Phone pockets in classrooms

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By: Oscar Benson

“Put your phones into the pockets on the wall,” said a Northern teacher, firm believer that phones are a bad thing in the classroom. The phone pocket policy was imposed on all of Forest Hills Northern in the 2017-2018 school year.

What was this phone policy supposed to stop? The problem was to find a way to keep students from being distracted by their phones during class. The policy required students to place their phones in the shoe pockets at the beginning of class and not get them back until the end of class.

However, this policy has a loophole, which is that students don’t have to put their laptops away.

What teachers and administrators don’t seem to understand is that students can link their phone to their laptop and still send Snapchats, check Instagram and play games that they have on their phone. This defeats the whole purpose of taking away phones because the same “distractions” can be used on a different device.

Also, If you think about it, if these policies were really trying to prepare students for the real workforce, we would be allowed to keep our phones with us because it would teach us how to moderate our phone usage at work/school.

I think the concept of the policy makes sense, but it isn’t executed effectively. It needs a few tweaks, such as, instead of forcing students to put their phones in the pockets, allow kids to keep their phones with them. If the teacher catches them using their phone without having all their work done, their phone goes into the pocket, and they can’t get it back until the end of class.

This new policy would simulate the real world by effectively treating phones as more of a tool and a “treat” to use once your work is done. This was how phones were treated before this new policy. This actually worked very well for me and various classmates. Many teachers have gone back to using the old policy after less than one year of the pockets because most students know when it’s appropriate to be on their phones.

As far as student feedback goes, students typically enjoy classes more when the phone policy is not strictly enforced.   


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