Hidden Intellectualism : An Analysis Of Gerald Graff's Hidden Intellectualism

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Everyone knows some young person who is impressively street smart but does poorly in school. What a waste, we think, that one who is so intelligent about so many things in life seems unable to apply that intelligence to academic work. This is how Gerald Graff’s essay titled “Hidden Intellectualism" begins. Although this is not Graff's personal belief, he is approaching us with a common stereotype. After reading Graff's article I would say that I agree with him from beginning to end. Gerald Graff begins with differentiating between “book smarts” and “street smarts". Book smart is defined as a person who is intelligent and very well educated academically. People that are book smart can write and discuss subjects taught in school. On the…show more content…
"Students do need to read models of intellectuality challenging writing-- and Orwell is a great one--if they are to become intellectuals themselves. But they would be more prone to take on intellectual identities if we encouraged them to do so at first on subjects that interest them rather than ones that interest us". (Graff, 265). By this, Graff means that by mixing social and academics together, an endless path of opportunities can be introduced to learners. When students are given an opportunity to write about issues they are interested in, they are naturally able to learn more about the subjects linked to their day-to-day lives as well as acquiring the benefits of classroom knowledge.

Graff shares with us his personal experiences on how reading intellectually converted him from being street smart to book smart. Graff now urges colleges and schools to teach students the importance of reading intellectually as well as writing. "If I am right, then schools and colleges are missing an opportunity when they do not encourage students to take their nonacademic interests as objects of academic study. It is self defeating to decline to introduce any text or subject that figures to engage students who will otherwise tune out academic work entirely" (Graff, 270). By this, Gerald Graff means schools should encourage students to take their areas of interest and apply them to their education. All in hopes that students will one day feel comfortable enough to step outside
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