Analysis of The Article 'Hidden Intellectualism' by Gerald Graff

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Words: 624 |

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4 min read

Published: Dec 16, 2021

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Words: 624|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Dec 16, 2021

Analysis Of The Article ‘hidden Intellectualism’ By Gerald Graff
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Gerald Graff's article, "Hidden Intellectualism," raises crucial questions about the value and recognition of diverse forms of intelligence in our educational systems. He contends that there exists untapped potential in "street smarts" or non-academic knowledge that schools often overlook. Graff's personal experiences and transformation from a sports-oriented youth to an advocate for intellectual diversity add credibility to his argument.

Graff's perspective resonates with the insights of Scott Burkun, who highlights the practicality and experiential learning inherent in being "street smart." The ability to learn from real-life experiences, adapt, and improve is a form of intelligence that deserves recognition and respect.

While Graff's argument challenges the traditional educational paradigm, I believe it's essential to strike a balance between being book smart and street smart. Both types of intelligence have unique strengths and can complement each other. Education should be a platform where all forms of intellect are celebrated and nurtured.

In today's education systems, where standardized tests often define success, it's imperative to recognize the limitations of such assessments and appreciate the richness of diverse talents and abilities. We should strive to create an inclusive environment where students are encouraged to leverage their unique strengths for academic growth and personal development.

I choose to respond to the article “Hidden Intellectualism”, located in Chapter 17 of “They Say, I Say”. The author of the article; Gerald Graff, is relating to the reader by using language to express similarities between what he thinks, and a certain situation the reader may have been faced with. Gerald is persuading that certain intellectualism’s have more potential than most colleges care for students to learn or focus on. For example, the quote, “What doesn’t occur to us, though, is that schools and colleges might be at fault for missing the opportunity to tap into such street smarts and channel them into good academic work” (Graff 369). Gerald is stating his opinion on what he feels is truly important to build one academically and give one a chance to show their knowledge and talent without all the useless books you may read or have read.

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Gerald connects to the reader by stating his own real-world experiences of what his adolescent life before college was like, therefore the reader may be more intrigued to listen to his opinion and thoughts on the matter. “Until I entered college, I hated books and cared only for sports…I have recently come to think, however, that my preference for sports over schoolwork was not anti-intellectualism so much as intellectualism by other means” (Graff 370). Gerald betrays how his opinions on intellectualism have changed and explains how he now believes different thoughts or things could actually hold more intellect and importance than others. His main viewpoint flourished from his own personal experiences and what he has learned about education and the world as he grew up and until now.

In an article I read by, Scott Burkun, he discusses the differences between being book smart and street smart. I agree with what Scott had to say when he evaluated the pros of being street smart over book smart. In his article he stated, “Being street smart comes from experience. It means you’ve learned how to take what has happened to you, good or bad, think about it, and learn to improve from it…On the street, it’s you. In a book it’s you trying to absorb someone else’s take on the world, and however amazing the writer is, you are at best one degree removed from the actual experience.” I believe Gerald and Scott have a similar outlook on intellectualism. They both agree that you can be just as smart and or have just as much intellect as another person who may just be better at the whole school thing. I disagree that being book smart and capable of high-level learning abilities isn’t as important. Although, I do agree that being street smart over book smart you’d have larger opportunities and a bigger outlook on real life situations and matters.

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In my opinion, Gerald’s article is a big issue we face with educational systems today and the way we are looked at and judged. Nowadays, all the schools are based off passing one test at the end of the year that most kids cheat on. Being “intellectual” shouldn’t be based solely on whether or not you do well in school or on certain tests. One could have so much knowledge and ability either way and one shouldn’t be based off educational systems that don’t see what they are truly talented in or capable of. “What a waste, we think, that one who is so intelligent about so many things in life seems unable to apply that intelligence to academic work” (Graff 369). You don’t have to be book smart to have intellectual abilities and gifts. Most colleges are at fault by not trying to apply one’s street smarts to school work, which may help the student excel compared to regular book work. 

Works Cited

  1. Graff, G. (2003). Hidden intellectualism. They say/I say: The moves that matter in academic writing (pp. 369-381). W.W. Norton & Company.
  2. Burkun, S. (2012, August 28). Street smart vs. book smart. Scott Berkun.
  3. Fisher, D., Frey, N., & Lapp, D. (2011). Creating literacy-rich schools for adolescents. ASCD.
  4. Ladson-Billings, G. (2014). Culturally relevant pedagogy 2.0: aka the remix. Harvard Educational Review, 84(1), 74-84.
  5. Tatum, B. D. (2017). Why are all the black kids sitting together in the cafeteria?: And other conversations about race. Basic Books.
  6. Wood, D. (2012). How Children Think and Learn: The Social Contexts of Cognitive Development. John Wiley & Sons.
  7. Giroux, H. A. (2013). Neoliberalism's War on Higher Education. Haymarket Books.
  8. Ravitch, D. (2013). Reign of error: The hoax of the privatization movement and the danger to America's public schools. Vintage.
  9. Freire, P. (2000). Pedagogy of the oppressed (30th Anniversary ed.). Continuum.
  10. Dewey, J. (1938). Experience and education. Macmillan.
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Analysis Of The Article ‘hidden Intellectualism’ By Gerald Graff. (2021, December 16). GradesFixer. Retrieved December 4, 2023, from
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