The efficiency of schools and colleges in developing students’ potential has always been a significant issue in education. In his article “Hidden Intellectualism,” Graff (2001) argues that schools often overlook the needs of students with untapped potential and fail to apply and develop their abilities in the classroom. Graff (2001) notes that “it’s not a new idea, of course, that students harbor intellectual resources — “street smarts”—that go untapped by formal schooling” (p. 22). Indeed, students who do poorly in school do not necessarily lack intelligence; in many cases, they have not had a chance to develop their knowledge of certain subjects. Despite gaps in knowledge, these students are capable of using their logic and reasoning to solve various real-life problems, which indicates that they have excellent intellectual abilities.
The author also discusses the reasons behind the problem. According to Graff (2001), schools focus mostly on developing students’ knowledge of the course material, and this process rarely involves finding ways of applying students’ natural abilities to classroom learning. Not given the opportunity to use their capabilities and believing that intellect is a matter of knowing the subject, students often underestimate their intellectual abilities. Furthermore, the negative labels associated with ‘book smarts’ cause them to be more interested in popular culture and sports than in literature (Graff, 2001). In order to remedy the problem, it is essential for teachers to bridge ‘book smarts’ and ‘street smarts’ by bringing popular youth culture into classroom learning. The author believes that this move would help young people to develop and explore their hidden intellectualism while also increasing their interest in the learning process as a whole.
Overall, the article presents a new look at how schools and colleges can better serve the needs of diverse students. The author provides valuable insight into how schools influence the development of students’ potential and offers solutions for engaging various students in the learning process. By implementing the author’s recommendations, schools will be able to address the needs of students with ‘street smarts,’ thus creating a modern, inclusive, and diverse learning environment.
Graff, G. (2001). Hidden intellectualism. Pedagogy, 1(1), 21-36.