Good morning, Parents.
A topic that is getting considerable discussion in the education world currently, especially with high school faculties, is the topic of cell phones in the classroom. It seems like this topic is being discussed in nearly every professional publication, and it is not uncommon to read about schools taking various actions to address these challenges in newspapers. And certainly, it has been a topic of discussion at our school as well.
In a recent article in Principal Leadership, the author made a couple of points that go right to the core of these discussions. He said, “Smartphones are the most engaging, versatile, useful, and entertaining devices ever created. But to put one into the hands of adolescents and expect they will pay attention to even the most engaging lesson is unreasonable.” He also made the point that, “If you believe teens are on their smartphones while paying attention, think again. Most neuroscientists will tell you that multitasking is a myth, with virtually no one capable of doing it, especially not adolescents.” He goes on to cite a study that found that banning cell phones from the classroom led to an average improvement in learning of half a letter grade over the course of the school year.
When we asked our teachers if cell phones were a distraction in our classroom and having a negative effect on learning, 95% of our faculty agreed or strongly agreed with that conclusion. We plan to continue to discuss the best approach to address this challenge, but it seems clear at this point that we feel strongly that eliminating phones from the classroom is necessary. We are still working through the specifics, but beginning in the fall, students will be expected to leave the phones in their lockers when they go to class.
If you have any suggestions as parents to help us address this challenge, please give me a call to share your ideas.