What is “Readicide?”
While spending many years in education, Kelly Gallagher (2009) has observed many classrooms across the country and the teaching strategies that occur in each of these rooms. During his observations he has discovered a destructive behavior that harms student learning rather than enhancing it – readicide. Gallagher coined this term based off said observations and defines it as “the systematic killing of the love of reading, often exacerbated by the inane, mind-numbing practices found in schools” (p. 2). What he observed is that most educators are not challenging students enough with difficult texts, but rather are focusing on standardized testing and leaving them extremely unprepared for college and the ability to be critical thinkers as adults. When it comes to sex education, should students really not have the ability to critically think about the decisions that they make? If students are not prepared with a proper sex education, they are being unarmed about making healthy decisions that have lifelong consequences. If they are not reading the material for their sex education class, they are doomed before they even get started with their adult lives.
To help combat this problem, Gallagher implores educators to change their pedagogical techniques from placing emphasis on standardized test scores to focusing on enhancing student learning. Looking at the cartoon on the right, it can be seen that the current educational system places way too much emphasis on the end result rather than what knowledge students have gained. A multiple-choice exam does not accurately depict the knowledge students walk away with from the course.
Although sex education is not a core course in public education, it should still be treated as one. If a teacher is lucky enough to have a textbook, it can be outdated or filled with scare-tactics, so teachers may feel the need to supplement additional worksheets to try to help students learn their lessons. However, if emphasis is not placed on reading the information and teaching students how to go about reading challenging texts for sex education, it is a lost cause and students leave with little to no information gained.
When reading, framing the text is extremely helpful when approaching students with a challenging piece of text. By reading a segment of the text with the students, the educator is able to provide necessary background information about a current health topic, the reproductive system, or whatever the lesson may be and place emphasis on the main idea, theme, or concept of the text. This will allow students to hone their skills on the importance of what the text is conveying. Another important factor to this change is to chunk the material, meaning break larger pieces of challenging text into smaller, more manageable pieces which also helps readers focus their attention. The remaining improvement to any pedagogical style is to have students do a close reading. A close reading requires students to go back to the text multiple times in order to truly grasp the concept of the text. Students will also be able to annotate or text code the text by underlining or highlighting important information, writing down questions or contradictions within the text, or writing down anything directly on the text that the student feels is imperative to the comprehension of the text. By using these techniques, it places the emphasis of student learning in the hands of the students, making the educator a facilitator and the student empowered.
What is a Socratic Discussion?
Estes, T. H., Mintz, S. L., & Gunter, M. A. (2011). Instruction: A models approach. (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.
Carjuzaa, J., & Kellough, R. D. (2013). Teaching in the middle and secondary school. (10th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.