How do teachers compete with smartphones?
There is no doubt that smartphones have changed the way we live and learn. Which is why teachers must continue doing what they do best – connect with students.
Because no matter what happens on the small screen, technology will always be a poor substitute for human connection.
So instead of complaining about students being glued to their smartphone, teachers must consider why students do it in the first place.
1. Consider the underlying cause.
Educators (including myself) must take a step back and reframe the smartphone problem.
Student distractibility existed long before smartphones.
We “doodled”. They “text”.
Lack of attention is the common denominator.
Smartphones in the classroom are a signal that students need to be re-directed back to the learning activity.
2. Rethink how you teach.
First, explore how you engage students, capture their attention, and sustain curiosity with instant gratification just one click away.
Next, consider how you spark student interest and arouse curiosity, week after week, semester after semester.
3. Model what you expect.
a) Motivate students by being motivated!
b) Engage students by being engaged, passionate, and excited by the topics you teach. Enthusiasm is contagious!
c) Connect with students by being genuinely interested in who they are, how they learn, and why they are here.
d) Grab attention by being attentive to the unique needs of each student, and responsive to the distinct personality of each class.
e) Stimulate curiosity by being curious about how students think.
4. Show them you care.
In order to move students from the instant gratification of smartphones to meaningful interactions in school (and in life), we must show them how much we truly care.
How? We are present in our own classrooms.
We are in tune with each student and teaching moment.
This picture was taken at a CSI student leadership event at Conestoga College in Kitchener, Ontario. Student motivation and attention is always my first priority. Only then can the learning begin!
Students first. Every chance I get.