The BC Teachers’ Federation has not received direction from its membership to take a position on whether cell phones in classrooms should be banned provincially. The Federation strongly supports the professional autonomy and rights that members have in order to do their important work as educators. Teachers, schools, and school districts have a variety of ways to address cell phone use in classrooms and schools, which may involve some or no restrictions.
Cell phones can have both positive and negative impacts on classroom learning. They can be a distraction, and they can also serve as a helpful resource to support learning as long as there is equitable access to technology.
Writing a province-wide policy that would be appropriate for everyone everywhere would be a difficult task. However, should the government work on such a policy, it’s important to include teachers’ voices at the table to ensure that on-the-ground classroom needs and expectations are considered.
All that said, there are much larger issues facing public education than cell phone use. Teachers need adequate resources to ensure no child goes without the support they need. If BC United is sincere in wishing to improve learning conditions, the Federation looks forward to hearing their plan for recruitment and retention strategies to solve the acute staffing shortages in schools.