really like Malcolm X’s story of someone already possessing street smarts, but striving to acquire book smarts. I think it is amazing that someone could be in such a bad situation, and be able to positively use it for good. X definitely had street smarts, but knew that he wouldn’t get anywhere without any book smarts. He realized the importance of having both, and worked hard to learn and become educated. He realized something that some people don’t always grasp until later; in life you need both street and book smarts.

I have been an independent studies student for most of my high school education, and have loved every minute of it. Compared to a “traditional” high school, I have had so much more academic freedom. My school does really well with encouraging students to not just have book smarts from the classroom, but get outside experience to learn. They can turn pretty much anything you’re interested in into a class, and you get credit for it! I have done community service, 4-H, and have been a teachers aid as an elective.

Through these three experiences I have learned how to do things that I could have never learned how to do out of a book. Sometimes you can read about something, or be taught, but you never know what it will actually be like unless you can personally live it out. I consider myself lucky to have had the experiences that I did, and be able to learn from experience. On the other hand, public school systems seem to favor teaching their students to make them more book smart. Very rarely will they choose to take the students out of the safe school world, and out into the real world.

They instead keep them inside, and try to make them learn by reading. I think that if instructors worked harder to mix book and street smarts students would be more interested in the subjects taught in school. They could do this by taking students on field trips to get them out into the real world to see what’s going on, and how what their being taught ties into the world. Maybe schools could even offer more “independent classes” so students would be able to experience what their learning like I have been able to do.

This way the students can get out, learn by experience, and learn how to be responsible by being their own teacher. It’s obvious that both street and book smarts are needed to get through life. The sad truth is that more and more people are uneducated. Why is this? A large amount of these people, like X, are dropouts from school. School systems and schools need to balance book and street smarts, so their students will remain interested, and have a desire to learn. They need to make learning seem fun, and actually apply it to the real world to students will be able to succeed by themselves.

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Book Smart Vs Street Smart Essay. (2019, Dec 07). Retrieved from

Book Smart Vs Street Smart Essay
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