No phones allowed: BC high school introducing tech-free classes

Sep 6 2023, 9:34 pm

Students returning to one BC high school are getting used to new classroom expectations this week amid newly implemented rules regarding cell phones. 

According to a letter from the Belmont Secondary School in Victoria, BC, families were informed of the school’s new guidelines, which aim to create “a healthy learning environment that is conducive to student learning and achievement with as few distractions as possible.”

Part of the new guidelines means students will be asked to place their phones on silent or vibrate mode and keep them in a “cell phone pocket” at the front of the class or in a bag at the start of class. 

Students can also leave their phones in their lockers during class. 

The school added that students are only allowed to wear headphones if the teacher allows them. 

The high school students will be given a “technology break” to check their phones per a lesson plan or at the teacher’s discretion. 

“Personal devices are powerful tools that can support student learning when used effectively,” the school said. “Teachers may allow students to work with their personal devices for any number of learning opportunities. When instructed to do so, it is expected that students will use their devices responsibly, for the intended use and time duration as directed by the teacher.”

The school added it recognizes there are exceptional circumstances, but general guidelines will be used in many cases. 

If parents need to contact students immediately, they are encouraged to contact the school office. 

Banning phones is not a one-size-fits-all solution: expert

Terri Griffith, professor of innovation and entrepreneurship at SFU, said she has “full confidence” in teachers’ discretion regarding the use of technology in the classroom. 

While technology evolves, teachers will need to use trial-and-error methods to find solutions, she said; however, Griffith also warns that banning phones may solve one problem but cause other ones.

“No one technology, no one human skill, no one policy is ever going to get you the target that you’re really striving for,” she said. 

She encourages conversations around technology in schools to continue and emphasizes the discussions need to start “the very moment a kid gets their first cell phone.”

“Having those conversations about when would you want to have your phone and have it turned on? When would you not want to have it turned on?” she suggests. 

“At the first moment when a kid gets a technical device — and that is just coming earlier and earlier — it’s really on all of us to help them understand the nitty gritty, the nuances, and to be supportive as they experiment.”

School districts are responsible for managing students’ use of technology, and according to the BC Ministry of Education and Child Care, it “sets high-level direction and policy for the K-12 education system.”

The ministry added school districts are responsible for creating guidelines to meet its students’ needs, including “developing policies to address the use of wireless technology, including cellphones in schools, and ensuring access to the appropriate technology where necessary to support the educational needs of students.”

Do you think more schools should ban phones in classrooms? Let us know in the comments below.

Want to stay in the loop with more Daily Hive content and News in your area? Check out all of our Newsletters here.
Buzz Connected Media Inc. #400 – 1008 Homer Street, Vancouver, B.C. V6B 2X1 [email protected] View Rules
Nikitha MartinsNikitha Martins

+ News