According to Gerald Graff’s essay, Hidden Intellectualism, street smart students are often thought of as anti-intellectuals because of educators limited and narrow views that intellectualism is only associated with book smarts instead of realizing that students can develop their intellectual and academic way of thinking through non-traditional subjects that interest them.
Graff conveys that by making students non-academic interests the focus can attract and motivate them to learn but acknowledges that in doing so does not necessarily translate into developing their intellectual skills. He believes that students must be able to see their non-academic interest through academic eyes in order to express their thoughts by writing on their topics of interest with quality, and that teachers need to find a way to integrate academics and the passions of students in an intellectual fashion.
By encouraging students to read and research their topics of interest such as sports, clothing fashion, cars and dating, not only serves as a vehicle to engage students, but cultivates the students’ intellectual thinking that will lead students to approach all subjects in a critical and analytical way. Graff argues that anti-intellectualism can be turned into intellectualism no matter how lightweight the subject and that educators need to change the way intelligence is viewed so that all students feel confident to share ideas that reflect their intellect and that will help them develop the necessary academic thinking required to develop arguments and analyze situations in order to come up with one’s own rationalization.
Graff explains that he learned the conventional way to analyze through his interests and found success in other areas, but he had to get to that place via his interest in sports. His involvement in sports allowed him to see that through continuous discussions and debates about sports and toughness, he was to develop the necessary elementary skills...
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