What does it mean to actually be smart?


Today, while I was taking a test with some of my classmates, I began to ponder upon an interesting question. What does it mean to actually be smart?

Many of my classmates in high school always classified a "smart" person by just a few things.

1)   GPA


3)   Honors or AP classes

I definitely classified people as smart with these kind of factors as well. Although, I am beginning to not believe in this because there are so many other things that go into being smart. I, for one, feel I am smart. I may not have been in many AP classes, but I got good grades and I have common sense. I am smart in other ways then just book smart.

According to the article, in business, smartness was defined as "the ability to solve problems and understand things quickly.

Gardner and Armstrong were able to provide us with some more insight as to factors that can consider a person smart. They call them the "Seven Multiple Intelligences".

The Seven Multiple Intelligences:

1)   Verbal- the ability to use words

2)   Visual- the ability to see things in your mind

3)   Physical- the ability to use your body well

4)   Musical - the ability to understand and use music

5)   Mathematical and Logical- the ability to understand thoughts and feelings in yourself

6)   Interpersonal-the ability to relate well to others, people smarts

It is obvious, that Gardner and Armstrong were able to make a valid argument to disapprove the single definition that defines being intelligent or smart. This also contradicts the argument of my high school classmates, who defined smart as an individual's GPA, sat scores, and the level of classes that they are in.  If an individual has mastered all seven intelligences, he or she is THAN qualified to be considered smart. 

For example, an straight a student in all AP classes might have the mathematical and logical part of intelligence. Although, he may lack the physical and intrapersonal means to intelligence. I have noticed many people like this lack their social skills, thus in my argument, not making them completely intelligent.

I personally feel, I qualify for the musical, intrapersonal, and visual intelligences very well. I grew up as a competitive dancer, thus making me intelligent in other areas such as physical and visual, rather then just good at my studies. This article boosted my confidence greatly about feeling intelligent. I hope it made you feel better too!



In high school my friends and I always compared grades. Junior year after we took out SAT's we couldn't wait to get our scores back. Naturally, it was assumed that if you got a high SAT score you were smarter than people who got lower scores. I did pretty well on the SAT's and was happy with the score I got. I know people who did worse and better than me but still got into challenging schools such as Penn State. I definitely don't think your GPA and SAT scores are the only factors that go into determining how smart someone is. In this article from the Huffington Post, What Does it Mean To Be Smart?

It discusses three different people and their educations. They were all brought up differently but are equally smart in their own ways. This article explains how anyone can be smart it just depends on how you look at it.

I love that you bring up this topic. In my Philosophy of Education class, we often discuss topics like this. When did "smart" become defined by SAT scores and GPA? In my opinion, it is the flaws of the modern day school system that contributed to this. People worry more about competing for and obtaining the best GPA than actually learning information and building on educational experiences. Gardner and Armstrong provide a very wholesome view of intelligence that I think the educational system needs to pay more attention to. People are smart in different ways and can contribute to school, society, and eventually the workplace and a family through unique and different ways. Here is an encouraging article which advocates that GPA isn't everything! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lauren-schuhmacher/why-grades-dont-really-ma_b_2682922.html

This was a very interesting topic because I've always believed that schools needed a different test to define a person as smart. I have seen SO many kids who are extremely book smart, but it's like they didn't even know what common sense was. It's too bad that sometimes our society will say solely book smart people are smarter than someone who is a little less book smart but has much more common sense. I agree with you entirely that there's a lot more needed to be considered smart than the grades and it seems like a lot of people who are book smart have even less common sense than others.

Being a competitive dancer as well, this definitely made me feel better about myself too! I never realized that a simple hobby such as dance could help my intelligence because I always thought it was solely helping me physically, not mentally. Other than that, I agree with this because being smart is not all about high GPAs and SAT scores. I know this is true because for instance, Thomas Edison left school at age 12, and Walt Disney at age 16. This being said, some of the most successful people became a success without having to prove themselves educationally. Smartness is based off of many factors, it's just a shame that our society often doesn't see it this way.

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