Cell Phones in Classrooms

Do you allow cellphones in your classroom?

Does your school have a ban on mobile devices? Are cell phones distracting in class? What do your students think about this issue?


This  Globe and Mail article “It’s Back to School for Cell Phones in Toronto” describes a decision that was recently made by the Toronto School Board. As of September, 2011, mobile devices are no longer banned in schools in the Toronto District School Board. As the article points out, many students didn’t ever realize that the phones they were hiding were no longer banned. Share this article with your students and see what they think about this change. You can print out the article and have the students read it, or read it out loud to them for listening practice. For lower level learners, simply summarize the main points. After introducing the topic, discuss the issues.
Here are a few questions to get you started:

  • Should students be allowed to bring cell phones to class?
  • Should cell-phone use in class be restricted by the teacher?
  • Is it distracting to have cell phones in the classroom?
  • Name a few reasons why students should be allowed to have cell phones in class.
  • Were you surprised to learn that low-income students are likely to have smartphones?
  • How can smartphones make a classroom more portable?
  • How do smartphones make it easier for students to cheat?

“[Teachers] just can’t sit at the front with the chalkboard any more, because that won’t engage them and we have to engage them using their tools.”
Technology Consultant, Todd Sniezek

Our Mini Debates section features a full-length lesson on Personal Technology in the Classroom. If your students enjoy this topic, be sure to print out these related lessons as well.

Go to Digital Learning Lesson
Go to Texting Lesson
Go to Social Media Networks Lesson
Go to E-books Lesson
Go to Cell Phones Lesson

While our Something to Talk About suggestions are useful for getting your students involved in a group or pair discussion or debate, the topics, articles, and videos can also be used if you are looking for something for your students to blog/Skype/or write an opinion essay about.

Related in the ESL Library Blog

Edchat Summary: Is there a Place for Smart Phones in the Classroom

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1 comment

Leave a Comment ↓

  1. Skype English Lesson says:

    Sep 29, 2011 at 10:07 am

    I’m not sure cellphones have much use in the classroom. I teach in Japan and there is very little technology in the classroom. This is probably unique to my area in Japan, but I find it’s pretty useful with lack of technology to a certain extent. But, cell phones? I think they be left out without a sacrifice to student development.

    Happy subscriber here! Keep up the good work!

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