Cell Phone Use in Classrooms

Journal: Multimodal Texts

Rhetorical Situation: Student cell phone use in the classroom

According to my school’s student handbook, students are not supposed to use cell phones during class without permission from the teacher. The problem is that most students refuse to actually put away cell phones during class. They fail to see the problem with texting during class or even going so far as to answer the phone during class. They are under the impression that they can do whatever they want to in regards to their phones. Over the course of the last ten years, the cell phone issue has become more of a problem every year. In the beginning, schools would take up cell phones and charge the parents $15 in order to retrieve them. I’m not exactly sure why this practice ceased but I think the state told schools they couldn’t use the cell phone issue as a fundraiser.  A couple of years ago, the schools stopped requiring parents to pay to retrieve the phones.  Now students don’t even have to have their parent pick the phone up. We changed the policy which has led to more problems with the phones. Students don’t just text on them; they also use them to listen to music. Now we aren’t just fighting a battle against texting in class but also against students wearing earbuds and listening to music during class. The cell phones are such a focus among teenagers that teachers are constantly trying to engage students away from the phones.  Students don’t even respect the need to have phones put away during tests. Honestly it has become a battle that is next to impossible to fight in the classroom. I don’t want to waste my entire class having to worry about cell phone use.  There has to be a better way to get students to be responsible about their technology use.

Response to Situation

In my class I have tried everything I could think of to deal with cell phones. At the beginning it was relatively easy because they worried about having their phones taken up. As the punishment for cell phone use seemed to lessen than the phones became more of a problem. I got really tired of fighting the battle so I attempted to treat the students like adults about their phones. I allowed them to be on their desks but I still reprimanded them when they were actively using them without permission. This year I decided that I was done fighting the battle. I told students from the first day of school that I would not allow any cell phone use in my classroom. I purchased a thirty-six pocket holder to hang in my classroom.  I told the students on day one that when we had tests that I would take up the cell phones and put them in the holders.  I also told them that if I caught them with a phone in class than I would also put it in the holder. Things went pretty well the first half of the year until we got to our research paper during the fourth six weeks. Now I have to fight an even bigger battle with cell phones and the end of the year. This issue would be so much easier to fight if we had administrative support. As I reflect on the choices that I made this year, I have come to realize that I need to develop a new method for next year. I would like to develop a system that keeps students off their phones but they also willingly engage in it. I’m beginning to think that if the students were involved in the decisions regarding appropriate cell phone use in class than maybe they would be more likely to follow them.

Outline for Video Script:

I want my future focus to be a more cooperative plan involving student design and participation but I still want my video to show the basics.  The video is going to be formatted in a do and don’t type of setup so that it’s simple to understand. The idea is to let the students watch the video so that they understand my perspective of the issue.  After they watched the video I will open up a dialogue with the students so that we can determine the best way to handle cell phones in class. I feel like this is the most logical approach I can take to the issue while still maintaining a sense of order in the classroom.

Plotagon Video

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