Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Heather du Plessis-Allan: Let's ignore the naysayers as the cellphone ban kicks in

As you know, today is the official first day of the ban on cell phones in schools.

For most parents and teachers and kids it's actually not a particularly special milestone, given that most schools started bringing in these bans at the start of the year. But today is the first day that it's actually in force.

And you know what? 

The thing that I found most surprising about this is how overwhelmingly popular it is. One high school's principal even says they wished they'd done it five years ago, because the kids are interacting more in the playground.

Waitara High's principal says the academic outcomes are improving, because they did it already at the start of last year. He says the change is the most important thing he has done in at least 20 years of teaching.

Stratford High School's principal says the kids are talking more. He describes it as an 'overwhelming success'.

Now, what makes this even better is that it has cost us nothing. We don't have to spend any money buying things or hiring people, we just changed a rule. How good is that? There's an outcome for absolutely no cost.

I'm going to take a lesson from this- it's to ignore the naysayers. Because if you cast your mind back, you'll remember there were heaps of critics who were poo-pooing this idea when it was first mooted before the election.

Even principals were saying - you can't ban the phones, kids need the phones for some projects in school, it's going to be a logistical nightmare, who's going to stand at the front gate collecting all the phones, etc.

Even the Ministry of Education said there was only marginal evidence it would improve student achievement.

Have a look at it now - now everybody loves it.

Of course they were going to love it, it was always a smart idea. Because it's common sense, isn't it? Because phones are distracting.

The fundamentals of this idea work, right? Phones are distracting, we all know this because we've all got one. And if they're distracting to adults, who have some degree of self-discipline, they're going to be much more distracting to kids.

And distraction is bad for grades and it's bad for behaviour, so if we follow it through - obviously it's common sense to take the phones out of schools.

There are too many naysayers on every suggestion nowadays, so the lesson I'm taking is - in the future, ignore them.

Heather du Plessis-Allan is a journalist and commentator who hosts Newstalk ZB's Drive show HERE - where this article was sourced.

1 comment:

DeeM said...

Be very careful what you wish for, Heather.
There were plenty of naysayers during Labour's term in office, not least in the government submission process, and look what happened when they were ignored...and cancelled.

When you start ignoring opinion because you think you know best you end up like the far-Left.
You should consider all the evidence, for and against, and make a considered decision based on that.