Mobile is banned at school, but not gone yet

The French total ban on mobile phones in schools is, in theory, a fine regulation. After all, everyone knows where it is. In France, mobile phones are not only banned in class, but also not allowed to take out bags during breaks. The French rule is motivated by several considerations: the use of the mobile phone would have an effect on the concentration of the pupils and, moreover, would be at the origin “of a significant part” of the irregularities in the schools. Moreover, it is not good for social traffic in schools, which is precisely essential for the development of students.

However, with a strict law, the problem is not yet solved; the practice is undisciplined. According to Ken Corten, an English teacher at an agricultural school in western France, students are increasingly critical of the ban. “I now force them to leave the laptop in a basket near the door at the start of the lesson. However, many language teachers allow students to use their phone as a dictionary. So I don’t do that, it doesn’t make things any clearer for the students. So I went back to school with dictionaries.”

Law enforcement is not easy in practice. Students are so addicted to constantly checking certain social media apps that they are also likely to check their mobile in class. They know that many teachers feel little interest in confronting a student when they are caught.

Clément, 15, agrees that soup is not always eaten so hot when served. He is in the second year of an agricultural school in Belleville. “This morning I was caught by my English teacher. I had to hand over my cell phone immediately. I tried to trick him into telling him I was looking at my watch, but he insisted. I just put it back. After class, I picked it up. It was lucky, because in fact he should have taken the phone to the concierge. Only my parents can get it back. But as I’m sleeping in the school boarding house, that would mean I would lose my phone for a few days.”

Teachers are also finding that the gray area is getting bigger and bigger as some teaching methods also use the mobile phone as a teaching tool. Students are then invited, for example, to view a certain video via a QR code. In principle, such a mission can only be carried out at home. But that doesn’t happen. “In all subjects, the teachers allow us to use the mobile to carry out certain research”, explains Gatien (15 years old).

However, it’s not all doom and gloom with the app. With Manon Muller, an English teacher at a high school in a village near Nancy, students know they shouldn’t try to keep their cell phones with them. To make things a little easier, she also placed a basket at the bedroom door.

Manon: “Students can’t hold back, it’s a reality. I won’t bother anymore when there are two in my class watching on their cell phones. The point is, if you take action and ask them to hand over their cell phone, then you have the law behind you.”

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Mobile is banned at school, but not gone yet

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