Friday, January 14, 2011

Cellphones in the Classroom

They aren't allowed. There are several very good reasons that cellphones are not meant to be brought into the classroom.

First, students can be easily distracted by texting on their phone instead of listening to a lesson. Texting in class is just as annoying and disrespectful as passing notes. Texting means that at least one student is not paying attention in that room. A good lesson should be like a conversation, so texting during class is like texting while you're chatting someone. It tells the teacher and other students that your time is more valuable than theirs and you don't much care what anyone in the room has to say. It's just plain rude.

Second, cellphones can easily be used to cheat on a test. Students can text their friends across the room or even in another class for answers to a test or quiz. Creating this network of answer sharing defeats the purposes of having an assessment and is incredibly unfair to anyone not in on the cheating. Of course, cheating really only hurts the cheaters in the long run as they are the ones who are missing out on valuable skills and knowledge.

Finally, texting can increase bullying in a school. Bullies are already sneaky and bullied kids are already scared. Remove the verbal aspect and catching the bullying becomes a lot harder. Students who are the victims of bullying over cellphones and the internet can be driven to suicide. I believe on of the reasons is because the responsibility is entirely on them to tell someone about the bullying instead of someone being able to hear or see the bullying in person.

Despite these very good reasons, students text in class. They get their phones out and do what they can whenever they can. What's worse is that there are parents that seem to find this behavior completely acceptable. I've had to call parents about cellphone use in class and heard "Well, he was texting me, so you can't take his phone!" Ma'am, why are you texting your child when they are in school? Barring a family emergency, which shouldn't be read over a text message anyway, there's no reason to communicate with your school aged child via text message during school hours. "Well, was he done with his work?" Even if he was, completing work does not grant one electronic privileges that can still result in cheating and bullying. If I allowed any student who finished to whip out their cellphone, students would get lazy with their work and "finish" just to play.

It's because of these reasons that all cellphones really need to be turned off during the school day. If your child doesn't adhere to that rule, then they shouldn't have a phone. It's as simple as that. They can cry and complain all they want, but not behaving properly with a device means they don't get to have it.


  1. Can you take cell phones away from students in the classroom?

  2. We can. The school holds them for first a 24 hour hold and then 30 days. Parents sometimes get VERY upset about that. Sometimes, and these are the parents I like, they say "Well, that's what you get! Next time you won't use your phone!"

  3. It isn't like schools no longer have offices to which parents can call in if their child needs to be reached (should there be an emergency). Otherwise, your child is at school; you can talk to them when they get home. This concept worked extremely well for all the years that children have been going to school up until now. Though I imagine the majority of the time the texting is not even between parent and child, so there really is no reason for kids to have cell phones on them during class.

    By the way, what age are you talking about ? (I think any age is unnecessary in class, but just curious)

  4. TriGirl, I teach all freshman all day, so they are between 14 and 16.

    Our students are also allowed to go to the office in between classes if they need to call a parent or guardian.

  5. hmmmm we have to find a solution acceptable to these kids i teach kids of 14 to 16 years of age and some of them do not like to part with there cell phones.


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