Graff argues that schools should encourage students to think critically, read and write about areas of personal interest such as cars and fashion on music as long as they do so in an intellectually cruel way. What else does he write about this point? How does he prove this point? What evidence does he provide? What is your interpretation of this idea?
Intellectualism is regarded as one of the essential things that people would wish to acquire. While many people believe that intellectualism can only be learned and developed through schooling, close analysis reveals otherwise. Hidden intellectualism, as discussed by Graff, is therefore acquired through other means besides the schooling process. Parents are encouraged to ensure that their children go to school, myths about schools, especially on matters intellectualism should be discouraged. Some individuals are exclusively smart on the issues described as "Street smart" while they do poorly in school. Such children are perfect for practical activities, especially those far from school works. Care should be taken to ensure that such children are helped to realize their dreams.
Moreover, "street smart" children should be treated in a manner that ensures effective tapping of their ability and potentials. It is indeed fallacious to think that individuals with outstanding intelligence on life matters cannot apply such knowledge in academic work. In "Hidden Intellectualism," Graff argues that schools and learning institutions should encourage students to practice critical thinking, reading, and writing on personal interests such as cars, fashion, and music, albeit intellectually.
Critical thinking is deemed as the most valuable element in creativity and decision making. It is, therefore, imperative for schools at various levels do instill the art of critical thinking in their students as early as possible. Colleges can tap into the smart streets through the encouragement of critical thinking, hence channeling them to academic work success. Creative thinking is thus the most effective way via which schools can realize the potentiality of street smarts. It is, therefore, essential for learning institutions to encourage critical thinking, especially on areas of personal interest such as cars and music, to help in taping the potentials of street smarts. Reading about areas of particular interest is another imperative step that learning institutions should encourage students on. Reading and writing on such models help students in becoming intellectuals. "Students need to read models of intellectually challenging writing, and Orwell is a great one- they need to become intellectuals themselves…" (Graff 265). However, becoming more intellectuals is further encouraged when students write about subjects rather than those that interest their teachers and parents.
Schools, therefore, encourage reading and writing amongst students on matters that are of personal interest to them as a step towards encouraging intellectualism in students. Reading and writing about subjects that interest students often encourage them to read and writing more on such subjects, thus improving their intellectualism on such issues. Maters bordering personal interest are of imperative value in helping students' creativity, hence the importance of writing and reading such subjects. Therefore, learning institutions should be responsible for providing learners with the necessary materials to help them improve their intellectualism.
The author further writes about the importance of competition in schools as well as the environment in molding and improving intellectualism in students, especially the street smarts. Schools often contained healthy competition that ensured that students were kept focused on academic work, hence enhancing their intellectualism level. As one moves up the ladder, they realize the importance of such competition, thus improving their intellectual ability to remain competitive amongst their peers. “…school contained plenty of competition which become more invidious as one moved up the ladder…” (Graff 268). During such competition, students scored by showing the amount and quality of information about a subject and not by making arguments. An environment where an individual stays often invokes discussions vital in intellectual development. Through the discussions, individuals can acquire knowledge and information on different subjects. However, critical thinking is required to partake in such discussions, especially within the streets effectively. "…It was in these discussions with friends about toughness and sports… that I began to learn the rudiments of intellectual life…" (Graff 267). The environment thus plays a critical role in intellectualism.
The author proves the points on environment and competition by giving has personal experience and practice as a grown-up child. Competition and discussions offer solutions to various issuers affecting the community hence improving the level of intellectualism. When for instance, one joined a sports debate, he became part of a community that was not limited to their friends. Through friends and other people within the surrounding, discussions on different issues within the community were discussed hence improving the quality of information one had this increasing their level of intellectualism. The authors provide his intellectual growth and transformation from a street smart into an academician. My interpretation of the idea is that through hard work, active participation in discussions, creative thinking, and reading as well as writing about subjects that interest and individual, improve intellectualism. It is, therefore, important for schools and learning institutions at different levels to ensure that effective and supportive elements are given to the students to help them be creative thinkers hence increasing their level of intellectualism.
Graff, Gerald. “Hidden intellectualism.” Pedagogy 1.1 (2001): 21-36.
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