Cell Phones in Class

Two teens in Quebec used a cell phone to secretly film a teacher yelling in class. They posted the video on YouTube. We will discuss whether or not cell phones should be allowed in classrooms.

Pre-Reading Questions

  1. Have you heard of the website called YouTube? If so, do you look at it regularly or have you ever posted anything on it?
  2. Do you know if cell phones are allowed in classrooms in public schools in your city?
  3. Do you own a cell phone? Does it have a camera? Do you use it very often?
  4. Do you text message your friends on your cell phone very often?
  5. Do you know anyone who has had his/her picture taken on a cell phone in an embarrassing situation? If so, what was his/her reaction?
  6. Do you worry about ever finding a secretly obtained picture of yourself on the Internet?

Vocabulary Preview

  • device: piece of equipment for a special purpose
  • incident: situation, happening, event
  • embarrassed: feeling mentally or socially uncomfortable
  • ban: order that something must not be done; not allow
  • distorted: giving a false or untrue picture of something
  • lobbying: trying to make lawmakers pass certain laws
  • dismayed: greatly surprised with difficulty understanding
  • complaint: statement of dissatisfaction
  • justify: give a good reason; show something is right
  • issue: question for discussion; concern
  • provoke: made angry; caused something to happen
  • stress leave: time off work because of mental or emotional difficulties
  • suspended: didn’t allow students to attend school for a period of time, as a means of punishment
  • absence: being away from
  • discipline: give a set of rules; bring under control; punish
  • union: an organization of workers

Practice these new vocabulary words here: Cell Phones in Class

Cell Phones in Class

  1. Whether students should be allowed to have personal electronic devices in the classroom became an issue in Gatineau, Quebec, after an October 2006 incident in a secondary school.
  2. Two 13-year-old girls provoked their teacher into yelling at one of them while the other used her cell phone camera to secretly film him. The girls then posted their video on the Internet on the YouTube website.
  3. The teacher was so upset and embarrassed by the video that he took stress leave. The school suspended the two students and banned all students from bringing any type of personal electronic device into the classroom.
  4. Their teacher’s reaction to the YouTube posting and his absence from school left all his students feeling badly about what had happened and they asked that the video be removed from YouTube. The students would not be searched but the ban on taking devices like cell phones into class would be strictly enforced.
  5. Teachers were concerned about how easily a person’s image can be distorted. The Gatineau teacher had taught for 32 years and had spent many years working with students with discipline problems. Shouting at students was not a true picture of his work as a teacher. The teachers’ union was lobbying for personal electronic devices to be banned from all schools in Western Quebec.
  6. The teachers also believed that they must be able to discipline students without fear of being publicly exposed. In other words, what happens in the classroom should stay within the classroom. Some parents, however, were dismayed by the teachers’ view on privacy. Parents worried that students with serious complaints about a teacher’s behavior would not be believed. They expected teachers to act responsibly and be able to justify their actions in their classroom.
  7. Posting secretly obtained videos of people on the Internet is an ongoing privacy issue.

Post Reading Questions

  1. Do you think there is any reason that students should be allowed to take cell phones into classrooms?
  2. What problems may occur if cell phones are allowed in classrooms?
  3. If you were a teacher, would you be upset if students were videotaping you in the classroom?
  4. How have YouTube and other websites been used by some students to bully or intimidate other students?
  5. Do you think that the punishment given to the two students discussed in the article was fair? Explain your answer.
  6. The teachers discussed in the article felt that what happens in the classroom should stay in the classroom. Do you agree with their views on privacy in the classroom?

Additional Resources