Should chil­dren be re­warded for non-use of phones in class?

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By ZHAO XINYING zhaoxiny­ing@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

A pro­fes­sor of mar­ket­ing at Tan Kah Kee Col­lege of Xi­a­men Univer­sity in Fu­jian prov­ince has been help­ing stu­dents to fo­cus by en­cour­ag­ing them to hand in their mo­bile phones be­fore class starts and col­lect them af­ter it fin­ishes. It is not oblig­a­tory, but those who hand in their phone get a point each time as a re­ward, which will be added to their fi­nal ex­am­i­na­tion score. The pro­fes­sor’s tac­tic to en­cour­age his stu­dents to con­cen­trate in class has been met with both praise and crit­i­cism.

Praise:

“I think it’s quite an in­no­va­tive move by the pro­fes­sor. As a stu­dent­my­self, I un­der­stand how easy it is to get dis­tracted in class by all kinds of apps on mo­bile phones, which makes you miss lots of use­ful and in­ter­est­ing course con­tent. It has been a headache for quite a lot of col­lege pro­fes­sors. The move is con­tro­ver­sial and can­not be ap­plied across the board, but at least it will help to high­light the prob­lem the pro­fes­sor is try­ing to ad­dress.” Lei Zhi­hong, agrad­u­at­es­tu­dent Univer­si­ty­ofChina

“Mo­bile phones are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly well­known for their ca­pa­bil­i­ties, as well as their po­ten­tial to dis­tract stu­dents. I ap­pre­ci­ate that the pro­fes­sor is at­tempt­ing to cre­ate an ideal en­vi­ron­ment for stu­dents to learn. It is also an ex­am­ple of mar­ket­ing, by pro­mot­ing the re­ward of test points for those that in­vest in the sys­tem.” Wang Haifeng, aBei­jin­gres­i­dent at­pri­ma­ryschool:

Crit­i­cism:

“As a pro­fes­sor my­self, I un­der­stand the in­ten­tion of help­ing stu­dents fo­cus on their stud­ies. But I will not take the same mea­sures, be­cause the pol­icy of adding points is not fair to those who al­ways mute their mo­bile phones and never use it dur­ing class. Usu­ally, I tell my stu­dents in the first class of each se­mes­ter that they should not use mo­bile phones in class un­less they want to be re­moved from the class­room.” Zhang Shao­duo, deputy di­rec­to­rofShang­haiIn­ter­na­tional Grad­u­ateS­chool

“I think it’s a su­per­fi­cial mea­sure that will not be so ef­fec­tive in help­ing stu­dents to con­cen­trate, par­tic­u­larly those who don’t care about tests or points. Stu­dents us­ing mo­bile phones in class rather than lis­ten­ing care­fully to the teacher is usu­ally the re­sult of un­stim­u­lat­ing con­tent. So a bet­ter idea is for teach­ers to make their classes more en­gag­ing for stu­dents.” Liu Hua, apri­ma­ryschool teacherofEnglish­inWeinan city,Shaanx­iprovince

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