It is like these two things give teachers a heart attack.
Almost every teacher today hates two things in the classroom: cell phones and gum. They do everything in their power to make sure that there two things do not appear in class, as if they are the plague. Many teachers go out of their ways and waste class time checking for cell phones and gum; it is ridiculous. Some students are disruptive with these two things, but the fact is that the majority of students are not. Good students are courteous and want to learn, so they do not let their phone or gum distract them or others. Teachers make a bigger deal out of them than most students. Gum chewing is not much of an issue, but the chances are that if a good student needs to use his or her cell phone then either: a) it is important or b) the lecture is extremely boring and the teacher needs to re-adjust to gain interest. Good students will pay attention so that they can do well on tests; they are responsible and want to learn. If anything, the choice of using or not using a phone helps teens build discipline and restraint for the future.
In this day and age, technology is a part of our daily lives. Smart Boards are starting to appear in more and more classrooms. About 90% of the rooms in my high school have smart boards and all of the equipment that goes with them. The Smart Board is one of the greatest inventions and it makes learning soooo much easier. Technology is sprouting up in other places all around campuses. Cell phones are one of the better devices for students. Do you know what the newest cell phones can do? The smart phones of today are basically hand held computers that can surf the internet, pay bills, check traffic, measure distance, find research, and much much more. Many are better and more useful than the desktop computers that high school campuses use. And what is the typical high school response? - Ban cell phones.
Cell phones can improve the learning environment. There have been countless times when, during class, a student or the teacher was trying to remember an important yet minuscule fact without success. The computer was already full of other lecture related windows, so opening another one would have caused chaos on the Smart Board. We sat there for a few minutes trying to remember, wasting class time in the process. Had a student been able to take out a smart phone and quickly check the internet, the fact would have been found, and the lecture could have continued. But being caught with a phone is a certain detention. Hand held internet can have amazing results on high school education, but teachers and districts resist. Why? - because they fear that it will get out of control. With good students, this will not happen. Respectful students would step out of the classroom during a lesson if they needed to talk with someone, knowing that they were missing valuable class time. Self Discipline is the key. Cell phones would allow students to develop this skill, something that simple books and teachers cannot foster.
Then comes gum. The only complaint I ever hear about gum is that there are some students who leave it under their desks or on the floor so that others can step on it. Teachers and schools just don't like gum for some reason. Enter research from the last decade that says gum chewing improves student performance, but schools still do not care. One study from the Bayor College of Medicine divided students into two groups; one that chewed gum and the other that did not. After 14 weeks, the study observed that the students who chewed gum during class and homework situations had significantly higher test scores and grades than those who did not chew. Coincidence? I think not. There have been other studies from other reputable universities that prove this same thing. Gum chewing actually helps students perform better. Some other advantages are that gum chewing occupies the mouth, provides some degree of exercise, and is known to relieve stress. There really is no reason why schools are so strict about gum.
Cell phones and gum are unavoidable. They are a part of the culture that we live in today and they actually have the potential to make learning easier and swifter. Schools need to allow students to use cell phones so that they can learn self discipline. One day a student will not pay attention to a review, fail a test, and learn the lesson that he should have paid attention. It will happen to everyone and they will learn not to use their phones unless absolutely necessary. Gum is a different story. It improves student performance, so schools should allow it just so that the students can perform as well as possible. The issue is getting teens to throw the gum out, which self discipline will also resolve. In short, schools need to be less strict about cell phones and gum, because these two things allow high school to provide a more rounded education. Who would have thought?