March 25, 2023

Lost in the digital dopamine: a common classroom distraction that leads to teacher frustration

With the steady growth of technology, schools have been finding the issue of cellphones in classrooms as they has asserted their way into student learning.

According to an article by Oxford Learning, students check their phones in the classroom an average of 11 times a day, and some students spend up to 20 precent of their in-class time texting, emailing, and checking social media.

This distraction leaves some teachers frustrated, causing the rule on phones to strengthen, and even college campuses are enforcing their phone policies harder than before.

At Northampton Community College, each teacher has their own phone policy that they enforce in their classroom, some being more strict than others.

Psychology and Development professor Wemara Lichty asks her students to keep their phones turned over so they are not tempted to use them.

“The students have to turn them (their phones) over on their desks, unless all of us in the classroom are on it,” says Lichty.

Many professors will call students out if they have their phones out, especially if they are distracting others in the classroom, sometimes causing the students to become embarrassed.

English professor Michael Pogach says that he believes that his students are adults, and will only say something to them if it becomes to heavy of a distraction.

“As long as you’re not being obnoxious or I can hear your ringtone, you’re adults. If you need to send a text, send a text,” says Pogach.

There are also students that believe that phones are a distraction for them personally.

Business Major Thais Rivera believes that her phone is a big distraction from her learning.

“I get distracted by my phone all the time in class, I’m sure many people do.” Says Rivera.

Sociology major Max Blease says that for some students it can be a distraction, but for others it may not be.

“There’s always that one person watching sports on their phone,” says Blease.

While talking to Pogach, he brought up a point about cellphones being helping within the classroom.

“Cellphones should be a resource we can use in the classroom,” says Pogach adding “but if it becomes a distraction then I call my students out.”

According to an article by National Education Association, moderate use of smart phones in the classroom can help with learning and staying organized.

There are different applications that students download onto their phone to help with schooling, and there’s even an app for the homework program, BlackBoard, that we use at NCC.

The battle of phones being good or bad for students in the classroom will continue until students and teachers are able to find a balance of enough and too much usage of cellular devices in the classroom.

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