Mobile phones, for the most part, have been an important and positive technological development for the world. He created a vast network of instant messaging and content creation and helped promote literacy, learning and global communication.
But the devices, often as powerful as some computers and cameras, have also become serious distractions – with light users checking for real-time updates like a nervous tick, and addicted users completely engrossed in a screen and completely disengaged from reality.
At Thursday’s Trigg County Schools Board meeting, Trigg County Middle School Principal Amy Breckel gave members an update on this first month of the year — and how things went “very well” here at first.
One of the reasons for this ecstatic departure: the ban on using cell phones during school hours.
Students in Midcat halls no longer have these devices in their hands. Earlier this year, Breckel said it implemented the measure stemming from site-based decisions with little or no serious blowback. Children arrive at school safely and put their phones in lockers, and can only retrieve them when the last bell rings.
A noisier dining hall could be a good thing, because instead of having faces in food and phones, it ‘forces’ interaction between students – who then develop conversational skills to a minimum and friendships at most.
The decision to give up cell phone use also has a slightly deeper meaning in middle school. Breckel said there was a constant reminder to “love and nurture” each other, with accomplished author Joshua Dickerson’s poem “Cause I Ain’t Got A Pencil” serving as the subject of major discussion among teachers and professors.
The poem reads as follows:
I woke up
‘Cause we don’t have an alarm clock
Dug in the dirty laundry basket,
‘Cause nobody washed my uniform
I brushed my hair and teeth in the dark,
‘Cause the lights aren’t on
I even prepared my little sister,
Because my mother was not at home.
Got us both to school on time,
For us to eat a good breakfast.
Then when I got to class, the teacher rushed
Because I don’t have a pencil
Board member Gayle Rufli noted that removing cell phones from classrooms and lunch was a good idea.
Superintendent Bill Thorpe also welcomed the decision to remove the distraction devices.
Breckel also noted that repetition for learning new skills and improving behaviors was key in middle school classrooms during that first month. For school children, she said it usually takes an average of eight times before anything new is learned. For adults, that average jumps to 25. And for school children trying to unlearn an incorrect skill and relearn it correctly, it takes 28 repetitions.
For adults? Well, there may not be a number for that.
Breckel said she also tries to visit up to 10 classrooms a week, 10 minutes at a time, to observe more college.