Over the past two decades, those teaching in the UK have struggled to face their biggest obstacle yet – mobile phones. It seems that more and more pupils are bringing their handsets into school and this can cause huge disruption in the classroom. Whether they’re sending texts, playing games or surfing the internet, students can’t help but use their phones when they should be learning. This must stop. You’ll have no doubt faced this battle head-on several times, but just in case you still need some pointers, here are four teaching hacks to get pupils to put away their mobile phones.
Enforce the rules
Every new class needs to know the rules. In many cases, there will be an overall school policy that your students should already be aware of. But it’s up to you to put your foot down and let your pupils know that you won’t tolerate phone use. Ideally, you’ll make this speech upon your first introduction; however, if you’ve already missed the boat with this there’s no reason why you can’t re-affirm your stance now.
Don’t give an inch
Under no circumstances should you allow anyone to use their handset in class. Obviously, there are times when students will need to be contactable, such as if there’s some sort of ongoing family emergency, but you should let these individuals know that they can be reached through the main office should they need to be. This should avoid them flashing their mobile phone and egging on others to do the same.
Set an example
Of course, you’re an adult and can therefore use your mobile phone as and when you please. But let’s be honest, it doesn’t set a great example. If you really have to send a text or make a call, try to do it out of the sight of your pupils. If you don’t, you’ll just be sending a message that mobile phone use is tolerated.
Phones aren’t just a source of communication, but also knowledge - and admittedly, you shouldn’t be depriving your students of knowledge. However, you’re free to recommend alternative sources of information, such as dictionaries, encyclopaedias and thesauruses. If you have a communal computer in your classroom, it’s also worth reminding your students that they can still use that.
Now let’s get learning
You should hopefully have your students’ undivided attention once they have put their mobile phones away. This should then make your classroom a much more productive place to be.