Instructors should show more R-E-S-P-E-C-T to students when it comes to smart phones in the classroom


Art by accolade staff reporter Katherine Kim.

“OK class, I’m going to be taking attendance based on the cell phone pockets this year. If your phone is not in the pocket, you’re going to be marked absent.”

These were the words of three of my teachers this school year. I walked into class on the first day of school only to be greeted with numbered pouches hanging from the whiteboard. 

These cell phone pockets are becoming a trend across Sunny Hills teachers. Since I was a freshman, I can remember in some of my teachers’ rooms these hanging pockets that bar students from their cell phones for the period.

However, I don’t believe these pouches are entirely necessary, and they serve little purpose in the classroom setting.

Yes, I know teachers have implemented this system to prevent students from getting distracted with their electronic devices, but does turning in our phones really change that behavior?

We cannot disregard the fact that in addition to our cell phones, students also have access to Chromebooks that our school has issued as a “textbook.” Sure, the district has set up severe restrictions on Chromebooks’ search engine websites, but teachers shouldn’t believe that this stops students from playing games or looking up inappropriate websites or even cheating. 

As long as students have access to WiFi, little can bar them from misusing it if they wish to.

In addition, even if teachers have access to Go Guardian, an app that allows teachers to monitor students’ screens on Chromebooks, they cannot check on these electronic devices for every minute of class. It is impossible for teachers to constantly monitor activity, especially if they are in the middle of teaching.

The state may have passed a law allowing schools to limit students’ phone usage in the classroom, and it is understandable for teachers to tell students to put their phones away for a short period of time during class, but I don’t believe that means completely restricting students from any access to them for the whole class period. 

I understand that instructors just want to help promote learning in their classroom setting, but maybe they should try giving a little more responsibility to students to limit themselves on their own. 

If these actions still persist, however, teachers can discuss the issue in class, creating an open conversation between students and teacher. 

By spending time to talk out this issue in an open discussion in each class period, students are handed some authority and power in the situation, making them more likely to contribute ideas to solve this issue. 

As a result, both sides can reach a satisfactory agreement on smart phone use in class, and students will be more likely to obey the new rule. 

More specifically, each class could come up with its own phone policy that best suits its learning environment. Since not all students are the same, teachers can individually tailor to each class period. 

Even if it takes up some class time, it is worth it in the long run. A few minutes of quality discussion could lead to more effective and efficient future lectures in the year.

So please, remove these pouches from classrooms and try trusting students a bit more.