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Letter to the Editor: Cellphones best left off in the classroom

Published on June 29, 2017

Cellphones don't belong in classrooms, according to one letter writer.

©TC MEDIA/Depositphotos/ Andrey Popov

There have been many debates about the use of technology in the classroom recently; more specifically, the use of cellphones in the classroom.

There have been many studies completed to study this phenomenon, which attempts to determine if students should be allowed to access their phones during class. These studies however, have done very little to stop the debate; if anything, it has added fuel to the proverbial fire.

There are many sides to this argument, and the opinions of students, teachers and parents must all be considered. Teachers are not all opposed to cellphone usage in the classroom, and some even incorporate them into lessons. It is also not as simple as allowing or not allowing students to use their phones.

There are those who believe that if teachers incorporate the use of cellphones into their daily lessons, students will not be able to waste class time by doing unrelated things on their phone. Others believe that no matter how effectively a teacher incorporates the use of cellphones into their lessons, students will still find a way to become distracted. Another argument is that with all the lockdowns and bomb threats that happen in schools today, it simply just isn’t safe to take students’ cellphones away from them, as they may be important in the case of an emergency.

My experiences as both a student and an intern at the high school level has led me to believe that students should not be permitted to have cellphones in class. In my experience as a teacher, even when students were given an academic reason to use their cellphones, they still found a way to check their various social media apps and text messages; more often than not the text messages were from their parents. Students were under the misguided impression that because their parents were the ones who were distracting them from the lesson at hand, they were immune from discipline. This sentiment was pervasive throughout the school system, and led to issues within the classroom, and with teacher-parent relations.

At times, teachers run into issues with inclusion in the classroom and the use of technology; though not common, there are some students who do not have cellphones so they either cannot take part in the lesson, or you have to single them out by finding another device for them to use. This practice is in direct confrontation with the inclusion policy that most schools employ, and is yet another reason that I do not believe that cellphones belong in the classroom.

Again, while people stand on both sides of the issue, and there are reasonable arguments that can be made for both sides, I believe the most effective use of technology in the classroom does not involve cellphone use. They cause more harm than good, by being a distraction to both the students and teachers, as well as by causing an inclusionary problem.

 

Hayley Murphy

Parker’s Cove