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All eyes on the teacher

You can still bring the teacher an apple – just not one spelled with a capital A.

An entire generation of young people raised in the digital age are about to learn to live without one of their most trusted pieces of technology.

Across the Lakeland and the province starting in September, cell phones will be restricted from classrooms. The idea is that without the hand-held talk, text and TikTok machines, students will learn better, be less distracted and be more engaged.


But what about teachers?

In a career that employs many young professionals, how is that generation going to adapt? 

In recent weeks, the conversations have been about the students and how they will have to make changes, how the negative effects of the digital distractions have affected their learning – but in many local classrooms, the person at the front of the room is also a product of the technology age. The cell phone change is not only going to affect how students learn, but also how they are taught.  Teachers will now have to make sure they can engage their students in first-person contact. And that might be a challenge for some because they too have been brought up within arms' length of a screen, seeing the world at the touch of a button.

Already, there are concerns that some students find themselves in classes watching movie versions of novels, spending learning hours watching cartoons while teachers catch up on a growing mountain of assignments or receive assignments through virtual methods with little human interaction, how will that change with restricted access to a device that many in society say they can't live without?

As students must adapt to these changes – and for many who spend countless hours on a tether to their devices, those changes will be life-altering – teachers must also be monitored to evaluate how they respond to the new changes.

Teaching these forming young minds is no easy task. It has been a challenge through chalk and chalkboards, overhead projectors and SmartBoards. Now, as technology is taken away, teachers are going to have to rely on the essence of their training. They are going to have to embrace the base reasons why they chose this rewarding profession. And without the cell phone distractions there are going to be a lot more eyes on them as they do that.

Classroom instruction without the distractions of cell phones is going to change the playing field and draw attention back to where it is intended – the teacher and how they teach. 



Rob McKinley

About the Author: Rob McKinley

Rob has been in the media, marketing and promotion business for 30 years, working in the public sector, as well as media outlets in major metropolitan markets, smaller rural communities and Indigenous-focused settings.
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