Gerald Graff Hidden Intellectualism Summary

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Danny In his essay, “Hidden Intellectualism,” Gerald Graff shares his concerns that schools focus simply on intellectualism and unwisely dismiss the advantage of street smarts in academia. He offers the possibility that street smarts can be used in the classroom to provide students with an opening into the academic world. Graff provides personal examples with the intention of illustrating how his love for sports helped him to acquire the skills needed to think intellectually, when in fact, he unwittingly reveals that he was already capable of thinking like a true intellectual. As an adolescent, Graff was motivated to hide his intelligence. He shares his experience of growing up in a neighborhood that was divided into social classes. Graff recalls, “It was necessary to maintain the boundary between clean-cut boys like me and working…show more content…
He distanced himself from the academic world and became more involved with the world of sports, which caused school culture to seem “pale and unreal” (384). Graff’s acute perceptions of subjects within and outside of the academic world and his ability to blend them together prove that, as an adolescent, he already possessed the skills needed to think like an intellectual. It is clear why Graff would attribute sports to the development of his intellectual skills; they were an essential part of his life. Due to his circumstances growing up, street smarts took the place of book smarts and satisfied many of his educational and social needs. Graff could have provided an example of a student who had successfully used street smarts to develop academic skills as a way to effectively support his case. Gerald Graff. “Hidden Intellectualism.” They Say, I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing. 2nd ed. Ed. Cathy Birkenstein, Russel Durst and Gerald Graff. New York: Norton, 2012. 380-387.

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