Cell Phones

This question was recently posted on a Montessori discussion board…

Can anyone share thoughts/ideas/policies around cell phone usage on the part of the students while at school?

And I wanted to share my thoughts here as well, this is assuming elementary and older students of course.  …

If education is intended as “an aid to life”, and cell phones are certainly a part of modern life, it makes sense to me to allow cell phone use at an appropriate age and include grace and courtesy. If cell phones will be part of everyday life we owe it to students to help them understand appropriate cell phone use.

A discussion with parents might be helpful to determine what an appropriate age would be for allowing cell phones in the classroom. A discussion with the students (possibly including parents) might be used to determine appropriate guidelines for use (grace and courtesy). If parents are to be included a pre-discussion to emphasize the goal of “children learning to use cell phones” rather than “parents need to maintain contact with children” might be useful.

I think a discussion among adults to determine appropriate grace and courtesy would be very revealing. If you are in mid conversation and your cell phone vibrates, should one continue talking while glancing at caller id, or should one pause the conversation saying “excuse me” before looking at the caller id. How does one politely suspend a conversation to accept a cell phone call?

Choosing to engage children and parents in a discussion regarding appropriate cell phone use is a challenging approach to solving the issue, and may result in unexpected results, but I think that ultimately it is the best “aid to life”.

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