Analysis of Gerald Graff’s Essay “Hidden Intelligence”

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Analysis of Gerald Graff’s Essay “Hidden Intelligence” Most people, when asked, say that a person is intelligent if they have “book smarts.” People that are book smart can write and converse about subjects taught in school. On the other hand, people with “street smarts” aren’t seen as intellectuals because the subjects they are knowledgeable about are not traditional. In his essay called “Hidden Intellectualism,” Gerald Graff insists that schools and colleges are missing an opportunity to translate street smarts into academic work. Schools tend to believe that only certain topics are appropriate for an academic environment. While other topics may not be traditional, that does not mean they are without merit. Graff agrees, when he writes,…show more content…
Graff explains why,” I believe that street smarts beat out book smarts in our culture not because street smarts are nonintellectual, as we generally suppose, but because they satisfy an intellectual thirst more thoroughly than school culture, which seams pale and unreal” (384). In other words, Graff believes that because street smarts involve in what is happening in the here and now, and not in theory, they seem more relevant and useful to students Using a student’s street smarts as a jumping off point for learning more traditional subjects is only part of the solution. Graff points this out by saying, “Making students’ nonacademic interests an object of academic study is useful, then, for getting a students’ attention and overcoming their boredom and alienation, but this tactic won’t necessarily move them closer to an academically rigorous treatment of those interests. On the other hand, inviting students to write about cars, sports, or clothing fashions does not have to be the pedagogical cop-out as long as the students are required to see these interests “through academic eyes,” that is, to think and write about cars, sports, and fashions in a reflective, analytical way, one that sees them as microcosms of what’s going on in the wider culture” (386). Graff’s point is that being able to write a paper with the proper sentence structure, citing, and analysis are important things to learn; but a student can just as
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