Phones…the bane of teachers everywhere. Just today, in 2 hours of lessons, at some point or another, almost all of my students were using their phones instead of focusing on the material. Over the years, I’ve tried so many different methods to address this. Forbidding them in the classroom proved to be pointless. Punishing them damaged rapport. Ignoring them allowed them to reproduce with Viagra-munching rabbits. Being more interesting is effective in bursts, but no matter how fun and engaging you make the class, there are going to be points when you have to do writing prompts or reading or whatever, and unless you are just a magic dynamo, you can’t be ‘on’ for a full 5 contact hours on Thursday. Lately, I been trying to integrate cell phones into my lessons in various ways: dictionaries, research, Padlet, learning management systems, and the like. It helps a little. Not enough, not by a long shot. So what should we do?
Cell phones should be banned in school. Science says so. According to a recent study, banning cell phones in school is the equivalent of adding up to a week of extra schooling.
This view [that schools should allow cell phones] is misguided, according to Beland and Murphy, who found that the ban produced improvements in test scores among students, with the lowest-achieving students gaining twice as much as average students. The ban had a greater positive impact on students with special education needs and those eligible for free school meals, while having no discernible effect on high achievers.
Banning cells is possible in primary schools. It’s much harder to implement full-on bans in college programs.
What do you do about cell phones in your class? I’d love to hear your suggestions.