Let it be Known: Cellphones Should NOT be Banned in High School Classrooms

At last! I finally participated in one of our #edtc400 debates! This week’s topic was on whether or not cellphones should be banned in the classroom. On the propositional side was Kendall arguing that cellphones should indeed be banned, and on the oppositional side we had Cody arguing that they absolutely should not. Now, if you did not get the opportunity to witness the debate, then you’re probably wondering where I fit into all of this. I had the opportunity to take on a slightly unique side of the debate. I was neither completely for or against the topic, but rather my stance was that cellphones should only be banned in elementary classrooms, and NOT in high school classrooms. According to our pre-debate vote, the majority of the class stood with me on that. To find out if they stayed with me or if they were convinced by the other debaters, you’ll have to keep reading to find out!

Proposition

Kendall made some really great points during her propositional statements. In summary, the basis of Kendall’s argument was that cellphones in classrooms are:

  1. Distracting
  2. Disrespectful
  3. Disruptive
  4. Dangerous

From the research I have found, as well as from personal experience, I can say that all of Kendall’s points are true and completely valid.

Opposition

Cody also made some really great points during his oppositional statements. In summary, the basis of Cody’s argument was that:

  1. Cellphones are a huge part of society and shouldn’t be forgotten in schools.
  2. Cellphones provide instant access to useful tools.
  3. Cellphones offer benefits to inquiry.

Similar to Kendall’s side, I found the points from Cody’s statement to be true and completely valid.

My Debate Stance… and My Real Stance

Here is the video that I created to make my arguments for why cellphone should be banned only in high school classrooms:

I found myself in a funny position when I signed up for this debate. My stance was two-fold, so while I was never completely in favour of the proposition or opposition, I was never completely against them either. This was rather nice because no matter what I said I always had support. I soon realized, however, that the same was for my opponents. Despite what they argued I found myself partly agreeing with them as well.

Incase you didn’t watch my video (sad face) I’ll break it down for you. The first half of my argument was that cellphones should not be allowed in elementary & middle school classrooms. My reasons were as follows:

Cellphones should be banned in elementary and middle school classrooms due to…

  1. Physical Health Risks
  2. Mental Health Risks
  3. Cyber Bullying

The second half of my argument was that cellphones should not be banned in high school classroom. My reasons were as follows:

Cellphones should not be banned in high school classrooms because…

  1. They prepare students for the future.
  2. Bans would be too difficult to regulate.
  3. They offer diverse learning opportunities.

While I agreed with Kendall’s and Cody’s statements, and found there to be advantages and disadvantages to cellphones in all classrooms, I have concluded that in elementary and middle school classrooms the disadvantages outweigh the advantages, while in high school classrooms, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. I have to be honest here, although for the debate I had to argue that cellphones should not be allowed in elementary and middle school classroom, in real life I could care less about cellphone regulations in these classrooms. Do I still agree that the disadvantages outweigh the advantages here? Yes, but I also think that it really all depends on the classroom environment, who the teacher is, who the students are, and who the parents are. I think that with the right combination cellphones in classrooms of elementary and middle schools could be really great!

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

Because I truly am not as passionate about cellphone regulations in elementary and middle settings, I will continue this post by further arguing why cellphones should not be banned in high school settings.

Not Convinced Yet? Lets Look at Today’s Adults

The majority of arguments that I have heard for why cellphones should be banned in high school classrooms are that a) cellphones allow students to cheat; 2) they allow cyberbullying to occur; and 3) they are distracting. These arguments can be found all over the internet including in the resources offered by Kendall such as this one. While these arguments are obviously true and completely valid, what I find interesting is that almost every one of these arguments also states that students need to learn to overcome these issues. This is where I begin to question some things. Should the solution to these issues really be banning cellphones? Would that really solve these problems? or will it just postpone the problems for when students graduate and enter adulthood? You see, all of these issues also exist in adulthood. I see adults bullying each other on Facebook constantly, I know of adults who attend post secondary school and cheat constantly, and I see adults distracted by their phones constantly! The frustrating thing about these adults is that many of them did not grow up with cellphones in their hands. As students, it would have been impossible for them to use cellphones to cheat, bully, or focus their attention away from the task in front of them, and yet, here they are doing exactly that as full grown adults. It is sad (like super sad) and I agree that something has to be done, but evidence has shown that going to school without a cellphone does not teach healthy cellphone habits, in fact, it might just do the opposite.

Still Not Convinced?

During the debate I often found my self siding with Cody because, like I mentioned, when it comes to elementary and middle school classrooms, I really don’t mind if cellphones aren’t banned. I think Cody really hit this debate on the nail when he brought up the point that cellphones exist in society and therefor shouldn’t be left out of schools. From what I have just discussed about today’s adults, I think it is evident that we need to teach student’s how to use cellphones properly. This article, which was a suggested reading from Cody, does a great job at explaining how cellphones in the classroom can lead to positive learning experiences that prepare students for the future. This right here is my biggest reason for why cellphones should not be banned in high school classrooms ( or even elementary and middle school classrooms). From the research I have done and the experiences I have had the biggest issue with cellphones seems to be that adults suck at using them. Educators need to begin teaching students proper, healthy, and smart cellphone habits or I am afraid that pretty soon we will be living in a world filled with cellphone addicts. That is if we aren’t already…

The End Result

By now you’re probably on the edge of your seat wondering how I did. Did my people stay strong and stand by me through it all? Were my arguments convincing enough to grow my possy? or were my opponents just too good to argue against? Take a look for yourselves and don’t forget to weigh me in on your own opinion by commenting below!

Thanks for reading!

-Tiana

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6 thoughts on “Let it be Known: Cellphones Should NOT be Banned in High School Classrooms

  1. Tiana, thank you for sharing your knowledge with the class in this debate. I too found myself being swayed by each of you so choosing a final stance on this debate was really difficult! Your blog post did a good job of covering aspects of each of the sides of the debate. While I personally agree that cellphones shouldn’t be used at an early age in school I’m not sure that I completely agree that they shouldn’t be used in school until high school. As you mentioned in your post, students are getting cellphones at younger and younger rates and with that being said a significant chunk of students I’ve seen in the schools thus far in my educational career are coming to school with cellphones in grade eight. For this reason, I may challenge that cellphones should be allowed to be used for educational purposes in middle years -but I also think this depends on numerous factors such as the demographics of the school community and its access to technology. Thanks for sharing your post and your side of the debate- I enjoyed reading it!

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    1. Hey Kaytlyn,

      I too think that things such as demographics and access to technology should be huge influencing factors for cellphone policies in schools. While I don’t think that cellphones should be entirely banned in high schools, I would urge high school to consider such factors and make policies based off of those factors. In high schools in particular, I think that there are more beneficial policies than complete bans.

      Thanks for your comment!

      Like

  2. Ms.Sydney McGrath

    Hi Tianna! This is a great blog post that summarizes what was discussed on Tuesday night! Kendall, Cody and yourself did a wonderful job at arguing your points and it truly was a great debate! I am left in the middle, I understand the many resources and benefits to having cellphones in the classroom, however, both Kendall and yourself gave some valid points to why cellphones should not be in the classroom! So, for now, I am left to ponder my decision as I put together my weekly blog post! Stay tuned!

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    1. Hi Sydney,

      There is so, so much information to consider when deciding what the right decision is. Although I argue that cellphone bans particularly in high schools are not the best solutions, I have to admit that perhaps in some schools they could be. It all depends on the school, the community it’s in, its students, and the students’ families.

      Thanks for your comment!

      Like

  3. Tiana,
    You did very well in your debate this week! I think you actually had the hardest job, as you acted as a bit of a “middle” person in the debate. I noticed how many of your points were able to overlap with ones made by both Cody and Kendall, which is exactly what is to be expected with the position you were to take! I voted in support of your side of the debate initially and although there were many great points made, I did end up sticking with your side in the end! I think that you did a great job of bridging the two debates presented before you into one cohesive piece! Again, there were many great points made that will keep me thinking and reflecting for some time yet! Wonderful job!
    Lauren

    Like

    1. Thanks for your great comment Lauren! Although this debate was a tough one, I really enjoyed researching the topic and discussing it with everyone. There is so much to consider when deciding what the best policy is and I think that different schools should have different policies. Schools are not all the same, their communities, families, and students are not all the same, and cellphone policies should reflect that!

      Like

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