Students and faculty clash over classroom cell phone use

Written by: Laura Pollack

Written by: Laura Pollack

In a survey of 50 Mercer students, 90 percent said they regularly use their cell phones during their classes. What are they using them for? Seventy-five percent of the students surveyed said they use their phones in class to send text messages, 17 percent to send text messages and go on social networking websites such as Facebook, while six percent of students are using the phones in class to play games or make purchases.

Jon Adams, a first year Communications major, said he feels that how a student spends his or her class time is up to each individual.

“This isn’t high school anymore. We are paying to take these classes. We’re at the point where we’re old enough where if we fail it’s our own fault,” said Adams. He added, “If we don’t do what we’re supposed to do than that’s on us. If these professors are going to expect us to handle the responsibilities of their classes like adults, they need to let us make our own decisions, and deal with the possible consequences, like adults would.”

Professors and administrators see things differently. Dean of Liberal Arts Robin Schore feels that texting while a teacher is giving a lecture is “beyond disrespectful.”

He went on to say, “Anybody who is caught texting in class, the instructor should be allowed to take their phone and hit it with a large sledgehammer.”

Beyond being disrespectful, many professors feel that the use of cell phones during class actually disrupts the work taking place. One English professor who spoke on the condition of anonymity said, “Seeing a student text during class distracts me while I’m teaching and distracts others who are actually there to learn something. Telling people to put their phones away wastes my time. If their brains are elsewhere, why don’t they take their bodies and get out of my classroom so I can get on with educating people who give a damn?”

Christine Delozier, a second year criminal justice major, believes that texting in class is acceptable under certain circumstances.

“I usually just use [my phone] to check the time, and then check it if we’re not doing anything important, or if we’re taking notes and I finished writing the notes down already,” said Delozier. “I think it’s sometimes disrespectful. If you’re sitting there clearly not paying attention to what the teacher is saying, and they tell you not to text, then it’s disrespectful.”

The biggest problem with texting is class appears to not be students disrespecting the teachers, but how there is no set social standard for text messaging.

Communications Professor Tracey McCarthy believes that the confusion over proper cell phone etiquette extends outside of the classroom.

“I think it’s like a bigger societal problem,” said McCarthy. “The technology moves faster than the etiquette around it. It moves so fast weren’t not teaching people what is the appropriate way to talk on the phone. Should we text constantly? What’s the appropriate way to behave? We’re losing that overall.”

Professor McCarthy feels that students cannot be tuned into their phones and other activities at the same time.

“There’s this idea that we can do a lot of things at once. There’s this idea that we can multitask and that we’re good at everything. And every young college student I’ve ever met says I’m able to do all these things and nothing suffers,” she said. “But the truth is there are studies that say everything suffers. What I try to tell students on the first day of class it that you’re really not achieving all of your goals.”

Many multitasking students disagree with Professor McCartey. Both Delozier and Adams feel that they perform their activities better, or just as well, when they are multitasking than if they were to do one activity at a time.

“I feel that when professors see a kid texting, they assume that the student isn’t paying attention, which isn’t always the case,” said Adams. “There are students, myself included, who can absorb what the professor is saying, and send a message at the same time. The fact that professors say ‘you can’t focus on what I’m saying and texting’ is generalization, because while that applies to some students, it doesn’t apply to all of them.”

Despite these claims from students, Professor McCartey still tries to get her students to only focus on the task at hand.

“I want people to learn how to focus on one thing at a time because that’s how they’ll get a better education,” she said.

Dean Schore also feels that texting in class it has more to do with the act of texting than the student not wanting to pay attention.

“People would rather be somewhere else than where they are,” he said. “I suspect the person they are texting, if they were next to them they’d be on their phone texting someone else. It doesn’t have to do with the class or setting. It has to do with the digital medium.”

Print Friendly
Share this:
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Tumbler Email

Tags: , , , , ,

Laura Pollack
advert

Comments are closed.

Paul McCartney plays Prudential Center in Newark: An intimate night with 18,000 fans

Paul McCartney, one fourth of the legendary rock band The Beatles, filled the 18,000 seat, Prudential Center in Newark, New […]

Who’s next? Dr. David Edwards leaves, paving the way for 5th Mercer VP in five years

Mercer’s Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. David Edwards, will be leaving his position to assume the same role at […]

Where do we stand on taking a knee?

In the past few weeks the country has been discussing professional athletes kneeling during the National Anthem, an act originally […]

EDITORIAL: Why are we so burnt out? Hint: It’s not because we are lazy, millennial snowflakes

In the last month three of The VOICE’s five editors quit, and it wasn’t because they wanted more time to […]

55 locals shave their locks to support St. Baldricks cancer research

St. Baldrick’s Foundation hosted a their fifth annual head shaving and auction event to support funding for childhood cancer research […]

Donut miss this local artisan doughnut shop just minutes from campus!

Donuts Time Cafe is seven minutes from Mercer’s West Windsor campus–on Rt. 33 in Hamilton–and it is the perfect destination […]

Music professors teach body awareness tools to help prevent injury

Music professors teach body awareness tools to help prevent injury Joshua Wilson, a Piano Instructor at Mercer County Community College […]

Jersey’s Italian American heritage celebrated at annual festival

The annual Mercer County Italian American Festival ran from Sept. 22-24 and featured entertainment, food, games and amusement rides. The […]

DAY OUT: Grounds for Sculpture

Ten minutes down Edinburg Road is a park called Grounds For Sculpture. There are 42 acres filled with sculptures of […]

Where to go for bagels? We have the answer.

Our of all the bagel places in Mercer County there’s one place that stands: Caesars Bagels & Deli on Flock […]

Jammin’ Crêpes: A culinary classic reinvented with farm to table flare

Until recently, if you had asked me what a crêpe was, my honest answer would have been a flat pancake […]

President Trump’s DACA stance leaves Mercer community shaken and students fearful

Bumba Bat is a recent Rutgers graduate who lives in Ewing Township. His family brought him to the United States […]

This site is protected by Comment SPAM Wiper.
Social links powered by Ecreative Internet Marketing