The average person checks her phone up to 110 times every day, often in six second intervals. In the hallways of LOHS, it seems like everyone has her head down, so focused on her screen that she runs into people or walks into the wrong class.
It’s as simple as this: phones are distractions, and they are detrimental in a classroom environment. When a phone is constantly on hand, multitasking becomes habitual. Doing schoolwork while texting friends, listening to music or watching Netflix is common among students. The same habits apply in the classroom, and when a class is boring or early in the morning, the temptation to be on a phone is even stronger.
Studies prove that humans often engage in copycat behavior. For example, someone yawns in a group of people, it’s likely that everyone else will end up yawning afterwards. The same effect occurs with cell phones. If a student picks up her phone to text her friend, the person sitting across from them is likely to mimic her behavior and turn on her own screen, even if she doesn’t have any notifications.
When a phone is kept in a secure location for a period of time, it is much easier to be focused and invested in what is happening in the moment. The urge to constantly see how many likes a picture received or if that person texted back diminishes almost instantly, and it suddenly becomes much easier to understand the Pre-Calc homework that was such a challenge last night when “Stranger Things” was on in the background.
No one really likes heading to English class when they know phones will be collected into a phone caddy. Similarly, no one really likes eating spinach, despite how good it is for the body. Having a consistent period of disconnection reduces stress, increases student confidence and generally builds a more positive and engaged classroom environment.
For the good of the classroom, phone caddies make a lot of sense. Every time a teacher has to stop her lesson to tell someone to put her phone away, it takes time away from the lesson. In a state with one of the shortest school years in the country, every second is important.
High school is the last chance for a free education. Every moment, every lecture and every lesson should be valued by all students. If teachers see phones as distractions that detract from the classroom environment and harm students’ learning abilities, it is not only their right to take away phones, but it’s their duty to make sure that students learn as much as they possibly can. Despite what some people may think, teachers are not malicious dictators, but instead helpful guides in the journey through high school. Students have to trust that the teachers have their best interests at heart.