In his article "Hidden Intellectualism," Gerald Graff criticizes those that do not put value into "street smarts." Graff insists that knowledge goes far beyond academic learning and continues into the everyday world.
As a child, Graff always looked for a happy medium between brawn and brain. As Graff describes, he felt "the need to prove I was smart and the fear of a beating if I proved it too well." In a culture that values sports and entertainment, Gerald knew he would face ridicule if academic subjects became his main point of interest. Gerald believes that academic knowledge can be a hindrance to social life and continues to argue that sports are a much better topic to be interested in. Because football and baseball statistics became his center of interest, sports became the topic of conversation between him and his friends. Instead of talking about chemistry, Graff found himself in arguments about who should be the next MVP. Little did Graff realize, conversation with his friends helped develop analysis, summaries, generalizations, and "other intellectualizing operations."
After coming to an understanding of what these conversations helped Graff establish, the idea that "the sports world was more compelling than school because it was more intellectual than school, not less" began to surface in his mind. Graff then pleads the reader to take interesting topics unrelated to school and look at them "through academic eyes." In other wards, Graff essentially conveys the idea of taking street smart topics and turning them into intellectual debates. His stance portrays a culture that incorporates common subjects to be discussed and viewed in different ways.
Graff's theory of street smarts is extremely useful because it sheds insight on the difficult problem of social life being excluded from academic situations, but this is not to say that street smarts is more important than academic knowledge. When Graff contests that subjects should be seen through "academic eyes," he has truly struck on an important idea. Incorporating both social and academic importance's can open a new world of opportunity to the student. If scholars are given the option to write research topics of interest, then not only will they be able to attain the benefits of knowledge in the classroom but also learn about subjects related to their social lives. When I took senior composition in high school, my first reaction to writing and eight-page research paper was dread and fear. No one in their right mind wants to put together an essay of strung together facts and slight opinions, especially when they have to keep the reader interested through out the entire process. Then I learned that the paper was on a topic of our own choice. Immediately, my opinion changed for the positive and I imagines all of the opportunities of writing about something I enjoyed. Needless to say, my paper was eleven pages long and one of the most well constructed articles on music that I could have written.
Even though Graff finds a way to utilize schoolwork and social activities, I cannot accept his overall conclusion that social toughness outweighs classroom understand. I can accept that the two are on a n equal playing field, but the importance of academic knowledge should continued to be stressed on the youth. When it comes to career success, there is no argument that ACT scores and GPA can affect the outcome of your life. Whether it be a radio commercial or television advertisement, everyone has heard the saying that 'on average, people who get a college degree make a million more dollars than people who don't.' The emphasis is evident, but for a purpose. Graff minimizes the importance of grades. The reality behind the situation is simple; if you get good grades, you can get into a good school and then a good job. Seemingly, the best of both worlds would be to get high marks in school and still enjoy the material that is being presented to you, but if the opportunities are not presented to enjoy schoolwork, then you shouldn't succumb to failure. Some ideas are important to grasp, whether they have the student shouting from the rooftops in enjoyment or frustration. Just because Graff's idea of "academic eyes" does not pertain to every subject, the important thing is that we remember to incorporate it when we can, but strive to understand what is mandatory.