Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Message from PCDE Text

would it be ok to promote using a phone in a classroom even though the school has a policy against it ?


  1. Should you ignore the school policy and pretend it doesn't exist? No!

    Should you explain to a senior teacher what you want to do? Explain why it is educationally valuable? Show you've though about possible risks and how you will minimise them? I would say yes.

    Seek advice. Seek permission. If you think it is worth doing - argue your case.

  2. Nope. Recently read/heard about a school where the policy varied from class to class leading to a lot of pupil confusion.

  3. If the policy is a blanket "They are off and away - end of" and said policy is regularly and strictly enforced then I'd toe the party line unless I'd discussed an exemption for your classes.

    My last school had a blanket rule but it wasn't strictly enforced, or at least it was down to individual staff members to do so. I was *very* strict with anyone I caught texting etc during lessons.

    A warning was given at the start of each term. If your phone rings - switch it off. I appreciate we forget sometimes. That's fair. Just don't let it happen again.

    If I see you texting, surfing the web, facebooking... I'm taking the phone till the end of the period. No warning. The warning at the start of term *is* your first warning. I see it, I take it.

    Do it again, and you lose the phone till the end of the day. Again, no warning.

    Third time, end of the week and a letter home to your parents.

    Amazingly, I *still* has incidences where I removed up to three phones in one period. It's as if the kids thought that the rule only applied to others. I also loved the number of excused I got when I was confiscating the phone for the whole day:

    "I know my rights - you can't". Wrong. I checked with Guidance. I can. And I did.

    "I'm going to the dentist so I won't be around at the end of the day to get it." This is almost always a lie. Ask to see a note. Or for the pupil to accompany you to the office to confirm the appointment. You'll invariable find they'll skulk off to their next class without doing so and re-appear at the end of the day for the handset.

    "I'm waiting for a call from my mum/friend/gran/etc." Well, if it's an emergency they know how to get the school number and the office know where you are as long as you turn up for your classes. No worries, see you at half three.

    On the other hand, if you do allow phone use ( and I did where appropriate) police it properly, but don't build it into lesson plans. That is, don't assume every pupil has a phone with a camera they can use for an activity, etc.

    I had camera use for projects, photos taken of their password slips so they'd not forget them, calculators used, web access to sites we couldn't get to for research purposes (with students I trusted)... with the right pupils, it's not a problem. It's your job to determine which pupils/classes this trust works with.