In his essay “Hidden Intellectualism” Gerald Graff emphasizes that people who do not value or do not see potential in “street smarts” are wrong, and that a great amount of those students are really qualified to become true intellectuals. He brings to us the idea that society has been wired to assume that someone who knows a bit too much about life, is incapable of applying that knowledge to hisor her academic work. Graff says in his essay that the assumption is not only questionable, but also not proven. He expresses that being an intellectual goes beyond doing academic work and that there are certain “street” topics that require just as much intellect as any other academic subject.
He brings to our attention his own personal experiences, using his childhood to represent whatintellectualism meant to him. He says he was a jock and that talking and arguing with his peers about sports it’s what triggered his interest towards debating and learning about sports in a more academic way. Graff strongly believes that the discussions he had on a daily basis about sports are what made him more knowledge-thirsty. Gerald Graff also says that school and colleges do not take enough time toincorporate student’s interests in their academic work, and then he finishes by presenting the idea of taking ordinary, every-day topics and turning them into topics for intellectual debates. Therefore, he thinks it’s not only clever, but useful to incorporate the streets, the hobbies, the everyday life into a student’s curriculum.
In the end he concludes by saying that it’s possible, that if astudent is given an assignment on something he likes and feels strongly about, then the student will put a lot more effort into it. That that simple gesture can trigger his curiosity to learn about more academic related things. Mostly Gerald Graff is trying to make the readers see that he prefers the student that can talk on and on about something he or she likes and feels passionate about, ratherthan the student who can give you a two, three hour speech on chemicals.
I agree with Graff in the sense that he thinks it’s crucial for a student to have at least the minimum of interest in the subjects he or she is studying, I also agree that schools and colleges should incorporate those interests into their academic work more often, note that I said more often, unlike Graff, I don’t think allschools and colleges function the same way and there are many schools that support and encourage sports, music, movies, technology and other street smart related things into their everyday teaching methods. Therefore even though it’s unlikely to have a teacher or professor that takes the time to use all of those different hobbies and unusual passions in their favor, there are a few that do.
Iknow this because of my own personal experience. In 10th grade I had an English teacher named Mrs. Benitez, she was really strict and forward, but I’ll never forget her because I remember one day coming to class and noticing that the seats were gone, that day she told us to write on the board something we liked doing. Then she divided us in groups according to the things we liked, for example, Iwrote on the board I liked writing and I was paired up with people that wrote reading poetry, and writing lyrics. All the groups were assigned to work with a specific subject that we all had in common and present it in class in a way that would grab our classmate’s attention, in other words the goal was to make them see our hobbies in the same loving way we saw them. In the end we ended up learninga whole lot about each other and also about a great deal of things. So, that’s why I can’t say all schools are missing out on trying to incorporate new methods of teaching, because I’ve witnessed the opposite, therefore it’s a completely relative thing.
I also noticed that at one point Gerald Graff says: “Only much later did it dawn on me that the sports world was more compelling than school...
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