Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Mobile Phone Polices

I wonder if they had ball point pen policies in schools.

You know the type.

Ball point pens must be handled with care at all time. They must not be placed in your pocket just in case you are tempted to use them. On entering the school grounds all ball point pens must be flicked to the off position and their lids securely screwed on. Immediately on entering your homeroom all ball point pens must be placed in a tub on home room teachers desk. They may not be used unless specified by the teacher and only then strictly for the identified task as determined by the teacher. During this time period do not attempt to use them for any other writing activity or your ball point pen will be permanently removed. Leave your ball point pen in your homeroom at all times (You do not need to write in any other lessons). During break time all ball point pens must remain in the classroom to ensure they are not used inappropriately. Please ensure that when carrying your ball point pen too and from school, that it is flicked to the off position and kept out of sight until you have securely vacated the school grounds. Even then ensure it is used strictly for emergency purposes until you are safely within your home domain or it will be confiscated.

Unfortunately I'm going to have to step my classes mobile phone policy up to this level now after a couple of students used their mobiles inappropriately at break time but I have great issues with this and the other implied mobile phone rules above (substitute mobile for ball point pen, write/ing for learn/ing and lids for covers, above.)

My main concern besides the fact that I don't want to be responsible for a whole class of mobile phones getting lost, stolen and forgotten is that the mobile phone should be utilized as a tool. The mobile phone is a wonderful tool with many useful features that students can utilize in a whole array of learning contexts (calendar, calculator, internet, camera to name but a few) and our teachers are not the ones with the experience of when, where and how to use these tools.

Surely we should be teaching our students to use these tools appropriately, correct etiquette and appropriate usage should be the core curriculum not removal. Yes inevitably our student will make wrong choices and use them inappropriately but isn't this our greatest teaching moment.

How many of you never used your ball point pen to doodle in your workbook, when you were studying or had your mobile ring at an inappropriate time. How would you of liked it if you had your ball point pen and mobile removed.

Personally I'd rather my classes/school mobile policy read:-

Mobile phones must be used appropriately at all times. When in school you phone must be turned off and placed in your pocket until you require to use it to aid your learning. At which point you must request access to it's use from the specified teacher and identify it's purpose. Your phone must not be removed from your pocket and turned on until agreement is reached between you and the teacher taking the lesson. Once you have finished using the phone for your requested purpose it must be turned off again and placed securely back in your pocket. If you need to use your phone again a new request must be made. If your phone is used at anytime while on the school grounds without requesting permission from the supervising member of staff it will be confiscated.

Admittedly I'm not too sure about what to do with the mobile phones at break time as they don't really need them for learning but I for one don't want to be responsible for lost, stolen and forgotten mobile phones. It would just be my luck that one of my bus students forgets to take their mobile from the tub on my desk and misses an important call/pick up point.

But at least for a week or two I'll just have to enforce the above ball point pen policy until they learn to use their tools appropriately and are aware of the rules of correct etiquette and appropriate usage.

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