Summary On Gerald Graff's Article 'Hidden Intellectualism'

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Who is an intellectual person? Everyone has a hidden talent and are intellects in their own way.. In Gerald Graff’s “Hidden Intellectualism”, he argues that students are and can be an intellect in their own perspective way on how they take on certain subjects and topics. Graff explains students should be learning how to use their intellect skills such as thinking, reading, and writing critically and creatively on subjects that are non traditional on the education system. Those subjects like cars, music, sports, fashion, etc, will benefit students now and later in life. The educational merits are students find their hidden passion, learn to think critically and creatively and acquire a balance of both “book smarts” and “street smarts” early on in life.

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According to Gerald Graff, “Real intellectuals turn any subject, however lightway it may seem, into grist for their mill through the thoughtful questions they can bring to it, whereas a dullard will find a way to drain the interest out of the riches subject”(334). Graff argues that our education system is not encouraging students to take on subjects non traditional and because of that students are tuning out academic subjects and not exploiting their intellect skills.

But if students are able to read and write about subjects such as cars, music, etc, that are interesting to them, then they will have less trouble focusing and learn to use their intellect skills. For those who are against giving students topics such as sports, cars, etc Gerald argues that no matter how easy or non educational the subject can be, intellects still find a way to express the topic profoundly and thoughtfully. The education system ranks students based on those academic subjects when not all students are giving their full potential, simply because they do not find them interesting or get bored. So students that do not typically do well on the traditional rankings, may think that are not intellects but they simply may not know how to exploit their intellect skills until a topic comes along that they find interest.

When students first go to college they may have an idea of what career they want to study, but in most cases they do not know what they want to study. Gerald Graff argues that most cases are because students are not exposed to subjects like music, fashion, etc, that will give them an idea or perspective for a career later on in life. “Only much later did it dawn on me that the sports world was more compelling than school because it was more intellectual than school, not less. Sports after all was full of challenging arguments, debates, problems, for analysis, and intricate statistics that you can care about, as school conspicuously was not” (336). According to Graff if he would of gotten topics on sports throughout his education then he would have realized that one can be an intellect to sports, and could have gotten a successful career in the world of sports. This relates to so many students that begin to study a career and then realized that they may not have enough passion to be an intellect at full potential in that career path. So if students were exposed to many topics throughout their education, then they would be able to use their intellect skills until a passion grabs their attention.

The education system is set for teachers to focus more on students that are book smart rather than street smart. “I believe that street smarts beat our book smarts in our culture not because street smarts are non intellectual, as we generally suppose, but because they satisfy an intellectual thirst more thoroughly than school culture, which seems pale and unreal”(337). According to Graff, students that are street smart have an advantage to those who are book smart.

Students that are street smart rather than book smart feel undermined to students that are book smart when we talk about school rankings, GPA, test scores, etc but Graff argues that students that are street smart are typically more “cool” than those that are book smart. Graff mentions that students with book smarts tend to be the ones that get bullied or considered not “tough”. But those that are street smart later on in life realized that they are also book smart or have the capacity of those that book smart and eventually acquire some skills of book smarts for their career or life. Students needs a balance of both in order to be prepared for the real life. Students that are street smart tend to be ready for the real life and those book smart students are ready for college but might not be ready for and life hitting moments as an adult.

In conclusion to Greald Graff’s “Hidden Intellectualism”, he claims that every student has a hidden talent or passion. He goes on to make great points on the difference between book smart students and street smart students. Finally he argues idea of how to prepare and teach students the balance of both and the use of their intellect skills on all topics regardless of how dull the subject may be. Gerald Graff’s “Hidden Intellectualism” is still relevant today will help students get an idea of how to exploit their intellectualism skills in reading, writing, and thinking profoundly. He argues that every student has a hidden talent or passion and just simply need to find that passion and if our education system would allow and encourage students to take on different subjects then it would be a lot easier and faster.  

16 December 2021

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