If not, how do you deal with that?
We never covered this subject when I took my teaching degree in the 1970's. The nearest we came to it was discussions regarding cigarettes. In that case the solution was simple, the teacher took the cigarettes away from the student (and smoked them?). Confiscation of ciggies was expected by the students, and a perk of the job for some teachers, at least the teachers who smoked.
I believe that all schools now have written policies regarding cigarettes, but teachers are not police, and the very act of taking cigarettes away from a student, even today, can result in a more physical interaction than is desirable. And the police won't come to a school to take away a students cigarettes. So what can we learn from that?
Nowadays, mobile phones are a huge distraction to a lot of students, even the most academically motivated may well feel comfortable checking on their FB messages several times during a lesson. Those students who find ordinary lessons tedious will be even more tempted to watch a video or listen to some music to fill the gap.
- Some teachers gather all mobiles at the start of the lesson, as they check on attendance. Of course they are given back at the end of the lesson. The process takes valuable time from lessons.
- Some teachers ignore the fact that some students are using their mobiles, acknowledging that the disturbance factor of taking the mobile away is greater than the benefit to all.
- Some teachers issue warnings to individual students when they feel that the use of the mobile is distracting the learning too much.
- Some teachers explode in a ball of flames at the sight of a single mobile in their classroom, stopping the ordinary lesson to teach a Life Lesson to all.
- I have used the fact that students have mobiles to increase student interaction (with me) and check on knowledge before and after a lesson. I use the Socrative website www.socrative.com to ask questions at the start of the lesson (prior knowledge), during the lesson (interactivity) and at the end of the lesson (exit slips). Of course I have had days when "Mobile Prohibition" was in force, but we all know how it goes for prohibition, don't we.
How do you deal with this?
I'd love to know how this plays out in different schools, if there are local or national policies, suggestions, tips and techniques...