Eli Ridder | Report

Cellphones will be banned in Ontario high and elementary classrooms during instructional time, starting in September, Education Minister Lisa Thompson said in a statement on Tuesday — adding a formal announcement is incoming.

“Ontario’s students need to be able to focus on their learning – not their cellphones,” she wrote, explaining that “by banning cellphone use that distracts from learning, we are helping students to focus on acquiring the foundational skills they need like reading, writing and math.”

Some schools already have bans, but the province will issue a directive to all public schools for the upcoming school year, government sources told The Canadian Press.

How the ban policy is to be carried out will be up to individual boards and schools. This will not affect private classrooms outside the taxpayer-funded institutions.

There appears to be evidence on both sides: against phones for the distractions they make during school hours and the potential they have to empower students in learning.

The Toronto District School Board had a bam in the past but got rid of it after four years so teachers could have freedom to determine the rules of their classrooms.

However, some research has determined that taking phones out of the education environment frees up students to perform at a higher level, according to a London School of Economics and Political Science paper.

The paper found students that were often low-achievers do better academically with a ban in place, concluding that “restricting mobile phone use can be a low-cost policy to reduce educational inequalities”.

In July 2018, France passed a law banning phones in classrooms nationally in a vote that was 62 ballots to one, according to CNN.

How did this happen?

During consultations across the province last year that brought about the cancellation of the most recent sex education curriculum, the Ontario PC Party government also got feedback on phones and education.

Around 97 per cent of those that participated wanted some restrictions in the classroom around mobile phones.

Image of cellphone from Pexels files.

Written by Eli Ridder

Eli Ridder is a freelance journalist. He founded The Avro Post in October 2017. He writes for Breaking911 and Guelph Politico, among others. Feel free to connect at ELIRIDDER@ICLOUD.COM or at ELIRIDDER.CA

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