EDITORIALS: Ban teachers, not cell phones

My Scottie, Fermo, has more common sense. School trustees, administrators and teachers are barking up the wrong tree._Fermo_concurs.

On Nov. 4, the Conservative government educational policy banning cellphones [ Ford and cellphones ] from classrooms goes into force. It does not take effect, doesn’t occur. It won’t. It will not happen. Cell phones will still be used in classrooms, a lot.

Exceptions rules
There are rules of exception to the ban: health reasons, educational purposes (teacher permitted), special needs students. 

Get teachers out of schools
Teachers and school administrators are the cause of classroom problems, teachers who want to be ‘buddies’ with their students, administrators who work from a position of fear. If you have been trained to be a teacher, have been honed for an administrative role, then do the job. Teach. Don’t try to be a buddy to the student. Administer. Don’t relinquish administrative responsibilities to parents. The parents’ classroom role stops at the school doors. Keep it that way. But the big question is how to ensure that teachers and administrators do what they are supposed to do, effectively, properly and responsibly. Inspectors? Suprervisors/superintendents? 

We can’t expect what we dont inspect
Teachers and school administrators need to be evaluated and assisted constructively in their roles and responsibilities. We cannot expect skilled math students from teachers who are not knowledgeable about math.

Teachers, not classroom buddies
Teaching is a very subjective action. Every teacher teaches something to their student, no matter their teaching method, their classroom procedures. Students learn, no matter what. Whether it is constructive, positive and responsible in outcome may be a subjective judgement. Teaching LBGT material is an example of an arguable topic for teaching. On the one hand, students need to be taught about their current social world so they ‘know’ it. It may be a safety matter, a matter of security, or it may be teaching them about themselves. The topic is debatable but not ‘sweep it under the carpet-able’ in classes today. Properly taught, LGBT issues can be taught effectively and beneficially in the classrooms. On the other hand, taught improperly or irresponsibly, LBGT teaching may risk opening the door to salacious, scandalous and immoral results. Effective, proper and responsible teaching is up to the teacher, the school administrator and the school boards.

Positive education from effective teachers
Cellphone devices are today’s world, and not just the world of the younger demographic. Look around. Older people use cellphones everywhere, even ‘old’ people use them. For shopping, for memory aids, for information, for communication, and on and on. Banning them from classrooms is impossible but their effective use in the classroom is in the hands of effective and responsible teacher who control their classes, their students, their lessons and how they are taught. Engage students. Make the lesson appealing. Use the carrot rather than the stick, if you can find it. Honey works better than vinegar, though it may also be hard to find.

Cellphones aren’t the culprit
Teachers are behind effective teaching. Recall your most memorable and effective teachers. They were well prepared, taught structured, polished lessons.

Other than banning cellphones, the sensible approach is to create a set of rules and policies regarding cell phone use, educate students on best practices and ethical use, and enforce the rules that are put in place.

Cell phones are not the problem. Teachers, administrators and school boards are.

 

 

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