Monday, 4 April 2011

Banning mobile telephones.

Today the UK's coalition government announced that schools will be given greater powers to deal with unruly students. This will include extending powers to search students for banned items such as illegal drugs, alcohol and mobile telephones. There is a very good article on the BBC News website about this.

Like many teachers, I am always looking for ways to improve teaching and learning and using mobile phones is one of my favourite ways of increasing participation and motivation among my students. So, I was more than a little disappointed to read that the government is thinking of banning them.

This evening I wrote the following letter to the Education Secretary, Michael Gove:

Dear sir,

I was very disappointed to read in the media today of the coalition government's plan to ban pupils from using mobile telephones in schools from September this year.

I understand that, in the hands of some unruly students, a mobile telephone could be a major distraction and a way to disrupt and prevent learning. However, I feel that a total ban on mobile telephones is not only a short-sighted measure but would cause more harm than good in the long term.

As a teacher of Modern Foreign Languages the use of mobile telephones in my classroom over recent years has increased participation, improved creativity and encouraged independent learning among my students.

To you, the tabloid press and the general public, a mobile telephone, it seems, is a weapon of mischief. To me, it is so many other things.

In my classroom a mobile telephone is:

  • the way to access the most up to date foreign language dictionaries.

  • a homework diary.

  • a tool for downloading and creating podcasts and educational video files.

  • a voice recorder to aid pronunciation and revision.

  • a video recorder to record dialogues for peer and self assessment.

  • a tool for sending answers to an interactive whiteboard.

  • a revision aid.

  • an excellent way to show independent learning.

I urge you to reconsider this proposal and think about the consequences such a decision will have on teaching and learning in our schools.

Your sincerely,

Dominic McGladdery


Alex Bellars said...

A very considered response, Dom.

Alex Bellars said...

A very considered response, Dom. Let us know what the answer is!

Clare Seccombe said...

Brlliantly put, Dom.