Once students were back in school, Jeremy Adams decided to write a five-part series that proposed ideas for fixing American education. What I found so surprising was how many of his ideas had less to do with teachers and the classroom. For example, his first idea was to “ban cell phones in class once and for all.”
When he was a guest on a radio program recently, he described what he called “one of the seismic changes to classroom life since the birth of the cell phone era.” Notice what happens when students are given a few minutes of free time at the end of the class period. In the past, the classroom was filled with juvenile chatter, nervous movement, or youthful gossip. Instead, the class is transformed into a silent void with everyone looking at their phone.
More and more teachers have arrived at the conclusion that cell phones in the hands of teens (and pre-teens) is nothing less than a metastasizing generational cancer. He reports that “teachers are fed up. They are tired of students playing video games and watching TikTok videos in the middle of class. They are sick of the incessant cheating. They are sick of students who feign engagement but still have earbuds playing music throughout the entire class period. They are exhausted from having to repeat themselves multiple times because attention spans have been hijacked.”
Fortunately, school districts are setting policies that will make a difference. One school district he mentions requires students to lock up their devices in a magnetically sealed pouch during the school day. One state is considering a bill to ban phones on buses and inside classrooms.
These are all positive steps. In previous commentaries, I’ve talked about the impact these digital devices are having in schools, businesses, and at home. This is one positive step toward fixing American education.