In addition to expertise in the STEM field subjects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, your kid also needs a load of practical intelligence to get ahead on the path of STEM education, coding for kids and robotics for kids.

Practical intelligence, which is commonly known as street smarts or common sense, is highly appreciated in daily life—often more so than academic intelligence or book smarts.

What is Practical Intelligence?

Practical intelligence is specifically the capacity to successfully adapt to situations that happen in daily life using whatever information and skills they may possess to come up with innovative solutions to the issues they face.

Your kid would need the ability to navigate through day-to-day tasks, solving real-world problems that will complement his academic knowledge learnt at school. Otherwise, a lack of practical intelligence can also mean that all theoretical knowledge is useless. These circumstances for using practical intelligence includes caring for oneself, interacting with others, and moving up the corporate ladder.

Academic Knowledge vs Practical Intelligence

Numerous intelligence tests are used to assess academic intellect, and the results are frequently given regarding intelligence quotient (IQ) scores. It indicates a person’s capacity to swiftly pick up the formal theoretical knowledge instructed in schools. Such intelligence is commonly measured through paper and pencil tests (e.g., school exams).

However, except for a few tests used within the practical intelligence research community, there are no formal intelligence tests that are mainly created to measure practical intelligence.

The knowledge that is action-oriented and enables one to achieve personally essential goals is known as tacit knowledge. In contrast to formal academic information, which might not have an immediate application in daily life, this tacit knowledge is more highly regarded in the actual world. Examining a person’s capacity to pick up tacit knowledge rapidly is one technique to gauge their practical intelligence.

So what are the essential features of tacit knowledge? It has three distinct characteristics:

1. It starts with procedural knowledge, which people must learn by doing and experience.
2. Second, it strongly correlates with a person’s achievement of primary intrinsic goals.
3. Third, the knowledge was acquired independently; the subject was not given the information by someone else.

Tacit knowledge gets its name because it must be learned via personal experience and inference, with little assistance from outsiders who might not have a stake in the outcome. Those who can acquire tacit knowledge have the edge over those who cannot, providing them with additional understanding when dealing with similar circumstances in the future.

Academic Intelligence Tasks vs Practical Intelligence Tasks

Differences also exist in the tasks that academic and practical intelligence entails. So, check out what these tasks would mean for your kid:

Academic intelligence tasks (used in the classroom and on intelligence tests) include functions that are
(a) Created by others,
(b) Frequently lacking in intrinsic interest,
(c) Containing all necessary information from the start, and
(d) Being disassociated from a person’s everyday experience.

Often these tasks are frequently well-defined, have just one correct response, and frequently only one way to find the solution.

But if you consider the tasks that involve practical intelligence, you would notice they are more connected with the natural world and display the following characteristics:

(a) Self-formulated (arise from a situation that must be put in a problem statement by the self), (b) High on intrinsic interest
(c) Short of all the information needed for the solution,
(d) Connected with one’s real-world experience,
(e) Ill-defined,
(f) May have multiple solutions with each of their pluses and minuses, and
(g) Often have more than one method to figure out the solution

Importance of Practical Intelligence

It’s possible that academic knowledge and real-world wisdom don’t always mesh. Most people have a combination of both intelligences. They can navigate life sufficiently, so a strict dichotomy between the two intelligences is only observed in the most extreme circumstances.

Individuals display a strong presence of practical intelligence despite a lack of formal education. For instance, the capacity of mechanics in developing nations to fix broken vehicles without the use of cutting-edge diagnostic equipment is an example of applying practical intelligence in the absence of advanced mechanical skills and academic schooling and math skills.

As older persons self-report and cognitive tests confirm, academic knowledge drops over time, whereas practical knowledge either remains constant or grows with age and experience. However, it doesn’t mean that just because your kid is growing older, they would exhibit improved practical intelligence. It’s the experience that counts.

It would be incorrect to assume that practical intelligence rises just with age and experience; to develop, practical intelligence also needs to be learned through experience.

As shown by early study into practical intelligence with academic psychologists, it takes the additional expertise learned from one’s experiences or through others’ experiences for academicians to progress up the ranks to become full professors.

Your kid’s Success in life may depend on their capacity for quick thinking, problem-solving, and successfully transforming lived experiences into knowledge that can be used in subsequent interactions. Research on practical intelligence shows that concentrating only on academic intelligence is insufficient. Helping kids develop their practical intelligence should be prioritised to prevent them from becoming book smart but street foolish

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