Katie and I were talking yesterday about cell phones in the classroom.
She reminded me that she’d recently listened to a recording of a college class in which, every couple of minutes, the professor interrupted himself to say “Please put that away.”
It was striking, Katie said, hearing the words “Please put that away” without the visual, a much more jarring rupture in the flow. Then hearing the same request again–and again and again–brought home the dimensions of the problem in a way sitting in the classroom listening to “Please put that away” live would not.
Inside a class, everyone habituates, which is why everyone keeps getting out their cell phones, and why the teacher keeps repeating Please put that away even though putting it away leads directly to getting it back out again. The whole stop-start-stop-start to-and-fro recycles itself.
That’s the trouble with banning cell phones. You have to enforce the ban.
And enforcing the ban, unless you’re willing to take more drastic action (drastic action post t/k), means you have to interrupt the proceedings a lot.
Not fun, and not good.
Cell phone agonistes