Tuesday, July 8, 2014
Finding The Intellectual Inside of Us
In "Hidden Intellectualism", Gerald Graff discusses why we shouldn't assume that just because a student has no interest in school related subjects, that they in fact are not intellectuals. He acknowledges that in America, the common thought is that if someone is street smart but does poorly in school, it is a "waste" of intelligence. Graff disagrees with this view, and he asserts that we should not take for granted that streets smarts can be linked to academic intelligence, if educators were to take that route of teaching. He also points outs that many subjects that we as a society may find to be "unintellectual", do in fact have the potential to be part of an academic discussion.
Graff both agrees and disagrees with the notion that in order to become an intellectual, you must read the challenging subjects taught in school. While he acknowledges that in order to become an intellectual, you must read challenging pieces of academic writings, he suggests that the challenging subjects taught should be involved with areas and subjects that the students themselves find interesting. Graff concludes by stating that he disagrees with the belief that we should separate academic and non-academic interests, and that it will be beneficial to the students if we make non-academic subjects into areas of academic study.
One area in which I would consider myself an intellectual is my knowledge of movies. When I was younger, I had little interest in school and didn't bother to remember important facts from school lessons. However, once I came home I would spend countless hours watching television and movies. I would then look up facts about that movie on websites like IMDB.com or Wikipedia. While my interest in school has grown, I do believe that my younger self's fascination with television was beneficial in the long run to helping me become more intellectual. Memorizing facts and dates about films eventually made my memory and learning capacity greater, and therefore prepared me to take in massive amounts of information at the college level. While at the time I didn't consider knowledge about films and television an intellectual endeavor, I now realize that because I was studying something I was interested in, it pushed me to be more interested in difficult school related subjects.