Let’s file this under common sense facts we should all know.

  1.  Cellphones are connected to social media one of the greatest detractors from long term attention span and focus.
  2. Children are not particularly good at self regulation and control
  3.  Thus, we should enforce standards of conduct around the use of cell phones at school to encourage responsible use of said technology.

The CBC reports:

“When British Columbia school counsellor Tulani Pierce started noticing mental health trouble in some of her students last year, she said it gave her an idea: ban cellphones in the classroom.

They were distracted and they had a hard time putting their phones away, she said.

It’s been five months since students at Chatelech Secondary School on B.C.’s Sunshine Coast have been banned from using their cellphones without permission, and Pierce said they’ve seen promising results.

“We are seeing improved mental health, we’re seeing decreased bullying, we’re seeing more engagement in class, we’re seeing more social interaction, kids are playing again instead of being on their phones and we’re seeing increased academic success.”

Duh?  Does it take a degree in counseling to connect the notions that distraction devices, erm… cause distraction?

“She said when the students were first told about the ban, some were angry and upset, while others “were extremely relieved.”

“We care about our kids that much and the reason why we did this was because of the mental health, academic achievement and equity issues,” she said, adding that not all families can afford cellphones for their children.

Robert Schumann, a physical education teacher at the school, said he has watched the gradual rise of cellphone use in schools for over two decades, and the ban is a turnaround for students.

They are joking around and actually engaging in classes, Schumann said, and he attributes the transformation to the school’s no-cellphone policy.”

Not being hyper-focused on the online world results in more real world interaction.  This is ground breaking.

“However, former Vancouver School Board chair Patti Bacchus disagrees with a ban, saying it’s a “1960s solution to a 2023 problem.”

The education commentator said she has no doubt that cellphones could be a distraction in class, but over her last 10 years working in many schools, she doesn’t see phones as a big problem.

“I would not want to be a teacher tasked with enforcing this and constantly having to police somebody who brought their phone to school,” Bacchus said.

Students have lives going on outside of the class, such as taking care of siblings or doing part-time jobs and they may need phones to manage these tasks, she said.”

Students need to focus on learning while in the classroom.  Teachers of even middling ability should be able to set up an environment that facilitates this basic requirement.

Students since 1960 and before have been able to function without being tethered to the digital world.  Students will be fine.

“Bacchus said people also need to accept the fact that phones are ubiquitous components of modern life, and the technology is not going away.

Instead, she said teachers should perhaps take the opportunity to talk about addiction, list the pros and cons of using phones and leave it up to students to decide.”

Ubiquitous does not mean necessary.  And again students are stupid and ignorant and will make self serving decisions not in their best interests.  That’s why we have adults and not other students teaching them.

“Learn about it from that perspective, use it as an educational opportunity as opposed to, let’s just make rules and hide from it because that is not education,” Bacchus said.

Pierce said her goal is to see students across Canada taking a break from their phones in school rather than constantly checking social media notifications and responding to texts.”

Having rules, standards, and expectations is how effective education actually works.  Making rules addresses problems/situations in the classroom and sets the stage for children to learn in a environment that is conducive to learning.

Pierce’s goals and methods are not coherent.  I’m not seeing the path between “leaving it up for the students to decide” to “students [voluntarily] taking a break from their phones”.  If you can see the way please let me know in the comments.

Cell phones are great, just not great in all contexts.