By Ramon Casals, teacher and expert on parent-child relations.
One of the main challenges that we teachers face is for our students to feel that what we want them to learn is – or could be- useful for their lives. That is why we often look for references, links, examples between what we are studying in classroom and in the everyday life of the young people.
What is happening, especially among teenagers, is that their everyday life is increasingly dominated, occupied, monopolized and absorbed (I would dare to say even “kidnapped”) by the cellphone. The cellphone is something they would never forget to grab before leaving home.
A few days ago we went on a school outing with students during which they had to do some physical exercise. In order to avoid accidents – especially affecting their devices! – I became custodian of the cellphones for a few hours. Many of them said to me: “It feels weird not carrying a cellphone!” This situation has the potential to make schools and educational systems – often reluctant to change anyway – increasingly distant from the interests and world of students.
The solution is not necessarily to incorporate the cellphone as a learning tool in a significant way but we will have to do it to some extent. However this problem goes beyond the school as it is also a social problem: something will have to be taken into account as a high percentage of children and adults spend more than half of their time looking at a 16 inch screen.
It will not be easy to find a solution. This landscape is forever changing and idees we have now will soon no longer be valid. The bigger question is whether we actually want to consider the possibiity of change.