Episode Transcript
Brent Warner
The DIESOL podcast

Developing Innovation in English as a Second or Other Language,

Ixchell Reyes
Episode 67: Should we stop allowing cell phones in the classroom?

Brent Warner
Welcome to DIESOL. This is episode 67. We are your hosts. I’m Brent Warner.

Ixchell Reyes
And I’m Ixchell Reyes. Happy end of your summer, Brent.

Brent Warner
Thank you. We’re wrapping up and kind of stepping out. I’m done. I’m done pool boying at this point. So yeah, shout out – my tan’s good. But shout out to Always Summer Pool Service down in Southern California for giving me a summer job. If you if you want the best in pool cleaning services… I am no longer working there. So good luck. (laughter) How’ve things been going for you?

Ixchell Reyes
Well, as I mentioned before, I’ve made a shift in to working with teachers. Well, I mean, managing teachers, so it’s so short term, role, but I’m learning a lot and approaching teacher leadership from a different angle. So it’s been good. It’s been a learning experience.

Brent Warner
Definitely a learning experience is the approach to quite a few things. And so I hope it’s been instructional for you. And we’ll see what see what happens. You haven’t made your final decision on whether you want to stick with it or or go back to the classroom.

Ixchell Reyes
I think it’s too early. There’s just so much to learn, and so many new ways of looking at the approach towards leadership. So yeah, no, I’m actually just enjoying this learning. It’s like, I’m an apprentice all over again. So..

Brent Warner
So yeah, cool. All right. Well, here we are, we’re kind of we’re kind of going back to school is the conversation and actually, you know, this language that I heard kind of recently is not not back to school. I don’t know if it was an advertisement or what but I kind of liked it. It said forward to school. Going forward to school. I’m like, Yeah, that’s a way better approach because like back to school means like, it feels like moving backwards. Like, it’s like a drag. Yeah, if we said, hey, we’re going forward to school, like it’s like, hey, next steps, right? Moving, you know,

Ixchell Reyes
not all of us get summers off. Oh, yeah. Oh, my sorry, like year round schools.

Brent Warner
Loooosers (laughter)

Ixchell Reyes
Our students don’t have that gap.

Brent Warner
No, for sure. Yeah, that’s like, I mean, I, this is my first time I’ve taken the summer off of teaching. And since I can remember, and it’s, you know, it’s a it’s a privilege for sure. For those of us who aren’t getting that summer school, so. So Let’s appreciate that. But yeah, today, so since we’re talking about this idea of like, forward to school, but but also there was an interesting article that came up, and we’re going to jump in and talk a little bit about this idea. We’ve, we’ve discussed this many times, I think, well, you know, there. I mean, you and I have discussed it, and many teachers have discussed it, but this idea about cell phones in the classroom. And for a while it felt kind of settled amongst progressive teachers, I guess. But now I think the conversation has come back up. So let’s jump over there and start having this conversation and see what happens.

Ixchell Reyes
So got me thinking about this topic was an EdSurge opinion article last month, and that was Tyler Rablin. The case for making classrooms phone free. And so of course, you and I embrace technology, we are pretty progressive, I would say we will try new things, I think you’re even more adventurous than I am. But we are constantly looking for ways that we can improve the learning experience and then also the teaching experience. So of course, cell phones don’t escape our conversation. And with the pandemic, and a lot of the emergency online teaching, we saw the rise of just devices, right many, many of them teaching or learning from home on your cell phone, but now that we’re mostly back to the classroom, there’s a conversation of hey, now. phone usage has become too distracting in the classroom and we’re finding it difficult to self regulate or for students to self regulate and their current you know, information is just traveling at such a fast pace. So the article is really focusing on that one there. It’s an instructor who had been very much pro phone use in the classroom as a as it was an enhancement. But now this year going back, he’s actually flipping his his policy. And he’s going to have no cell phones in the classroom policy. So that’s where the conversation. Yeah, that’s where I became interested in this. And you had happened to also read that article.

Brent Warner
Yeah, we both read the article. It’s up on EdSurge. And so I thought it was a really interesting article. And it got me thinking and at the same time, Ryan and Brian from Check This Out podcast also kind of talked about the same thing. Ryan’s teaching summer school, and he had a strict like, he’s like, I’m just over it, and then no cell phone policy during the summer. And he was kind of talking about that on a semi recent episode. And so I’m just seeing this kind of movement, right. And I am part of the conversation, as you mentioned, it was like this, this shift back to the classroom. And I want to be careful about that language, too, because I think there’s a much bigger chunk of people who are kind of permanently online or class, number of classes that are going to be permanently online, or Yeah, blended, even blended different types of things. And so, so I want to be a little careful around that, you know, like, hey, it’s only this situation, I think we’re just kind of generally talking about it. But one thing that kind of stands out to me, because I was also talking with some other teachers this weekend, was the idea that so many students, they were, for example, at home for two, two and a half years. And now and then when they went back to the classroom, they the students themselves recognize that they were not well socialized to other people, right. So when, when they’re only on Zoom, for example, and then they’re going back to the classroom, they don’t really, you know, they lost a lot of that interaction. So one of the teachers I was talking about, they’re like, my kid was, you know, in 10th grade when this happened, and now they’re only coming back as like, kind of like, as a senior. And they’re saying, like, there’s all sorts of behavior problems, and not because the kids are bad, but just because they haven’t socialized or they haven’t been

Ixchell Reyes
Or socialized in the way that we are used to having them socialized, right?

Brent Warner
Yeah, they haven’t gone through that through socialization of like being together with other people and knowing what’s appropriate, considered appropriate behavior, or whatever. And maybe those things will change. I just thought it’s kind of an interesting lens to, to approach this conversation with, because I think, you know, as we talked about, like, Hey, should phones be in the classroom? Or should they not, we’re also going to be looking at like, we had this massive, weird disruption with COVID of all of these parts are like, well, it’s not just about the technology and how we understand technology. It’s about how we, as people interact, and the human side of that, and, and what, what works, and what doesn’t work and what bad habits we might have slipped into and what ones we can get out of, and I think even mentions this inside of the article is that before COVID, you know, there was a easy conversation, because the way the apps were designed have changed over time. So it’s like, so they were less, they weren’t still demanding, but they were less demanding of your attention. And they’re better. They’re better design now than ever before to get those dopamine hits going and like, someone’s texting me, Oh, someone’s liking my post. Oh, it’s like whatever it is. And so those types of things that were like over, over tapping that that dopamine gland, right. And so I think that that’s also part of this conversation that we’ll have to learn how to adjust with and deal with, as we move forward in the in the future. But I did think this article was really interesting. So this teacher Roblin, basically, as you said, he, he went into a few different things he talked to, you know, he pulled out like Kelly McGonigal and James Clear, who are some good thought leaders about like, their ideas about whether or not we’re using willpower? What’s going to be for students? And then Ixchell, you and I will get into this, but also the conversation around like, what are different generations of teachers going to be thinking and in response to how they want their students to go. So in the pre show, we were You were mentioning, well, once these, you know, Zillennial teachers start coming in, and they already grew up their entire life with phones in their hands, they’ll have a different approach to it, then maybe you and me, are like, okay, when you know, like having a cell phones solid in your hand, you know, 20s or 30s, you know, like, depending, you know, if

Ixchell Reyes
you’re born your entire life, having that device how, you know, we’ll talk about it, but I think that it’s spot on, we’re dealing with a psychological shift in our behavior. And I think that the pandemic sort of rushed to some of it, and we’re seeing the effects of that as we as many have us have to deal with them in the class or the, the word I’m using as deal with because that is considered problematic. Now, since I’m used to pre pandemic behavior, right, and then the students coming in after two years of being exposed to the, to constantly using their mobile device, now it’s set in that behavior set only considered not okay, or not appropriate? Well, that’s something that’s slowly going to, I guess, also change change back perhaps.

Brent Warner
Yeah, absolutely. So I thought we might jump in to a little bit of the research, just some of the things. And we also feel like, we’re going to be promising everything right now. Because all of the research is like, pre or pandemic and America and like, Yeah, well, let’s, let’s discuss that briefly before. So what do you think like, what are your thoughts when you look at research now, that is pre pandemic,

Ixchell Reyes
it’s either, for me, it’s like, it fits into my pre pandemic kind of thinking, where I was, you know, championing the use of cell phones in the classroom, because, you know, it’s a tool, and it’s a wonderful way to get students engaged and, and also to innovate and to get them, you know, ready for the world out there. That, that uses a lot of technology. And I don’t know if that’s the same with you.

Brent Warner
I have mixed feelings, like, I’m not totally sure I really liked what a lot of what Rattlin said in his, in his article, and that started from a series of tweets, but I also, you know, I also like the idea of recognizing that students will always have a phone available to them from here on out in the future. And you and I, as professionals, you know, we’re also guilty of pulling out the phone when someone is talking or presenting or, you know, checking and that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad thing, maybe we’re doing it to share an idea or to take a note or to, you know, because it brings up an idea of something that we want to check on later, right. On the other hand, it could just be I’m a little bored, and I want to check, you know, my social media stream, or whatever else it is. And so, I think all of us, I mean, there’s very few people out there who can kind of honestly say that they’re perfectly good about not checking their phone when they’re supposed to be focused on one other task. But we can also train ourselves to be, you know, better behaved. And, you know, yeah, we have to, we have to kind of balance all of these parts, right.

Ixchell Reyes
Brian, I also, I always like to point out that we teach adults. And so the approach also has to take that into consideration. Many of the articles that we are the are actually the article, the Roblin article, I believe, is I believe it was, he’s a high school teacher, perhaps but graders, yeah, but it’s K through 12. So a lot of the articles I’ve read in the past, mainly deal with K through 12 scenarios. And you and I are and and many of our listeners are teaching adults where the classes might be quite small, or quite large as well. So I just wanted to point that out, as well, as we’re going through these research articles, yes,

Brent Warner
considerations all to be to be kept in mind. So yeah, so one of the first research. One of the first articles I found that with research on it was from Jones are Goulet and gret. Lin from 2020. So kind of just as as pandemic was hitting, and it was called cell phone, use policies in the college classroom, do they work? And so what they did is they went and kind of looked at these ideas of like, hey, when when classes have policies on on cell phones, What effects do they actually have on the student? Now, I was reading this article, and there’s some parts where it’s like, wait a second, you say that you’re saying this, but then your results kind of say that. So there are a few different, you know, inconsistencies, I thought inside of this article, or I might have to read a little bit more closely. But there were a few interesting points. So I thought that this was worth considering. So the first one is that they said that restrictive and non restrictive policies end up with the same amount of usage. Ah, hmm. So like, if you have a policy in your class that says, hey, you’re you’re not allowed to use cell phones versus if you have a, you know, like an open policy just like, you know, do what you want to do. Students are basically likely to use their phones the same amount, right. And so, Ixchell, what does that say to you if you’re going those policies are the same?

Ixchell Reyes
Well, obviously, that they don’t work. The approach doesn’t work, and we’re not and we’re not looking to what the problem I’m really yes and how to curve it. If they’re working the same amount of time, then we’re not modifying behavior. And perhaps there’s something there about the information we’re giving to students, maybe there’s no perceived value, because I can tell you right now, I’ve, I, if, if, if I don’t perceive value in the information being shared, I’m gonna go to my phone, because then I’m not wasting my brain cells, trying to understand and comprehend something that I see zero value in. And also, if, if, if I’m just bored by the information, and then I’ll, I’ll go to whatever is, is going to distract me so and take energy away from listening to a speaker, that’s boring.

Brent Warner
I also thought one thing that struck me is like, well, then that could potentially be a creator of stress that for students that didn’t exist before, but they’re going to choose that regardless. So hey, I’m going to check my phone seven times in an hour, right? If I know it’s cool, then I’m just checking and whatever. And if I know that it’s not cool, I’m still checking. But now I’m a little stressed and guilty. I’m a little anxious about it, you know, those types of things. So is that necessary? And then like environmentally speaking, then you’re building a situation where students might feel anxious inside of the classroom, because they’re doing something that’s, you know, quote, unquote, against the rules, but that actually doesn’t, you know, doesn’t actually influence the behavior. So interesting thing?

Ixchell Reyes
I think, Brent, right. That’s, I think my approach, my approach to cell phone use in the classroom has always been that by abiding to something that bounds them or is an absolute, I’m just creating a hostile environment. Because this good students who might occasionally glance at their phone, they’re the ones that are going to feel really guilty. And as you’re saying, they’re gonna feel I would, I’d be like, Oh, I hope the teacher doesn’t think I’m not paying attention or being disrespectful. I’m just checking quickly, because I finished early, but now I feel guilty. That’s exactly it that there is a sense of being on eggshells. And I think if you’ve ever observed the classroom that has that kind of unspoken, you can sense it. Like, whatever you’re going to do, you’re breaking a rule or you’re doing something wrong. And I think that with cell phones, I think there’s a fine line there. Yeah,

Brent Warner
for sure, for sure. So a couple other things inside of here. Number one, quiz scores are roughly the same. So they did the research they kind of had the people doing and then they said, Okay, let’s quiz the people who had the restrictive policy, the ones that didn’t. And they showed that quiz scores are roughly the same. Now, of course, that would, you know, the considering the previous idea that like, hey, they’re still checking the same amount. This is not the same thing as saying, Hey, this is a strict no cell phone, things that like you have to turn in your phone before you walk in the class. And you have to take, you know, like, you can pick it up on your way out, because this is where students are still, the policy is there in place, but they’re still actually able to do what they want. But regardless, with this, it said, Hey, quiz scores are roughly the same. And then I thought this last one was a little interesting, too. So we’re talking about anxiety from before. They did say that anxiety levels don’t seem to correlate with usage. So I want to point that out. What that means is that they’re saying, if they’re anxious, they’re not more likely to pick up their phone and start using it. So they’re not using it because of anxiety reasons, right? I’m not saying Oh, yeah. So they’re using it because it’s kind of part of their everyday life. So it’s not like I’m nervous about it’s like, oh, this is part of my is a habit. You know, I mean, it’s how it just

Ixchell Reyes
started, it’s so engrained in our, in our life now, it’s not going away, it really isn’t going away.

Brent Warner
Yeah, so it’s, we kind of talked about this idea. It’s like I just every once a while, it makes me laugh to like, think of like, okay, like, what if we just decided there’s no more cell phones for real in the world, like obviously, everything would come to a grinding halt. So. Okay, so then there was this other article from Lancaster 2017. So again, pre pandemic and those types of things. It’s called student learning with permissive and restrictive cellphone policies, a classroom experiment. And so this one was kind of interesting, because they actually did some, a lot of the research was based on about this information that the studies out there have done are kind of self reported by students. Whereas this one was kind of like, let’s actually take a look at some of the actual information on what we’re finding out. And so they had a couple of outcomes and one was, student learning is not unnecessarily harmed by students use of cellular phones in class. And they spent a lot of time talking about that. But that’s really the end of the outcome, right? Which is like, hey, at the end of the day, the research is showing that their learning is not really harmed by having access to this, whether or not they’re doing, like active learning stuff with their phones. So hey, we’re doing the quiz, quizzes and like Kahoot, or whatever. Or if they’re doing things like checking social media or texting with their friends, they’re saying at the end of the day didn’t really have a big thing. Or sorry, a didn’t necessarily harm their their learning. And then the second one, and he showed, I thought You thought you had an interesting comment on this before? About the favourability of instructors, you want to share that idea?

Ixchell Reyes
Was this, that students who were in the restrictive environment tended to grade their instructors higher on course evaluations. And lower, you know, that students in the more permissive environment tended to rate their professors lower in teacher evaluations, which is, I suppose, if your job is tied to teacher evaluations, that’s like, I don’t know, I don’t I would

Brent Warner
probably prefer right. So you’re like,

Ixchell Reyes
Yeah, but Well, for me, it for me personally, I have never been rated. I’m pretty ever had both type of policies. And I have never noticed anything. I’ve never haven’t been rated. More critically, I mean, all of my, my ratings have been favorable. So I just think that depends on how that approaches, what a punitive approaches are, what a strict approaches, because there that that varies as well.

Brent Warner
Well, I think this is meant to be a collective thing. So like one teacher themselves would probably be rated higher or lower. But I think what they’re saying is that, collectively, if you’re looking at all of these things, the teachers with the more restrictive policy are getting higher risk ratings. Now, there can be so many different possible reasons for that, it’s really hard to dig into.

Ixchell Reyes
You got a fear? Yeah. Well, I don’t know. There’s also

Brent Warner
this idea that students know like, Hey, I am being distracted by this thing. And so like that policy, maybe is better for my learning. And if it’s better for my learning, then maybe the teacher knows that I that, like, we need this right? Possibly, right? That’s a, that’s a possible approach to it. And actually, I was telling you this to Ixchell, before in pre show, my son did a research program research project for his college course of business and marketing, and they were talking about distractions in the classroom. And I thought it was one of the things that was really interesting, this isn’t for online, they’re saying, like, what are you most distracted by? And the highest one for online was, they’re most distracted by phones. And then they said, you know, what are the reasons that you’re distracted? And it said, Well, the reason that we’re distracted is because teachers are boring, or the lesson is not engaged. Yeah, whatever it is, right? I concur. There’s also kind of a disconnect in there. Because it’s like, Are you bored? Because of like, because you’re being distracted by the more interesting phone? Or is it? You know, which one is the problem and which one is the result? Right? It’s kind of an interesting, again, another point where you’re looking at it, you’re going, okay, there’s so much for us to sort of out here and kind of write because

Ixchell Reyes
I think the ability to self regulate can also go hand in hand with intrinsic motivation versus extrinsic motivation. And if that student or that learner does not have enough intrinsic motivation, then they may not again, they may not see the value in dealing with the initial boredom, of getting into a specific topic that the teacher is explaining. And then realizing that, oh, there’s actually something valuable here, there’s something that applies to me. And that could also be on the end of the teacher, the teacher not explaining how that’s immediately applicable to daily life. So if you’re teaching math without teaching the student, that how that relates to life, then that student might then say, well, I’m not good at math. I’m bored with math, I’m going to, you know, do it all or look at my phone. And that just that’s another area I think of, of consideration.

Brent Warner
Yeah, yeah. So there’s, there are different parts to all of this. Again, we’re, you know,

Ixchell Reyes
this is yeah, this is why the conversation is relevant. Yeah, right. We’re not I don’t think I don’t think that in any of the articles that we read. There’s a definitive answer or a template for how to approach this but it’s more of a it’s a conversation that I think We’ll follow us along as long as we have mobile devices, or whatever the next iteration of that is.

Brent Warner
Yeah. And I think that’s kind of the important part is like, are we keeping ourselves up on that conversation? Or are we did we make a decision five years ago, and like, that’s just the one, we’re sticking with Ray forever. And so I hope that we can all kind of keep ourselves flexible and go, like, hey, in the past, I was doing this, but these types of situations change. And so now I’m trying this and, and I always want to make sure that like, people feel that they have the permission to test the different ways, right? And it’s like, oh, just be this or it shouldn’t only be that and like, and if you’re gonna go with a, hey, let’s try this semester, and a no cell phone policy. Cool. Can you at the same time, try that two different ways with two of your classes and see and like, actually measure the results? Right. In fact, I would suggest going back to the, the interview with Mark maki now, and talking about capturing and tracking that data for your own growth, right? Because how do you actually know if it’s all anecdotal, versus if you’re actually collecting information and seeing what the differences are? That can be a really powerful way for you to have make better choices rather than just like, I feel like, this is the good thing. Right. And with the research being, you know, unclear, you can kind of continue processing that as well. So, before we jump over to the discussion side, just kind of an open conversation side of this, Ixchell do you have any other research or anything that was standing in standing out to you that that you wanted to mention?

Ixchell Reyes
No, why don’t we just go ahead and jump into the conversation?

Brent Warner
Sounds good. Okay, so just briefly, we’re experimenting with different things, we, you know, we we did clubhouse for a while,

Ixchell Reyes
and tick tock, tick tock.

Brent Warner
But we are trying, you know, again, we’re always just playing with different things. And so right now, we applied to make a Twitter community. And I imagine that’ll get accepted and run. So I don’t think it’s been pushed through quite yet. But if you’re listening to this later, hopefully within a few days, the the the diesel diesel pod community, you might be in there. So if you’re interested in that, go take a look and, and join us there. And we might talk about doing spaces again, or something, some of those open conversations. Again, I want to get back into that it just kind of, you know, I think we all just kind of slipped in certain ways. And there, there are more things that we want to do with the show. But anyways, another thing for you to look at and check out and see if you’re interested. So check out Twitter for our Twitter community fingers crossed Twitter community that they’re going to

Ixchell Reyes
one day we’ll get verified?

Brent Warner
Yeah, we’ll get it… Wait, you think we’re gonna get verified? (laughter)

Ixchell Reyes
We have 67 episodes, why can’t we? Eventually,

Brent Warner
yeah, sure. It works.

Ixchell Reyes
All right. So discussion time. So this topic, again, like like I said earlier, we’re often coming up on this topic because I tend to notice a peep the instructors who are punitive in nature when it comes to this. And it always it takes me back to this article that I found on no Adam blog, it’s a blog article. It’s from 2016. Again, pre pandemic, the article is called encouraging grit, warm, demanding, authoritative, but not authoritarian. And and the article talks about having clear expectations and high expectations of students but not at the cost of, of adding anxiety due to punishment or or just a punitive environment. And so I often think about this because my nephews and nieces are growing in a world that will never know it, no cameras, no social media, no touch screens or wait time. They don’t know what wait time is. And a lot of it, you know, due to all the information that’s coming at us, so what will their classroom look like when they’re there? When How will their teachers approach that and I would not want my or any child for that matter, not just the ones related to me to have to sit in a classroom where they feel scared, or are have so much fear of punishment or getting into trouble and I do have a couple of nieces and nephews who are more on the sensitive side and they just don’t want to break rule And so I constantly think about what approach we take and how that affects the classroom. Yeah, I don’t know if I’m to comment.

Brent Warner
No, I just I think for sure, because we’re getting to, you know, like, we’ve had, we’ve mentioned this before, but like, there are so many people that feel like their phones or their devices are part of their identity, like, like, this holds everything that’s important to me, right, and so does taken away. It’s almost unexplainable to someone like to, to, to those of us who grew up without phones, or grew up without, you know those things early on, we almost can’t totally understand it in the same way that, you know, someone who’s now in their 20s,

Ixchell Reyes
one of the one of the things that I’ve noticed with the I’ve been testing the beta cell phone, beta, iOS, on the Apple device, and I noticed that your driver’s license is now accepted as a digital like official card on your phone in two states, I believe it’s two states. So you and I are used to the paper version, the little plastic card, or, or the insurance, car insurance for that matter, or any other credit card. But now, if you don’t have a need for that, and it’s all on your phone, if someone’s taking that away from you, it’s like taking away your wallet, what you and I would consider as your wallet. So there’s a lot of personal that’s information that you normally wouldn’t collect from someone. Right. And, and I think, Brian, one of the I get passionate about this topic, because I think that sometimes teachers me included, because I constantly have to do self checks. The fact that we’re using Google Docs or that we’re using that we’ve adapted to the cloud, or that we’re using Kahoot, or other apps to replace PowerPoint, or word which are like the old versions of a tool, that that doesn’t automatically mean that we have adopted to the way that behavior has changed. due to technology. We’re not we’re definitely not adapting fast enough. And we seem to be using this same lens to look through at the new world that these millennials are, are growing up and and that it’s just a different world, even though you and I people call us techies and Yeah, but there’s a new version of there’s a new like this millennial, they’re just used to just a different world.

Brent Warner
Yeah. Yeah, I think that’s right. And I think that’s an important thing. Because a lot of times, you know, we might pat ourselves on our back and go, we’re so tech forward, but like, you know, we understand a different aspect of technology than the current students do. And I think that’s, that’s always true, but like, whether it’s technology or ways of viewing the world, or whatever. And I think that that often gets, you know, maybe brushed over, I don’t I don’t know exactly how to describe it. But yes, like, we want to do our best to kind of keep pushing the envelope and really get things that are going to help students with their skills moving forward. But also our interpretation of what that’s what is best in that can be very different from what the state’s interpretation is. And so there are ways that as teachers, we might hold our students back for a long time, because we’re still holding on to our standards of the best practices from 20 years ago, or 30 years ago, or

Ixchell Reyes
even even five years ago, because of the pandemic. I think, Brent, it’s, I know, at the core of most of us, we want the best possible learning environment for our students and, you know, maximize those opportunities with the tools that they’re growing up with. But as you said, there may be times where we have to pause and really reflect on whether what approach we’re using is effective, or is it hindering or maybe not effective at all? Maybe it makes no difference, just like in the research.

Brent Warner
Yeah, for sure. So I want to bring up one of these discussion questions or points, and I’d like for you to respond to it. So this was back from the Jones our gwit and Grantland article. I’m just gonna read through this or read through part of it. And I want you to just kind of tell me what you think about it. So it said, If punitive cellphone policies like ours are no better than the absence of a cellphone policy, the question remains whether there are any types of cell phone policies that are effective, and then it goes on to give a possibility. So the possibility is to create a policy based on positive reinforcement rather than punishment. There was a quasi experiment implemented with a reward system for students who refrain from phone use during class. Students who handed in their phones at the beginning of class received one extra credit point towards their final grades, and they found that handing in their phones A showed better test scores, attendance and semester GPA. So again, this is ANDing it in right, not just the policy and how the room differences, but they said when those students did hand in their phones, they had a tendency to do better. And that says, further research should investigate the topic of reinforcement based cellphone policies. So, what do you think about that?

Ixchell Reyes
Um, so I have a lot, because if there’s points involved here, and are extra credit, I maybe have a hard time conceptualizing that for myself, but I have approached this. Similarly. So I was overseas in Qatar. And I was finding that my 18 through 1920 year old students were just having a hard time. Not just leaving the phone alone. So again, this is a fight that is a losing fight for me, and I know I’m not gonna spend, I don’t want to spend my energy with punitive remarks.

Brent Warner
Throwing a piece of chocolate.

Ixchell Reyes
So so then I found quickly, okay, they love playing. What’s that game? Oh, my gosh, it was a it was a Oh, my goodness, that was not what’s that popular game with the pinata fortnight for it? Was it fortnight? Well, anyway, fortnight and, and a couple of other games, and they were they just loved playing as a group, and they would all you know, during the break would play as a group. So one of the things I said is, uh huh, okay, I see no problem with that. Why don’t we if we, if you’re not on your phone at all, and we have a table on the side, just, you know, put your phone there. At the beginning of class, we can have five extra minutes early for you do have more time to play, that did the trick. The trick, they even said, Teacher join us play with us, I created an account. I think maybe I played once. But that did it. And again,

Brent Warner
the before class started, you just did a did a, a game or something with them.

Ixchell Reyes
No, they had to wait, because the game doesn’t come first that they had to delay that gratification, and really remind themselves that, oh, the reward is coming, the reward is coming. And it wasn’t a ticking away over your phone, I was not taking away I was actually adding. So because I was adding it wasn’t a punishment. It was something it was a reward. And so I think that’s maybe closely related to the concept here. I wasn’t using points. But I was using more they wanted more cell phone time, fine, have your cell phone time. But let’s let’s make time for it. Because during class, they probably be checking to see who who the next fighter up is. And if they already know that that’s coming up at the end of class, and then they could self regulate a little bit better. And that was no problem, no argument whatsoever. And it was resolved in a friendly manner where I think now they said oh, are our teachers school? That really wasn’t concept because I played with them. But when the students perceive that there’s when you have that trust, then they’re they’re more likely to do things that they’re not a fan of like, for example, there were times when I said alright, guys are going to have to go through this and we’re not going to get a break. But they were more likely to complete that task, because now we had developed that trust that that trusting bond. Yeah, yeah, for sure. So I wasn’t out to get them. I wasn’t out to catch them on their phone. And then, you know, shamed them and shamed them in front of their, their peers. So I think that that’s, that’s what what, yeah, I think

Brent Warner
it’s really, ultimately it’s the same thing, but it’s like just the approach to it, right? So it’s like, Hey, we’re, you know,

we’re,

you know, I’m holding this game back from you, or no, I’m gonna play it with you, like when we get this thing done. Right. And so, I do like that approach. And I think that there’s some interesting things for people to, you know, like, just again, shifting the mindset, again, like, Why does this have to be punitive? Why can’t it be, you know, a supportive thing that can help them out? And can can we shift our lens on that a little bit?

Ixchell Reyes
And I want to add to that, that this is not like a solution for every single instance, every single situation. And I think that that might be a pitfall when we’re looking for the answer to cure every single issue that we have with cell phones, I think that there’s got to be a quick assessment on the end of the teacher have like, Wait, where is this behavior coming from? And how can I quickly curb it in a way that maximizes learning time and doesn’t take away and now shifts the attention to like, punishment? And I think that that is just something that will happen every single time. I don’t think we can get away from that because if I were to apply what I applied in Qatar to another classroom, that may not work, that may not be the issue at all. So I think that that’s worth keeping in mind always when we’re assessing what that policy looks like for that particular class at that moment?

Brent Warner
Yeah, yeah.

So we definitely want to keep that in mind. Because it’s very easy for us to generalize and go, This is what I’ll do all the time. And that’s now I’ve got the answer. It’s like, why didn’t it work this time? It’s like,

Ixchell Reyes
absolutes are just not absolutes aren’t gonna get you anywhere?

Brent Warner
Yeah. So okay, so So now we’ve got kind of a, an opposite side of the conversation. So this is a little section of the post from Roblin, who stopped who stopped using the cell phones. And, you know, one of the things was, you know, one of the comments that I had made to you as like, Okay, well, you know, maybe if the class is really engaging, then you know, students aren’t going to want to be on their cell phones as much, right? And you would kind of responded to that. But I’m going to read out kind of, he actually even kind of talked about that in the article here. So let me just get this section. So he says, when people make comments, like, quote, we just need to make the curriculum more engaging, and then they won’t even want to be on their phones, right. And so he says, To those people, I say, my lessons can’t compete with the latest game that just came out. We work with students who increasingly crave immediate gratification. Putting the sole responsibility on teachers is unfair, we only have students for a limited amount of minutes each day. What about their time at home? Does more need does more need to be done to raise awareness for families about how phones and social media are impacting children? And should schools step up to back teachers on this issue? Sure. But that’s not our call to make, I can use my voice to raise awareness. But at the end of the day, what happens in my classroom is the only part that I can control. So what do you think about that idea of like, Hey, is beyond just the classroom? Right? There’s more to it?

Ixchell Reyes
I think. Yeah. So I mentioned in the pre show that this is something that, again, I think it’s going to be a lifelong? I don’t know, maybe for us, because we’re closer to death. But your birthday is coming up? Yeah. So no, so But what this means is that behavior shifts with the, along with the environment that is presented before us, right. So given that technology is increasing information, the speed of information is increasing. And so many things are changing at a speed that we didn’t have 10 years ago, even five years ago, right? That’s obviously going to also affect our behavior. And behavior is learned from the time we’re born into our families. Much of it is going to have to be shaped or supported by those around us throughout our, our growth process. And I think that just as we teach children, what is appropriate in the classroom, as they start kindergarten, where they get prepared to join kindergarten, they have to go to preschool. I think that one of the one of the other shifts that we’re gonna see as parents and maybe other places, other roles in the community also supporting, you know, what, what is appropriate behavior when it comes to cell phone usage? I don’t think, Yeah, I kind of agree that it shouldn’t be the sole responsibility of the instructor. But I also think that if it spread out over the learning years, preschool all the way through high school, then by the time they get hopefully by the time they get to sixth grade, you won’t have to talk about that. Yeah. And then in college, we just sort of know, and then you could just shoot a glance at someone and they just, you know,

Brent Warner
yeah, yeah, I mean, that’s ideal. I think a big, same thing, same type of Yeah, same conversation, again, which is like this is going to be depends on different situation. So one, I’m actually really interested. So a couple a couple episodes ago, we talked about the whiteboard rooms that I’ve built, and I’m going to be testing right the first time this semester. So when we have a more interactive class, when the whole class is designed to be more about interactive and working together, I’m wondering if the cell phone conversation will fade a bit or not, did not necessarily disappear. Totally. But like, there’s way more for you guys to be doing during this time. So it’s not so much a teacher led. And I think a lot of this conversation is still kind of like making the assumption that there’s like a lecture based class as compared to, you know, an interactive or cooperative based class. And so I think that part of it is going to be, you know, one aspect and then the other one, which I might have mentioned on the show once or twice, but this idea that I think in the future, we really will be looking at teachers as like, producers of content, so like YouTube, you know, like competing, right, this whole experience and where we have, where we have the teacher teaching and we have maybe a a classroom producer who’s putting this stuff online then making it, you know, kind of glitzy and glamorous and more entertaining at the same time. And so I think that there’s going to be that conversation where it’s like, Hey, I can’t compete with all this interesting stuff. And it’s like, well, can’t now but you’re going to learn how to because this is what, I think that this kind of a jute tainment type of thing, right like that, you know, like people get really, they feel that that’s cringy. I know. But at the same time, I really think like, Hey, why shouldn’t learning be fun and engaging and you know, make me feel happy. And looking forward to the next class the same way I look forward to, you know, the next episode of the TV show coming out or whatever it is, right?

Ixchell Reyes
So Brent, at the beginning, you asked me about how my new supervisor supervising role is going. And one of the things that I noticed is, whereas before in the classroom, I had very well I was teaching I have I have breaks, right breaks where I can check my phone breaks where I can get, you know, check my email, get back to people on my phone, like personal stuff. With this new role, I’m engaged all day long. The day goes by so fast, I don’t have time to check my phone. And I don’t miss it. Pretty soon, like at lunchtime, I realized, oh, my gosh, it’s already lunch. Oh, let me check quickly, what’s what’s on my phone. And I’ll see that my nieces sent me a bunch of memes. And I will have time to respond hello from lunch. But the day went by so quickly, and I wasn’t bored. I was maybe at some points frustrated with problem solving. But I was engaged. And so again, if the classroom activities or whatever classroom experience, or maybe even the chunks of time and how they’re divided up for whatever it is you’re teaching, if that is creating students who are hands on engaged talking to others, then there won’t be time to to be bored, and go look and check your phone. Or you will do it quickly on your way to the restroom, and then come back and know that you’ve got to get back to work, but not because of a fear of getting caught and being punished. But because you want to do all of that. Yeah.

Brent Warner
And I think that building that engaging classroom is a an intentional skill and practice that takes time. Right? So it’s like, yeah, I’m not going to be able to get an entire semester of perfectly awesome classes every single time. But I can start figuring out, okay, these things are what work and this is how like thing, this is what’s influencing students to move in this direction to, to put down the phone and actually start like listening. So pay attention to when what are the times in your class when the students are putting the phones down on the desk, right? And their heads are coming up? And they’re looking and actually like, you know, what are those moments of engagement and really pay attention to that and then start like, those moments more often. Right? If

Ixchell Reyes
you’ve got a smaller class, then you’re able to do so much more because you’re you have more freedom to see what students are doing on their phones where if you have a class with 30 students, it might be a little bit harder, but then you can structure partner work or no accountability groups, etc. There are ways I don’t think it’s foolproof and I think it’s going to be something that we’re constantly having to test out. Improve, adjust, you know, constantly constantly reshaping I don’t think there’s going to be the one size fits all Yeah, when it comes to this.

Brent Warner
Okay, well even with that though, let’s let’s wrap up with answering the question I will do a 321 and we’ll both answer at the same time. Should we stop allowing cell phones in the classroom? So yes or no? Are you ready? I’m ready 3.. 2.. 1…

Ixchell Reyes
No!

Brent Warner
Maybe

I can’t believe you went with no! I can’t

Ixchell Reyes
Should we stop allowing them? to be stopped allowing them stop allowing them no,

Brent Warner
Maybe I don’t know. I don’t know if I think that answer is gonna shift them based on the needs of the class right you know why?

Ixchell Reyes
Because everything’s gonna be on my watch and I no longer have to check my phone I can just glance at my watch and are we gonna just ban watches yes I know there’s a way to go if your mobile device No, I’m still a no I’m a hard No, I’m a solid No, I’m changed your approach to that change your approach? That’s it? Nope. So you’re toward banning?

Brent Warner
When you put it that way, geez. You’re “toward banning”

Ixchell Reyes
We can’t be friends now, Brent. We just can’t be No, I’m not toward banning – I’m not

Brent Warner
You said that I’m toward banning like, he’d be I we need to be a little bit more like options open to what what needs actuation So, whereas you’re a hard liner, how dare you? You’re what we call in the world an extremist.

Ixchell Reyes
Radical so radical nature act of teaching.

Brent Warner
Alright, so everybody out there, what do you think we’d be interested to hear your thoughts as well share with us on the show and the show notes. But let’s jump over to fun finds.

Ixchell Reyes
All right, so it is time for our fun finds. And I have a book that I believe everyone in teaching should read, if you’re working with groups is called shifting the monkey the art of protecting good people from wires criers and other slackers. This is by Todd Whitaker. And it talks a lot about management of in this case, he’s talking about company workers, and then you know, the statistical number of workers who are going to be slackers, or complainers or do less than what they have what they’re supposed to do, thereby shifting the responsibility upon the good workers are the ones that are reliable, but it teaches strategies on how to maximize the work and not punish the, the good people. I think this would be great, even with family relationships, and friendships. So it’s a very easy read. It’s got a little bit of humor there. It’s, it’s just a good, good tool to have in your toolkit. Yeah, and

Brent Warner
when you first mentioned that, I thought it was like a manager’s book or something. But Todd Whitaker is totally in education.

Ixchell Reyes
Like yeah, and again, yeah, he’s written. He’s got all these books. And so I’m gonna be adding more after this one. But I just I was so excited when I started reading it I just a new perspective on how to help again, it’s managing and managing responsibilities are the people who who shy away from their responsibilities and find excuses, but that’s everywhere. So the strategies he offers are applicable in many areas. Cool. What do you have? You have so

Brent Warner
Mine is a little unusual this time.

Ixchell Reyes
Is it an SPF lotion that you came upon during your pool day boys?

Brent Warner
Neutrogena lotion, that’s fine. This is, so I wanted to do a summer hobby and kind of pick up some skill. And I didn’t really get to it, but I’m doing it at the very end of the summer. And it’s kind of starting. So I I’m just interested in shorthand. I think it’s, you know, a kind of a cool way to be able to take notes and to be able to write things down more efficiently. And so, in the past, schools used to teach shorthand, but it doesn’t it didn’t exist, basically, kind of right around starting with my generation. They stopped and removed using it because shorthand Doshi, yeah. So I wanted to learn I’m like, I want to learn shorthand. And so I picked up the seminal manual on it, which is called the Gregg shorthand, manual Gru GG, and doing a little bit of research on it. The second edition is supposed to be the best one, I guess they went into like an other like premium editions that kind of mess things up and made it not quite as good, but, but it’s really cool. Because it’s like, you know, learning shorthand is like you can do a squiggle for it’s not just a letter, right? It’s like based on sounds and then like, and then they combine so if it’s like, the sound goes before the vowel, then you might put it up on top of it. And then you can drop down into the squiggle circle for the a sound, and then and then the D anyways, it’s, it’s, I can’t possibly explain it well, in a minute or two here. But but the idea then once you start getting into it is like, these long words that might take you a while to write out or even type out, you can just kind of do in this little squiggle with a really quick shorthand. And so I just want to learn this, I think it’s an interesting way to be able to take notes. And it doesn’t matter ultimately, if it’s on paper, if it’s digital, right, once you start learning how to do it, you’re just about like, taking these quicker handwritten notes. And so

Ixchell Reyes
so my mom called this and I don’t know if this is even a word in English. I’m just translating based on what I think it would be. It’s in Spanish, it’s that you get a fear, which is to kick grip to kick her feet. Is that a word? Like cheek or feet

Brent Warner
graphic writing or something like that? I’m not sure.

Ixchell Reyes
They’re like little squiggles. And I’ve seen it. Yep. Oh, it is a word. I just googled it to kick our feet. demography or shorthand, especially that of ancient or medieval medieval scribes. Yeah, yeah. Interesting shorthand.

Brent Warner
And it’s pretty cool. I started reading it just a little bit this morning and not last night. And I’m like, Oh, this like I can actually already start reading some of these signs. ensemble bid so it’s cool. Anyways if anyone is interested. It’s called the Graig with two G’s shorthand myth manual

Ixchell Reyes
All right, you could win a one of a kind diesel pen by leaving us a review on Apple podcasts which we think before we can get a review to save our lives it’s okay if you’re listening that’s good enough but if you’re giving us a shout out any other way tag us on social media we are on all the platforms

Brent Warner
We’re also on Patreon

Ixchell Reyes
Are we updated?

Brent Warner
We’ll be updated for sure but I am

Ixchell Reyes
I’m shifting the monkey

Brent Warner
Yeah, the techniques. ask the questions ask the hard questions. But anyways, yeah we do have a patreon we do buy me a coffee and you know it’s a might not be totally updated with all this secret stuff that’s supposed to be in there but if you want to support the show, it’s a way to support the Show. For show notes and other episodes you can check out diesel.org/six Seven and of course you can listen to us voice I’d Canada that’s vo ice d.ca and we are on Twitter the show is at diesel pod and again we said we’re trying to get that community going on there too. And so check in and see if that’s available and I am at @BrentGWarner

Ixchell Reyes
and I’m Ixchell at @Ixy_Pixy, that’s i x y underscore p i x y

Brent Warner
and in Latin thank you is Gratias Vobis Argo so

Gratias Vobis Argo for tuning in to the DIESOL podcast.

Ixchell Reyes
Later

Brent Warner
Sound effects are going all over the place!

Ixchell Reyes
I couldn’t hear any of that.

Do restrictive cell phone policies work? What effect do students’ perceptions of instructors with strict policies have on student teacher ratings? How has the pandemic changed expected appropriate behavior for students who have been using mobile devices for emergency distance learning? Will Gen Z instructors have a different approach to cell phone policies in the classroom? Brent and Ixchell discuss these questions and look at what pre-pandemic and current research articles say about it.

RESOURCES

Fun Finds 

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