Educators have spent a lot of time and energy keeping phones out of the classroom. We take away the phones and assign detentions but it never stops. We are not going to win. As long as we are prohibiting it, students will continue to be sneaky- finding ingenious new ways and places to text. Some students now even have the ability to text without even looking at what letters they are pushing!
We are all guilty of being at our own meetings and checking texts, email, or Words with Friends during the meeting- it is addicting. What if, instead of punishing phone users, we teach them how to use check and use phones in an appropriate way? Recently Doug Fisher, a San Diego educator, spoke at workshop about his Courtesy Policy- here is my adaptation.
The Courtesy Policy
String #1: Students may not use their phones while anyone (teacher or student) is attempting to provide them with information at the center of the classroom.
String #2: Students may not use their phones for personal reasons during group discussions and/or working with a group.
Benefit #1: A very simple “Put your electronics away for a moment” works wonders. Students will put phones away when asked without rolling their eyes, or worse.
Benefit #2: Teachers no longer have to teach facts- students can access facts quickly and easily. Teachers can now teach depth.
Benefit #3: Allowing students to listen to their music during individual work time in the classroom cuts down on the off-topic chatter and really creates a focused attention to the task at hand.
Benefit #4: Students don’t have to be sneaky and the teacher does not have to feel like he/she is losing a battle.
How do you mentally prepare to allow students to bring electronics into your classroom considering you’ve always insisted they be kept out?