Phone policies encourage focus in classroom

Nathaniel Jackson

Between periods, drones of students flood the halls, robotically following their route to class while eagerly checking their phones. The conversations and steady movements of the students throughout the hall are not bothered by this juggling act; checking their phones is an essential task that is worth the possible disruptions. According to a Pew Research Center poll in 2012, “While 19% of these teachers say students are not allowed to have these devices in their classrooms, 28% say this is a major issue for them and another 43% say it is a minor issue. The remaining 11% describe the management of students’ use of cell phones and other tech devices in class as “not an issue at all.” So for what reason do teens have to be so attached and connected, and always needing to know what’s going on?
“Honestly, I’d say I’m on my phone a combined 2-3 hours during school…Half of my classes have one task a day, and after I finish, I just get on my phone and use social media or [play] true skate,” said junior Carter Mabe.
Some teachers don’t allow students to use their phones during class and instead ask them to put them away in a box or their backpacks. Other teachers don’t mind phones being used, many allow their use into the classroom with studying games like Gimkit, or Quizlet. The difference in these classes brings questions as to which is a better standard: phones or no phones?
In general, classes that don’t allow phone usage are classes with a lot of new material everyday which doesn’t leave a lot of free time for the class or the teacher. Those that allow phone usage are usually classes with longer lessons that stretch throughout the week and have more free time for students to use phones. Classes with phones allow a more comfortable atmosphere at the cost of attention and most likely some procrastination.
“[Banning phones] is kind of unnecessary in my opinion, I feel like if you have all your work done in a class you should be able to use your phone,” says Mabe. ”I think they are just as productive as classes with phone usage.”
On the other hand, classes without phones may feel more boring or slow, but bring more attention to the teacher and lesson.
“[Having no phones] 100% helps me learn more,” said senior Asia Ellingsworth. “I just feel like classes that allow phones do not allow students to be focused on the material.”
Many students enjoy having their phones for listening to music, and not for other purposes.
“I dislike [no phones in class] not because of me not being able to be on it but just to change songs or to have music in general. Music is how I calm myself down,” said senior Trevor Cox.
Teachers and students alike are looking for a new standard for phones in classrooms. Many students love the freedom of having their phones, but is it too much of a distraction or a needed break?
“I think that instead of not having or having phones, there should be little breaks throughout periods to check [phones] and re center,” said Ellingsworth.