How difficult is it nowadays to engage students in a deep discussion? Or if you’re a parent, how difficult is it to engage the whole family in a talk?
There has been much debate about the role cell phones and other digital media has played in making face-to-face in-school discussions more difficult in the last few years. A teacher and former colleague recently told me that students even use their phones to order food to be delivered to the classroom. When I asked why she put up with it, she said she couldn’t do anything about it. It was too engrained in the school (and national) culture. She said parents added to the problem by wanting 24/7 access to their children.
I was as frightened by this situation as my former colleagues were. How can anyone learn well, and engage with others in meaningful discussions, when their attention is tuned to the expectation of a text?
In our world today, we are all bombarded with messages to keep up with the latest technology. The ping of the cell phone is an affirmation that we are valued and important. So, especially for young people who grow up with digital media, being disconnected means being less valuable. They fear what they might miss (FOMO), even to the extent of keeping their phones with them at night, which can interfere with sleep and contribute to anxiety, depression and possibly narcissism.This serves the interest of big corporations whose primary interest is in turning children into malleable consumers; it does not serve the interests of educators and parents interested in their children becoming clear thinking adults.
Self-Reflective Questions For Teachers
Adults can be as addicted to their devices as children. Ask yourself:
How much time do you spend on your phone, computer, and social media?
Who do you prioritize: the person standing before you, or the one on the phone?
To read the whole post, click on this link to mindful teachers.org.