Blogs by Betty Anne Grillo
Could "book smarts" ever replace "street smarts"?
7/5/2012 9:49:16 AM
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How opinions about higher education affect the average person
Are colleges and universities the only valid institutes of higher learning?
I don’t know about you, but I encounter many individuals who express the opinion that someone who hasn’t attended a college or university is stupid. Not only that, some also demean those who haven’t received a degree after completing high school. I withstood that type of treatment myself until I finally had the opportunity to become a paralegal.
Graduating from high school in a much different time, a woman was only encouraged to attend college if she wanted to be either a teacher or nurse. Neither of those careers appealed to me. Even though my IQ squarely pointed toward higher education, there was no avenue at that time for me to pursue such a thing. There was no college savings account to help me, and I was unable to qualify for a grant. I graduated from high school and went directly into the work environment—with only my high school education, my past experiences and future dreams.
I found myself surrounded by people much like myself because college wasn’t possible for many of us in those days. We worked very hard, learned how to solve problems together, and effectively assist others. We relied on those around us with more experience, because they had learned through their daily efforts how to perform duties more efficiently and effectively every day. Employees like us were an employer’s dream.
When I moved into a field surrounded substantially by college graduates, my experience with co-workers was quite different. Most of those individuals were more concerned with their stature within a company or organization than their cost-effectiveness and overall contribution to the work product. They had been taught a specific way to think, act and react in any given situation. Sadly, their abilities to reason on their own had been diminished because they were one-dimensionally “book-smart”, not “street-smart”. Their text books didn’t contain the answers that only experience and on-the-job training could provide. Their ability to use common-sense in order to solve unexpected problems had been dulled by a belief that all the answers they would ever need could be found in a book written by an intellectual.
The way I see it—neither can do without the other. Book-smart teaching produces amazing doctors and life-altering cures for disease. Street-smart learning produces hands-on results for our everyday lives.
Where do you stand on the book-smart/street-smart divide? Do you believe that one means of education will eventually overtake the other, making common-sense approaches obsolete and irrelevant? Will intellectuals come to believe that individuals who have learned to overcome roadblocks and obstacles through their own experience-related educational paths are indeed vital to—and therefore respected by—society?
Let me know what you think at www.sunsetdreambooks.com. Contact me there to further the discussion of the relevance of street-smarts… and the future of educational approaches designed to empower the masses.
All my best!
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