The Proliferation of Cell Phones in High Schools: The Implications for the Teaching and Learning Process
AbstractIn recent years there has been a proliferation of cellphone use by learners in schools, and in classrooms in particular. If left unchecked the learners’ use of cell phones in schools may impact negatively on the teaching and learning process. A mixed-method research design was used to explore the extent to which learners use cellphones in high schools. This method explored how cellphones impact on the basic functionality of the schools. It also intended to find out if schools have policies guiding the use of cellphones in place. Questionnaires, semi-structured interviews and focus group interviews were used to collect data from 106 learners, 8 principals, 8 school governing body (SGB) members and 8 teachers from 8 schools drawn from two provinces in South Africa, namely Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. The study reveals that a considerable number of learners bring cellphones to schools on a regular basis. These cellphones sometimes disrupt the teaching and learning process. Not all schools have functional policies on the use of cellphones on their premises. Some schools have completely banned the use of cellphones within their premises due to security concerns and the distractions that result from their inappropriate use. Schools need to weigh all factors involved in the use of cellphones in order to make informed and appropriate decisions. Parents and the learners should decide on the pros and cons of taking cellphones to schools.
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