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Restricted Call – Teachers Address Cell Phone Use In Class

Alix Neenan ’12

Features Editor

UNDIVIDED ATEENTION: Many teachers are implenting rules that students must have their phones off and visible at all times. | Photo by Hayley Randich '14

When students walk into Catalina DeLuca’s Spanish class, they don’t text, they don’t check their email or Facebook, and they don’t play Brick Breaker. Instead, they put their phones in the right corner of their desk.

“It’s working very well,” DeLuca said. The students receive one participation point every day that they put their phone in the corner.

As cell phone usage has gone up, so has cell phone usage- in class.

Instead of listening to teachers talk about quadratic equations or the Battle of Lexington and Condord, they instead text their friends two classes down about Friday night’s party or what lunch they have.

DeLuca isn’t the only teacher to enact untraditional cell phone policies.

Science teacher Michael Aitkenhead and French teacher Casey Marinuzzi are among other teachers who have a similar policy of taking away students’ cell phones.

Aitkenhead says that the system is “simple but effective.”

“I found in the past that if you ask students to put the phone away, they are sneaking a text underneath their desk or off to the side in their back back.

Under such a system, if you call a student out on it, they try to deny it and you end up in a deadlock,” Aitkenhead said.

However, now that he has students put their phones directly out on their desks, “there is no oppurtunity really to hide.”

Marinuzzi has a policy where she has students “put their phones to bed” in an over-the-door shoe rack in the corner of the room.

Each student is assigned a numbered “sleeping bag” for their phone and can pick it up at the end of class.

“They’re out of sight and out of mind,” Marinuzzi said.

Marinuzzi says that she has two reasons for starting this policy: one is the “practical reason of eliminating distraction” but she also wants to address a bigger problem.

“The phone, at times, can be a burden,” says Marinuzzi. She wants the students to “focus” on what they’re doing instead of texting their friends.

“They don’t need to be accessible to anyone,” Marinuzzi said. She says she’s gotten “overwhelming support” from parents.

Nevona Friedman ‘12, has Marinuzzi for French,and agrees. “It’s effective if you’re the type of person who is too tempted by seeing your phone recieve texts to resist answering them,.” Friedman said.

DeLuca says that she would recommend her system to other teachers.

“I think it’s positive… it’s beneficial for both me and the students.”

“Phones and other handheld devices have become a mainstay of our culture and while there is appropriate use for such devices, they have become a source of distraction and disruption in class,” said Aitkenhead.

“I’m asking students to buy into the notion that they’re okay… without their phones,” Maranuzzi said.

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