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).
The book, Strangers in the Land - Patterns of American Nativism, 1860 – 1925 was written by John Higham. The book was published in the year 1954. John Higham was born in New York in 1920 and graduated from the Johns Hopkins University. He has worked for the University of Wisconsin, Madison and the U.S. army air force in its historical division in Italy. He earned his doctorate under Merle Curti in ...
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 called it. She meant that it was important for me to grow up with the proper insight that having the academic knowledge was not enough; common sense was a segue into my intelligence.
My mother made it very well-known to me that by incorporating the perfect balance between social and academic importance’s can open a new world of opportunity to my learning and educational experience. This all started when I was able to read my first book. She would spend a lot of time with me after school, helping me to analyze and comprehend what I was reading. She influenced me to critically pull out the main points in order to properly execute a synopsis. She would make sure that whatever I had to read and summarize was something of my interest. This factor was important because if I did not enjoy reading, then my comprehension would be weak. Graff puts emphasis on having interest in his essay. He says that students should be encouraged to think critically, read, and write about areas of personal interest as long as its done in an intellectual way (301).
My mother grasped this fact very well and instilled that outlook in me. She told me that education can be guided by whatever the interest may be and that I should know a little about a lot of things through education. From this I can take my common sense intelligence to broaden my educational background, which strengthens my reading and writing abilities and practices.
We often wonder that because we figure if we allow students the chance to read what they like then they will become better readers. However instead of wondering the unknown five students from Canadian colleges, John R. Kirby, Angela Ball, B. Kelly Geler, Rauno Parrila, and Lesly Wade-Woolley, all decided to find the answer by conducting a study among 117 students from the grades 1-3. Their main ...
Although I had to sit down and read small amounts at a time and then be able to summarize what I read, I disliked the entire concept of these practices. Even though it may have helped me develop my comprehensive skills because I was interested in what I was reading, I have unfortunately steered away from continuing these learning habits. I utilize them only when it is completely necessary to do so. I never grasped a sincere liking for the actions of reading. When I was younger, reading was something I did in my free time. Now, reading is not a leisurely activity. Writing on the other hand is something I continue to practice. I enjoy writing and I have great respect for it. In application to Graff’s essay, one must have interest. There should be an interest in what is being read or written, and what is being discovered through book smarts and street smarts. I grew the interest for writing and discovered my ability to apply myself in academics and common sense related practices. Reading weened off from my interest once I hit junior high and high school, but I will still take my mother’s words of wisdom, helpful hints, and guidance.
Gerald Graff made it evident in his essay that utilizing schoolwork and the social, common sense aspect should be accepted on a equal playing field. In regards to my upbringing, my mother would disagree. My mother strongly adhered to the fact that academics and education, or book smarts, were the most important. She always put book smarts in front of street smarts. But I always believed that having the equal strand between the two develops an equally comprehendible mind. Although my mother also agrees with having balance, her idea of balance was having more emphasis on academics with common sense and social activities as a way to subside the mind from being overwhelmed. It was a relaxation mode to her. She used this metaphor when it came to my reading and writing practices, as well. She said that reading was the strenuous part. I had to build up my understanding throughout my reading and grasp the key factors. Writing the summary was the cool down phase or relaxation because I collected my thoughts about the reading and simply wrote them down within a few sentences. This practice helped me gain stability between book smarts and street smarts.
The purpose of language learning is to improve the speakers’ four skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing, with the base of large vocabulary and good grammar, but this is not the final purpose. The final purpose is to let speakers be able to use the language. For instance, why do people study English? If a man is only good at listening and speaking, can people say that he is good ...
Language is the main component of one’s intellectual comprehension. My father instilled this value in me through the first several years of my life. My first language is Spanish and my second is obviously English. My father and I would go back and forth in a dialogue just carrying on a conversation about anything we could think of. Also, he would help me translate English children’s books into Spanish so that I can understand them in both languages. When my grandparents would take their annual trips to Colombia, South America, my father would walk me through the steps of writing a letter to them in Spanish. He broadened my horizons with the use of the Spanish language. He made sure that I perfected every part of the language from accents to tones and usages of different words. This practice has helped me throughout my life so far because I have grown an appreciation for other languages. It has sparked my interest to learn about cultures, learn two other languages: French and Chinese, and other elements pertaining to language. I furthered my learning of speaking the languages to also reading and writing. Through this process of gaining an interest and natural born talent for comprehending many different languages, my “street-smarts” have been developed superbly.
Through my childhood reading and writing practices were always evident. My mother instilled great values within me in order to gain the proper comprehension on material. Also, she helped me to distinguish between book smarts and street smarts and being able to apply each either individually, equally, or in accordance with one another. My father helped me build strong practices in languages. He made me appreciate the many components of language and the cultures behind them, in order to fulfill my “street-smarts”. I grew a strong bond between intellectualism and anti-intellectualism through my academics, as well as my social activities and language practices. Both of my parents set up what is called my “hidden intellectualism.”
Graff, Gerald, and Cathy Birkenstein. “Hidden Intellectualism.” “They Say/I Say”: the Moves That Matter in Academic Writing. New York: W.W. Norton, 2007. Print
INTRODUCTION Electronic gadgets are having a profound effect on all aspects of life, especially to children and young people, and language is no exemption. These electronic gadgets has become an increasingly famous means of communication. However, there are distress that this trend is having a harmful effect on the writing skills of students. Communication technology is composed of many forms of ...