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Teachers Using Cell Phones in Class

According to an article in Australia’s The Daily Star, the government over there is poised to ban the use of cell phones in classrooms.  Not because the students are abusing their cells, but because the teachers are.

Speaking to the Child Parliament on Sunday, Australia’s Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid said, “A government notification will be issued by tomorrow banning the use of mobile phones by teachers in classrooms.”  He went on to call the practice of interrupting or ignoring their class to take or make phones calls “immoral activities” and said that it was a threat to the nobility that is the teaching profession.

While his words seem a bit strong, using a cell phone isn’t exactly what one would general class as immoral behaviour; most of us would agree that using a cell phone during class time is disrespectful – perhaps even downright rude.  What would a teacher think if a student did that?

Unfortunately, while banning will curtail the activity, it will probably not teach the lesson that needs to be learned by the teachers in question.  They and their students will feel and see the restriction, but will they recognise the error in judgement?

That brings us to the wider question; is banning the most-effective way to relay a message?  While banning anything certainly stops or at least greatly limits that activity, it does not teach the lesson “why” those activities should not be performed in the first place.

In this instance, banning may be the quick fix, but educating the educators may have been a better approach.