Mixed reaction to cellphone ban in Ontario classrooms

Ontario to ban cellphones in classrooms

The Ontario government is planning to ban cellphones from classrooms.

"By banning cellphone use that distracts from learning, we are helping students to focus on acquiring the foundational skills they need like reading, writing and math", Thompson also said.

In a statement to The Canadian Press, the Ontario Principals' Council said school boards already have policies around cellphone use and the council would not support a further ban.

No formal announcement has been made yet.

For example, in Canada's capital, the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board has an Appropriate Use of Technology policy.

The PCs did propose the ban when they were campaigning past year.

"Beginning next school year, cellphones will no longer be allowed in the classroom unless they are required for educational purposes, health, and medical purposes, or to support special needs", says Thompson.

This proposed regulation will strictly prohibit the use of cellphones during instructional periods.

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"I think it's a good idea", says Lynn Hutchinson, a local teacher in Windsor.

"When the school day starts, the phones go off", one senior government source said.

However, surveys conducted by the Conservative government found that 97 percent of respondents favored a cellphone ban.

Some in the education field have said the new policy really doesn't change much as teachers haven't been allowing inappropriate use of phones in class.

The move was praised by many, but some say the ban is antiquated and a missed opportunity to teach children about responsible technology use. "I think the teacher should be in control of the technology and so the teacher should be bringing the technology to the classroom".

A 2015 London School of Economics and Political Science paper found that "student performance in high stakes exams significantly increases" with a ban on mobile phones. These improvements were mostly demonstrated among the students who were typically "low achieving".

"Schools and teachers have well established limits and boundaries with regard to cellphone use in schools and the classroom, similar to other classroom expectations, which are designed to create positive learning environments".

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