Saturday, 28 November 2009

A matter of trust.

Mobile telephones are banned in my school.
I understand why. They can get broken, stolen, be used for bullying, disrupting lessons, etc, and if a student doesn't have the "right phone" then that can be a basis for bullying, too.

Two weeks ago, I was teaching a Year 11 (Grade 10) GCSE French class when I noticed one of the students using a mobile 'phone.
I asked her what she was doing.
She replied, "I'm using "wordreference"to look up a word I can't find in the dictionary."
She showed me the screen and, sure enough, she was.

I was pleased. A student taking responsibility for her own learning is a rarity in my school and I praised her for using her initiative.
Some of the other students were amazed that I didn't confiscate it, like some of my colleagues would have.
Now, if they ask, "Can I use my 'phone to...?" even though it is against the rules, I usually find myself saying, "Yes."


Anonymous said...

I agree completely with your view on this. Mobile phones are becoming increasingly valuable tools in education. With resources like Evernote on the iPhone / iPod touch, pupils are able make notes in class and then access them not just on their phone but any computer with web access and a browser.

Also, in my experience pupils have a tendency to forget or lose their homework diaries / planners. They are much less likely to lose or forget their mobile phones. Perhaps we should be encouraging pupils to use their mobile devices to record homework assignments. The phone can obviously be used to set a reminder.

Our school rules are to keep phones switched off, but I am going to be looking at ways in which we can utilise these devices rather than ban them.

After all, some mobiles are more powerful than some of the computers we have in our school!

Unknown said...

I regularly get asked by pupils "can I make a note of the homework on my mobile?" to which I always reply, yes, of course! This is despite the fact that school rules say mobile phones should be switched off and put away in lockers.
Last week a sixth former turned up to my lesson with his homework on his Blackberry. Needless to say I didn't ask him to switch it off and put it away in his locker...

Sam said...

I know how you feel Dom! It's something I was discussing with colleagues this week after confiscating two phones in one lesson. The school rules say I have to give them a Tuesday detention, and comically two other pupils rom their year had also earnt themselves DTs for inappropriate mobile use in lesson.

My colleagues and I were discussing how to teach pupils the difference between appropriate and inappropriate use - they had all been texting in lessons, which you would consider to be highly inappropriate, however, one of the children was texting another to let him know the high mark he had just got in a test! The irony!

You may be interested in the TES article this week: