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Hidden Intellectulism: Underestimating Students

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Hidden Intellectualism by Gerald Graff bases its emphasis on street smarts over the bookworm. The focal point of the article is how street smarts ‘ academic capacity is underestimated and ignored. He argues that schools can reach into a variety of topics, such as athletics and fashion, and involve the students with topics that interest them. He was a ‘street smart’ kid himself, mainly engaging in sports that are deemed a ‘non-intellectual matter.’ He discovered his inspiration, his need to be an intellectual when he started discussing subjects like who was the toughest kid in school or sports. He felt stuck in the middle of being smart in the street and smart in the books. Graff goes on to say that anti-intellectual subjects like athletics add something to the table that traditional academic discussions don’t do. While these topics give a sense of culture, school subjects separate themselves. Where schools offer individual growth, athletic activities are encouraging community growth. Graff urges the schools to find this knowledge and integrate certain ‘anti-intellectual’ topics into their curriculum. Graff starts concluding his essay by giving us an idea of what could happen if schools introduced topics like fashion and sports. Instead of a traditional analytical novel, making the students read a magazine article would make them more literate and thoughtful when read from scholarly eyes. Gaff concludes the essay that students will profit more from a detailed and strongly debated review of a magazine article than from a repetitive answer to an academic job.

What Graff says in his essay is, I believe, quite true and important. I fear the schools are letting go of these latent intellectualism by boring classic literature students like Macbeth to waste. I find that their best work comes out when students have a closer connection and a greater interest in the topic. Graff claims the schools are looking too broadly at the student experience, which I believe is real. Shoving classic after classic showing little or no interest in that student doesn’t help them tap into the hidden intellectualism they may possess. We will then be evaluated to see who wrote the best analysis of the boring work with which they are confronted. For this purpose, schools should encourage students to explore topics of interest amid the classics and debate them. Another issue which ignited my own interest was the gap in growth between these anti-intellectual and intellectual subjects. A sense of community is generated with such a topic as athletics. It stems far beyond family and friends. For instance, if your favorite sports team wins this is not just a win for you. The millions of other fans just like you are celebrating right. That kind of community growth, I believe, is very important. Although rivalry is not a bad thing because it encourages change for individuals, it can be a very isolating thing too. But while the idea of having students write on topics of their own choice is a good concept, we can not forget the main aim of going to school and reading and writing these lessons. With this, he indicates that students are not just having to read and write about more interesting subjects. To build their intellectual personality, it’s to use their expertise and prior knowledge of these topics. Graff shows us how the most beneficial anti-intellectual topics to the students can actually be. Making them explore topics of interest brings the research and writing as a whole a new meaning. It brings into action a more personal view that creates trust and, when achieved from critical eyes, strengthens the capacity of the students to formulate ideas, analyze information and draw conclusions through their learning. 

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