Phones distracting students in class

Staff photo 2018.

Staff photo 2018.

Kenneth Wong, Editorial

People around the world are constantly texting nowadays so it is not a surprise that students are doing it in class. Students often text in class because they feel the need to communicate or to help pass the time. They are more distracted than ever by their digital devices in class and are using them for non-academic reasons. A new study found that over 90 percent of students admitted to using their devices during class time for non-class activities. Sadly, this epidemic has to stop. Not only does it hinder their academic learning, but it demonstrates un-professionalism and a lack of respect for their teachers, and more importantly, their peers.

Texting may hamper students’ ability to pay attention in class. Some students have the urge when they notice an incoming text or feel the vibration in their pocket. Students text through the temptation to communicate with others, and it gives the wrong message to their teachers that they are not paying attention.

After 20 years of teaching, Miriam Morgenstern, a teacher at the Lowell High School is calling it quits this month. The history and ESL teacher is starting an educational nonprofit, but that’s only one of the reasons why she is leaving the classroom. A major frustration was the attention students constantly committed to their cellphones.

Students interacting on the phone are often on apps such as Snapchat, Instagram, iMessage, and Youtube. I mean, who can resist discovering the recent trends occurring, knowing what your friends have to post, and watching a funny viral video?

Joni Siani, a Braintree psychologist agreed. “You’ll get kids saying, ‘I’ll look something up for English, and while I’m here let me quickly check my Instagram or Twitter feed.’ Then afterward they would lose their focus on the lesson and become more engaged with their devices.

A study based on a survey of 777 students at six different colleges and universities questioned students why they used their devices in class. Results indicated that 8% of them stated that they never used their devices in class. Following, 35% of students stated 1-3 times, 27% 4-10 times, 16% 11-30 times, and 15% said they used their phones more than 30 times in class for non-academic purposes per day.

The top reason was texting, followed by checking the time.

According to a study by the Centre for Economic Performance at London School of Economics, “The results suggest that low-achieving students are more likely to be distracted by the presence of mobile phones while high-achievers can focus in the classroom regardless of the mobile phone policy.”

Banning cellphones might be a problem since not all students, parents, and faculty would agree on this rule. There is no easy solution to stopping students from using their devices for non-educational purposes other than setting rules and consequences to the use of phones in class. It is up to the educator to decide how to handle the situation from there. Although I understand the temptation, I believe something has to be done to make this change, a change that will not only benefit student’s academic gains but also help students learn the important value of respect.