Cell phones cause hang-ups in the classroom

It happens every day, in almost every classroom. While a teacher is explaining everything a student must know to pass a class, such as answers to the test, the midterm project or possibly even the meaning of life, you hear it-a cellular phone going off that disrupts the entire learning process.

It appears as if everyone is carrying and using cell phones in public. These interruptions have spread from movie theaters to classrooms.

It has become a major issue at universities because cell phones ringing in class interfere with the proper conduct of class.

“I think cell phones going off in the classroom are disrespectful to the professor and to the class,” said Monica Dixon, a senior psychology student from Pensacola. “It could all be avoided if students would just simply turn off their phones before coming into the classroom.”

Tashua Green, a senior health information management student from Miami, agreed.

“After two to three students’ phones have gone off, everyone should check to make sure their phone is off to prevent continuous distractions,” she said.

To some students, loud ring tones during class is disturbing, yet entertaining.

“It is annoying hearing phones go off in the classroom, but at the same time, the person’s face whose phone goes off is always funny to see,” said Tehira Williams, a senior education student from New York City.

Some students go as far as to pick up their phones, answer it and walk out to talk for a while.

“Answering your phone and walking out is the rudest thing a student can do. If it’s that important, answer it. If not, just ignore the call,” said English professor Veronica Von. “If you are serious about class, then let people know not to call you during certain hours.”

Many teachers tell students at the beginning of class to shut off all electronic devices.

However, instead of turning their cell phones off, many students opt to put them on vibrate mode.

While putting phones on vibrate may be a small help, some students still place the phones on their desks.

When the phone goes off, the vibration on the hard surface is just as loud.

Some professors have gone as far as including sections about the use of cellular phones into their syllabi at the beginning of the semesters, yet students seem to disregard the warning.

Anna Green, a professor who teaches business behaviors and relationships, deducts five points from students’ final grades if their phones ring in class.

“I will make what I call a ‘teachable moment.’ If someone’s phone goes off, I will stop the class, take out my grade book and take off the points. I do this to set an example,” Green said.

Some professors understand in certain situations, a cell phone is needed.

Nancine Wright, a student at Tallahassee Community College, said if an emergency or problem occurs, her cellular is the most convenient way to get in touch with her family quickly.

Another concern teachers have with the usage of cell phones in class is the ability of students to cheat by using text messages.

With larger classrooms, it is somewhat harder for teachers to monitor students.

“Teachers should understand that text messaging during a test would be time consuming,” Green said.

“Not that I have ever [cheated], but it would be so much easier to just look at another student’s paper to get an answer, rather than typing in my question, waiting for response and praying to God that I don’t get caught.”

Why take away our phones for something that may not even be going on?”

In high school, school officials have the right to confiscate items from students. But, there is no section in The Fang, the University student handbook, about the use of cellular phones.

So what can be done to eliminate cell phone usage in class? Many professors have been proposing a school-wide ban on all cell phones.

Some professors argue there was no need for cell phones in classrooms 20 years ago, so why the urgency now?

Contact Stephanie Lambert at stephanielambert21@hotmail.com