Most ESL classrooms have a no phone policy. There are posters such as this one in every classroom at my school. I remind students on the first day to put their phones on silent, NOT vibrate – silent – before coming to class. And we do this to create a distraction-free learning environment.
But one of the other strains in our classroom talk is linking our learning to the outside world. We constantly tell our students to use the language, the skills learned in the classroom outside. And in order to make the learning transferable, we use authentic texts and videos and simulate real-life situations.
Then why the disconnect when it comes to using phones in class. Shouldn’t we try to find a way to integrate smartphones usefully in the learning process rather than ban them altogether, just in the spirit of connecting the real world and the classroom?
I watched a TEFL video recently about using TPR to make language memorable, and the instructor used digital cameras to inspire learners to use real language. Nowadays, every student has a powerful camera in their pockets and photo and video-sharing sites such as Instagram and Snapchat have become so popular, it’s a wonder so few teachers are still averse to using them. (more…)