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Improving Student Performance by Eliminating Texting and Cell Phones

by Ron Kurtus

Many teachers have had to fight the trend of students continually sending text messages to others in and outside the classroom during class. Some students take calls on their cell phones during class or talk on their phones while walking in between classes.

Instead of requiring teachers to constantly try to maintain order, some schools have banned cell or mobile phones during school hours. The result of such a ruling has been less problems, better discipline and even a more positive school culture.

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Problems with cell phones

In many schools—especially in more affluent areas where most students have their own cell or mobile phone—the use of the phone during class hours has become a major problem.

Texting during class

Some teachers report that they are constantly trying to stops students from sending text messages during class, especially since it is sometimes difficult to spot or detect. This is a problem among high school and college students and even among middle school students.

A student who is communicating with someone else through text messages is not paying attention and might as well not even be in the class. Although the student's grades will probably suffer and is only hurting him- or herself, the poor grades also can reflect on the instructor's ability to teach.

Another problem is some students will be sexting or sending sex text messages, which are completely inappropriate.

Getting calls in class

Teachers report that often a cell phone will ring during class, disrupting the lesson. What is worse is when the student answers the phone during class. Some will actually leave the classroom to complete their call.

Getting calls during class is not only disruptive, but it is also disrespectful to the teacher and the whole educational process.

Other cell phone problems

Other problems concerning cell phones in school concerns thefts of phones and fights as a result of insulting text messages.


Some school principals have eliminated this problem by preventing the use of cell phones—and in fact, any electronic devices such as iPods and headsets—during school. If a student's cell phone or electronics device is seen during school hours—even during lunch and break periods—it is confiscated and will only be returned when the parent comes to pick it up at the school.

Obviously, many students and some parents do not like such discipline, but it has been effective in schools that have implemented those rules. Going half way often is not enough to stop the problem.


The results of banning cell phones and other electronic devices in school have been dramatic in those schools which have implemented the rules.

Obviously, the teachers have been able to teach their classes better, without as many disruptions and the need to discipline students. Those students who got caught up in the texting fad or who would be listening to music on their iPod or similar devices not actually were learning something during class.

The removal of cell phone use during break times seemed to change the educational climate and culture of the schools. Teachers reported that student now would be seen in groups talking and some would actually be sitting and reading in common areas. This is as opposed to students communicating to others via their cell phones or text messages at that time.

Some schools reported a dramatic drop is behavioral referrals and the need to discipline disruptive students.


Many teachers must battle the use of texting, cell phones and electronic devices during class. Instead of requiring teachers to constantly try to maintain order, some schools have banned the use of electronic devices during school hours. The result of such a ruling has reduced problems and improved the educational culture in school.

Learn to help students learn

Resources and references

Ron Kurtus' Credentials


Court Upholds School Cellphone Ban - New York Times newspaper 22 Apr 2008

Parents Ask for School Cell Phone Ban To Be Lifted - New York Sun newspaper 7 Feb 2008

Wisconsin school violence leads to cell phone ban - MSNBC 27 Jan 2007

School Cell Phone Ban Causes Uproar - CBS News 12 May 2006

Schools Make Rules for Cell Phone No-Nos - FOX News 23 Sep 2004

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