Monday, January 13, 2014

Academically Dismissed

Academically Dismissed 

            Many people assume that there is only one way to determine if someone is smart: figure out if they are academically intelligent.  Gerald Graff disagrees.  Throughout his article, “Hidden Intellectualism”, Graff makes great points to support his claim that “…schools and colleges overlook the intellectual potential of street smarts: the fact that we associate those street smarts with anti-intellectual concerns.”  Throughout his article there are many points he brings up to support the idea that street smarts are a kind of intellectual and should be taken into consideration from schools by incorporating subjects street students are into to keep their attention; so not only would they be street smart, they would also be academically smart by learning of the concepts they’ve been applying to life all along by having this unique intelligence of being street smart revealed.

            Graff has many strong points that he uses in his article to support his claim (to which I am proud of since I agree) like, “Real intellectuals turn any subject, however lightweight it may seem, into grist…through the thoughtful questions they bring to it, whereas a dullard will find a way to drain the interest out of the richest subject.”  This example was given as a token to go through the turnstile of a type of strategy intellectuals might use – proving that even the seemingly insignificant subjects – like sports, or food or fashion – can be intellectually digested only by one who hold capable of being intellectual.  Other of Graff’s examples include, but are not limited to: “I see now that in the interminable analysis of sports team, movies, and toughness that my friends and I engaged in-a type of analysis…”; “Sports is only one of the domains whose potential for literacy training…is seriously underestimated by educators, who see sports as competing with academic development rather than a route to it.  But if this argument suggests why it is a good idea to assign readings and topics that are close to students’ existing interests, it also suggests the limits of this tactic…students…write about…cars will often write as poorly and unreflectively on that topic as on Shakespeare…The challenge…Ned Laff has put it, “is not simply to exploit students’ nonacademic interests, but to get them to see those interests through academic eyes.””

            In journaling my reading experience of “Hidden Intellectuals” and “They Say”, I have many habits that I perform to keep myself in tuned to reading.  Here are a few:

Ø  I like to make what I call a “Party Mess” – I have the tallest/biggest cup of water to drink (always, regardless if I have another drink with it); a snack for rewarding myself after I’ve been a responsible student; my house phone and cable TV remote control next to me for my interval breaks.

Ø  I move around a lot to break my comfort zone and keep my brain awake, otherwise I’ll start dozing off in coziness chasing butterflies in my head!  Another is,

Ø  Removing myself from my couch to my study table.  After all is said and done with the self-discipline and butterflies; and snack; and few quick, short - water, walks, and distant-gazing breaks, now it’s “Go-Time!!!” for me.  The table represents my business meeting with myself and thorough, non-interrupted reading; note-taking; studying; and final drafts (propositions) are completed.
            The above are just a few –with minimal details of how I tackle my homework/essay-writing.  I look up words as I go along because I like to get a full understanding of what I’m reading.  I’m good at taking short mental notes to which I jot down after I’ve read an entire page.  I then note the paragraph and page number, and reason for noting such on a pad (sticky or notepage).  If I take the notes in the middle of a paragraph, I break my concentration on following through the writing.  That’s why when I stop immediately in the middle of reading to note and look up words I don’t have a clue about their meaning (the only way I look them up right away) I must go back and read the whole thought which included that word so as to make a connection with the rest of the reading.

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