Majority of teachers want national ban on phones in class: survey
The majority of members of teaching union AOb are in favour of a government imposed ban on mobile phones in class, a survey among some 8,400 teachers has shown.
While just 54% and 57% of primary and trade school teachers back a ban, 73% of secondary school teachers said they wanted the phones to go.
‘It’s a crystal clear result,’ AOb official for secondary education Jelmer Evers said. ‘Our members are saying that mobile phones are having a detrimental effect on pupils’ ability to concentrate. And that, in turn, affects the effectiveness of the teaching.’
Of the teachers voting against the ban, some 21%, said they preferred schools to make their own arrangements about phones in class, while 6% said they wanted to decide the matter for themselves.
A national ban would have to leave room for teacher discretion, Evers said. ‘The implementation of a ban would have to be up to the school, for instance banning them throughout the school, or allowing pupils to bring them but to put them in a locker. We are in favour of schools deciding what works best for them. But one thing is clear: most teachers don’t want them in their classrooms.’
An survey among 50 school heads by broadcaster NOS earlier this year showed the opposite result, with over half saying ‘they would be the judge’ after schools minister Dennis Wiersma said he wanted to discuss a ban. Some schools already have a ban in place.
‘Of course it’s not difficult to ban phones in schools,’ English teacher Gert Verbruggen from the Alfrink College in Deurne, told the NRC.
‘The motto here is “leave it at home or in the locker” and it has been for the last four years. The phone stays there all day, including during breaks. Our pupils are actually talking to each other,’ he said.
Last November CDA parliamentarians suggested bringing in a ban to improve pupils’ school results and boost social interaction.
The party cited research by the DUO education bureau which found that smartphones in the classroom lead to lower grades and affect language and reading skills.
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