The difference between knowledge and intellect is remarkable, yet many times these words are used interchangeably. Knowledge refers to facts on a given subject; intellect refers to a person’s perspective, how they view, analyze, and interpret their environment . Unlike I.Q., intellect can and should be taught to our students, but instead our current schooling system is focused on ensuring students memorize the facts required to pass an exam. In his essay, “Hidden Intellectualism”, Gerald Graff explores the limits current education standards impose on our youth’s development.
Graff presents the idea that perhaps the subjects that we normally associate with “anti-intellectualism” are just as capable of being subject of critical thought as Shakespeare’s plays. “Real intellectuals turn any subject, however lightweight it may seem, into grist for their mill through the thoughtful questions they bring to it” (Graff, 381). This idea is central to understanding the rest of Graff’s argument. If no subject is more deserving than another, then every subject—sports to science—should be utilized in the classroom as learning tools.
Young students are motivated in complicated ways. The things that interest them are normally not academic texts of Plato or George Orwell. The author himself identified himself as a person who “hated books and cared only for sports” (Graff, 381). The only readings that interested him were sports novels and magazines. Over time, Graff developed the idea that his love for sports was not actually anti-intellectual as he had previously assumed, but was as intellectual as his university studies. He claims that had his teachers utilized his love for the workings of the sports world as an outlet to spark academic discussion and thought, he would have earned a stronger education.
While Graff was postponing his English homework to have a debate with his best friend about who was the best pitcher in the...