Talking About Cell Phone Use With Students: A True Story
Classroom discussions can be productive and fulfilling
Posted Apr 22, 2018
"So - I can't believe it - but my class had a successful conversation about cell phone use last week!"
Ms. Tryit, a 7th grade teacher at one of the Conflict 180 schools, was beaming as she told me her story.
"So we had been experimenting with check-in circles and temperature checks in the beginning of class - maybe for a month? First they acted like they didn't really like it, but when we didn't do it, they would ask - are we gonna do temperature checks today?"
"Well - you know how the cell phone use drives me crazy around here. Nothing was working. Reminders. Referrals. Threats. Calls home. And every teacher in the school has their own rules."
"I was so tired of it. Well - I remember what you said - just try it - you can't break this. So I thought I'd just go for it."
"I got them all together and after the usual temperature check I told them I wanted to talk about something important."
"I introduced the topic and explained how I wanted to do the discussion. First we went around and said how we feel about the cell phone use NOW, what our HOPES are for cell phone use, and then how we wanted to move FORWARD. Then it was kind of popcorn from there."
"I couldn't believe it! It was a great discussion. I mean these are kids who never listen to each other. And the most amazing part is that THEY said it was distracting and needed to stop!"
"We agreed that students would have five minutes of phone use at the end of class if their work was done. And they came up with their own rules that were tougher than my rules would be. They decided how many reminders there would be and then I would take away the phone for a week!"
"That was Friday. And this week has been the best week ever!"
"I mean it has been SO PEACEFUL. Every time I see someone using the phone I just gently remind them about the agreements we made. And it's really working so far."
"I'm guessing it won't last for ever and we will need to have another conversation at some point. Also, I think taking the phone away for a week is too long so we may need to adjust that. But let me tell you. I am really enjoying my class right now. For the first time in a long time."
Thank you to Ms. Tryit for sharing her true story with us. You too can be brave like her and just Tryit.
RESTORATIVE HACK FROM MS. CREATIT
The Restorative Hack below was brought to you by a teacher from a different Conflict 180 school.
Ms. Creatit printed out the 4-Card Restorative Kit from Conflict180/Resources, laminated the cards, and hung them on rings. When she saw me, she was excited about it.
"I love my cards and use them all the time. Thank you so much for making them!"
Ms. Creatit was too modest to have her name listed here. However, she sent me a photo to pass on her hack to you.
What are Restorative Practices?
- Practices that help people RELATE better
- Practices that help REPAIR small rifts in relationships
- Practices that RESTORE dignity and community after harmful acts