Just in case you’ve missed it, there’s a bit of a debate going on about whether or not mobile phones should be banned in schools. Opinions vary hugely and there are good arguments on both sides. Here’s a brief summary of the conversation so far…
Phones are a Distraction
Teachers are complaining up and down the country that many pupils waste valuable class time on their phones either on social media platforms or texting friends in another class. Not only does this distract them from their own learning, but if teachers are having to constantly disrupt the class to ask a pupil to put their phone away, other young people are losing out on teaching time.
The Chief inspector at Ofsted is fully behind the idea of banning phones as she doesn’t see their place in the classroom and believes that the ban would help to tackle low-level disruption and bad behaviour in classes.
Effect on Test Results
To further back-up the above arguments, a study conducted by the London School of Economics looked at schools in 4 English cities and discovered that in those where mobile phone use was banned test scores increased by 6%. It also showed that kids gained an extra week of education throughout the academic year when they were not allowed their phones.
A former Ofsted boss was quick to point out that there are positive aspects of smart phones and social media – it facilitates collaboration and allows young people to connect more easily – however, it does open the door wide to cyber-bullying and other online discriminatory behaviours.
The Headmaster of Eton school revealed that Year 9 boys (aged 13-14) have their phones taken off them overnight. According to him, the boys are actually relieved at not having the pressure to be active on social media and parents are aware of the time restrictions to make sure they contact their kids when they know they’ll have their phones.
Phones as Learning Tools
A spokesperson for a technology company which runs tech workshops for teens maintains that phones can be educational if used in the right way; they have seen some schools use technology in hugely beneficial and creative ways to enhance the learning experience for the kids.
A British government official was also quick to point out that school is meant to prepare young people for adult life, and one aspect of adult life is being able to self-regulate technology usage. By banning phones in schools, how will kids learn to monitor themselves and take responsibility for their own decisions and actions regarding their phone?
The debate is in full-swing and here at Labels4Kids we can see both sides. What do you think? Should phones be banned in schools?