Steven D. Krause
Writer, Professor, and Everything Else
Yikes. That’s a tad brutal. With cell phones, I usually just ask students to make sure all electronic devices off when they come into class. However, my cell phone has gone off a couple of times while teaching so I try to be understanding.
I saw this a few days ago and I have kept wondering if it isn’t staged. We see so little of the context, it’s hard to tell.
Personally, I think it’s staged too. But it’s still kinda funny. And I don’t think there is anyone who teaches who hasn’t thought about this as a solution. On a bad day, I mean.
On a bad day? How about *every* day!
I have considered staging just such a demonstration on my first day of class, but I’ve never gotten around to it. I’ve adopted a peer-pressure approach to cell phones – the students start the semester with a modest number of bonus points that are reduced every time a cell phone goes off. If the bonus points run out, then regular points are deducted. (I do make the announcement that folks with sick kids at home, EMS techinicans, etc should set the phone to vibrate and take the call outside – I’m not a monster…)
In my smaller classes, I just reserve the right to answer the offending phone…
Personally, my policy is one that I heard is common in Scandinavian countries where cell phone use is even greater than it is here. As I tell my students at the beginning of the term, if your cell phone goes off, I will stop class and ask you to sing a song. It could be any song– “Happy Birthday to You,” “Twinkle-Twinkle, Little Star,” “The ABC Song,” whatever. But we will not go on until you sing. Usually, I have to make one or two people sing at the beginning of the term, and then the cell phones start going off.
Another policy that I think is reasonable: if a student’s cell phone goes off, the instructor gets to answer it. And, conversely, if the instructor’s cell phone goes off, a student gets to answer it. In either case, the person answering the phone will be polite and simply say that the person being called is in a class and will call back later.
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