By Alyssa Daniels
According to the WCHS Handbook for the 2017-2018 school year, students are allowed to use cell phones during approved and designated times, including before and after school, between classes, and lunch. Unauthorized use of cell phones will result in confiscation of the phone and disciplinary consequences assigned, but some students are not following these rules while in the classroom.
Teachers have decided to take it into their own hands to get students to get off of their phones and pay attention in class. So far, some teachers have implemented additional policies to help prevent unauthorized cell phone use in the classroom. According to a 2015 research paper by the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics, students’ grades improved by 6.4 percent when phones were banned or taken away.
Phones are a distraction to students and with this phone policy it is supposed to prevent that but only if the students do it.
WCHS English teacher Brooke Fuentes is one of the teachers that has made her own phone policy this new school year. Her rule is for students to put their phones in a pocket behind her desk while they are in class everyday.
“In the classes where it works, there is a lot less distraction. It doesn’t work in all of my classes so there is not a lot of buy-in from the students, so those classes it hasn’t affected them much,” Fuentes said.
Since teachers have now enforced their own phone policies in their classrooms there has been an impact on students and it has even impacted Fuentes herself.
So that it is fair, Fuentes also puts her phone away at the beginning of class just like her students are supposed to do.
“In the classes where it works, there’s a lot less distraction like not even the fact of, well even myself, because I put my phone in there too. They don’t know when they are getting a message, even if they couldn’t look at it before, even if it was somebody who was following the rule before and not using their phone they would still feel it vibrating in their pocket,” Fuentes said. “They would have that thought wondering who it is and so that distraction doesn’t play in anymore.”
Another teacher that also has a strong phone policy is math teacher Stephanie Wicke. Her rule is that students have to put away their phone before they enter the classroom; even if the bell has not rang, the student’s phone has to be put away.
Wicke decided to do this once WCHS implemented Chromebooks. Students’ phones and Chromebooks can do the same thing, so there really isn’t any point to have a phone out during class when students now have Chromebooks.
“…There is nothing for my classes a phone can do that the Chromebooks can’t, and the Chromebooks have fewer distractions than phones do,” Wicke said.
Junior Alexander Stamper is in Wicke’s Algebra 2 class, and he agrees with Wicke’s phone policies. Usually students get the urge to get their phones out when they are doing nothing in class. Stamper admits that he gets the urge to take his phone out when he is in the middle of a conversation. Stamper goes on to explain why he thinks teachers should have more strict phone policies.
“Teachers should be heavier on phone use to get them ready for real life jobs and tasks, where phone use is not permitted. It’s training them to have their phones away at the appropriate times in the future. Not heavy as in stopping the entire class just for one kid to put their phone away, but more like giving one warning and then putting it in a phone jail by the second warning,” Stamper said.
These teachers are handling their own phone policies well, and it seems like the policies have really been helping students not get distracted in class.
Hopefully, more teachers won’t have to make their own policies and students will start following the school policies.