Sci-tech

Ontario Government Set to Ban All Cellphones from Classrooms This Fall

Ontario Government Set to Ban All Cellphones from Classrooms This Fall

Earlier that day, Ontario Education Minister Lisa Thompson confirmed the province is planning to ban cellphones in elementary and secondary school classrooms in September.

"Last fall, we launched the largest-ever consultation on education in the history of Ontario", explained Thompson. There would be some exceptions to the rule, however, including when teachers want to use phones as part of their lesson, if there is a medical issue and students with special needs. Many of those policies allow teachers to set the terms of when and how cellphones can be used in class.

NDP MPP Ian Arthur said his party supports the idea in general but teachers and school boards now have the power to ban cellphones.

The Peel District School Board policy states that students "will use devices responsibly" only after getting permission and direction from teachers.

The two biggest school boards in the region, the Greater Essex County District School Board and the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board, each allow cell phones in classrooms. "But in another class there may be no reason you should have a cellphone out, in that case students may be told to put it away for now, that they don't need them", TDSB spokesperson Ryan Bird said on Tuesday.

McRae agrees with Alberta's education minister that schools and teachers should be given the opportunity to figure out a balance on their own.

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"What I think is problematic is when people use their phones to text their friends either within the classroom or outside the classroom - and would not be condoned for use for the teacher".

A 2015 London School of Economics and Political Science paper found that "student performance in high stakes exams significantly increases" with a ban on mobile phones. According to Central Middle School Principal Christopher Macintosh, the decision to ban cellphones was because it was impeding student learning, reports Global News.

Ontario has chose to ban cellphones in classrooms, but Alberta is not ready to make that call.

Across the Pond, France has banned phones in classrooms since 2010.

While some students are skeptical about the ban, others are less concerned.