Utilizing People's Interest Is the Key to Learning

Topics: Anti-intellectualism, Intellectual, Academia Pages: 2 (774 words) Published: April 2, 2007
Gerald Graff's essay, "Hidden Intellectualism," is a critique on how schools are missing out on a valuable opportunity to encourage students to learn more academically. Graff feels that utilizing what he calls "street smarts" is an effective way to relate to students. I feel Graff's theory is an effective way to use student's interests to engage them in school. I agree with Graff because if a student is more interested in the lesson that is being taught, they are more likely to pay attention and actually learn something. He uses the following examples to define topics that would be street smart: "cars, dating, clothing fashions, sports, TV, or video games" (142). These topics would interest most people more than let's say the American Revolution or Homer's Odyssey. Graff emphasizes his statement by saying, "Real intellectuals turn any subject, however lightweight it may seem, into grist for their mill through the thoughtful questions they bring to it, whereas a dullard will find a way to drain the interest out of the richest subject" (143). He is stating that real intellectuals can take any subject and make it into a well thought out academic work. However, someone who is not an intellectual could take the most interesting subject and make it possibly the most mind-numbing piece of writing one could read. The example in the essay used to illustrate his point is George Orwell's writing about penny postcards. He claims that the penny postcard writing is more attention-grabbing than some professor's thoughts on Shakespeare. Graff continues by talking about his own childhood experience in an effort to support his claim. He recalls how he was the typical teenage "anti-intellectual", who hated reading books and only cared about sports. The only things he did read was sports magazines and autobiographies by sports stars like Joe DiMaggio and Bob Feller. Even though all his reading was sports related, he states that, "In my reading, I began to learn the...
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