The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

Cell phones are super charging students’ lack of productivity

Person goes on cell phone while working.

If you have ever found yourself unable to be productive due to being distracted by your phone, you are not alone. In fact, you are in the majority of all people on the face of the planet. The negative impact that phones have on our productivity in the real world translates directly into the classroom, ultimately causing students to constantly be distracted during school. Luckily, there is an easy fix.

Some believe cell phones should be banned from usage in classrooms completely and there is a growing body of research to support this statement. Students having their phones with them in school has always been a topic of great debate. Aside from all the research, people still find a way to have their own opinions on the matter. Students and many others are learning this new way of going about life while constantly fighting with the distraction caused by their device. Phones are a big distraction to students, but with the right tools, students can find a way to have their phone in school, without having it be a distraction.

One could argue that students should learn how to discipline themselves so they can keep their phone with them and learn to not glance at it or pick it up. Others argue that phones should not even be brought into the classroom. I believe cell phones are a huge distraction to students and we need to find ways to keep it out of sight during class time. However, there is a happy medium between the two that would allow students to have their phone, but still provide a distraction-free learning environment: the cell phone holder.

Most classrooms at WA have a large cell phone holder on the back of the door where students can place their phone in a pocket. If students do that at the beginning of class they will still be able to have their phone with them at school, but it will not be within reach so they will not have the issue of glancing at it or picking it up. This will still allow students to use their phone if needed for an assignment or in case of an emergency.

Many studies have shown that when people have their phone next to them while they are trying to work, their working memory capacity and problem solving skills significantly lowers, compared to when it is out of sight. If I ever have my phone next to me while trying to work on an assignment I will always be distracted by a notification and get caught off guard and forget what I was supposed to be doing. Having it out of sight completely eliminates the possibility of you losing focus.

Being able to engage in class and have interactive conversations with people is more beneficial to students’ learning than we might think. In fact, learning how to communicate and work productively in groups is a large part of being in school. It is also expected that students are able to retain the information they are learning. Cell phone distractions will not support learning retention.

Research also suggests that the amount of cell phone use can have a significant effect on students’ mental health. The build up of screen time hours and constant pull toward all the social media platforms can present some students with stress, anxiety or depression. Any decrease in screen time for students is an advantage to their mental health.

Students may argue that having their phone with them in class can be beneficial for safety reasons to make an important call with parents or to look information up for their class, but that is why we are presented with our Chromebooks everyday. If our phones are just on the door we can still access them during emergencies. There are tools provided to us in classrooms that do not have the distractions that come with the cell phone.

Cell phones are a challenge that students are tackling daily and it is obvious that it will not be going away anytime soon. Taking the distraction of cell phones away from students during classroom time will allow them the freedom to fully focus on being completely present and engaged with their peers and their teachers. Students will also still have the ability to use their devices in between classes to get in touch with people.

Part of adapting to something as challenging as this can take time, so starting with something like keeping the device in the phone holder on the door is a beneficial start for students to learn self control when they are in school.

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