Etiquette and the use of mobile phones…
Last week Jeremy Hunt, the Government Health Secretary, was chastised along with the Deputy Leader of the house Therese Coffey for using their mobile phones during a debate in Parliament about NHS bursaries. John Bercow the Speaker of the House was quite rightly appalled that his colleagues continued to look at their phones in blatant breach of the convention of the house.
I suspect all of us at some point – but hopefully not so publicly – have looked at our phones when we should have been listening to something else. I remember one PHS parent commenting that I had been texting during a play when actually I had been tweeting about the performance but that comment taught me a lesson and made me think about how tweeting can look like “fiddling” on my phone and I have not done it since. There is a phone etiquette we must all learn and phone manners are still evolving. It is for that reason, along with others, that I feel it is counter productive to ban phones in schools. Where school policy is to hand in the phone on arrival then crafty pupils have two phones and hand in an old one. Other headteachers tell me parents are complicit in the deceit preferring their child to have access to a phone for emergencies and happily supply two devices.
The Daily Telegraph reported this week “Banning mobile phones and other technology in the classroom is “moving in
the wrong direction”, an academic has said, as he warns children will keep using technology anyway”. The article went on to say “I share concerns of parents about the effects of leisure technology on sleep and homework and exercise but it’s important that we don’t demonise it completely.” said Professor Paul Howard-Jones. Instead, according to the Professor, teachers and parents should look at how pupils are interacting with the technology.
Keeping up to date with methods of controlling and monitoring use is important and PHS regularly sends out the latest information about keeping safe online. It is often not possible for school to wholly police poor phone use as more often than not the misuse happens out of school hours. However, most social media sites are blocked on our wifi and therefore can only be accessed through 3 or 4G. Furthermore, our girls do not stand in the lunch queue using their phones and when this week a prospective pupil’s parent on a tour expressed surprise that the pupils were not on their phones all of the time our tour guide replied “We are far too busy to waste time doing that”. At PHS we do much to teach the manners associated with phone use and embrace technology so that it is used to the best advantage.