Ararat College’s principal interested to see how phone ban is implemented

Ararat College students and staff have expressed the prospect of a more focused classroom when the state government’s mobile phone ban comes into effect in term one of next year.

The school community was full of discussion today both in and out of the classroom – many teachers shared their excitement this morning at a staff meeting and students spoke of mixed emotions as they clasped their phones in locker rooms.

Ararat College’s Acting Principal Ellie McDougall had a very positive response to the ban’s announcement, “with an interest to see how this is going to be successfully implemented across schools.”

“I feel that a strategy that aims to decrease the distractions in the classroom and increase the human interaction of students with each other and with their teachers in learning will improve student performance at school,” Mrs McDougall said.

“As a school, we have already introduced a number of restrictions around mobile phone use. This started in 2018 and was largely student driven.”

McDougall said that parent and family support will be essential in the process of implementing the ban.

“Whilst there are going to be challenges in enforcing the ban, if there is adequate planning completed and support provided regarding how this is going to be practically implemented in schools, I can see the ban being productive. “

“[Government] support needs to be very structured and clear and directly assist schools in implementing the ban. Consultation with a wide variety of schools, students and families will be essential in putting this information together.”

Students put forward a very articulate view, acknowledging that the ban would create a more productive school.

“I reckon it’s a good idea because phones are really distracting in class and it affects our learning,” Year 8 student Corey said.

Many agreed with Corey’s opinion but admitted that the ban would be hard for some students to adjust to.

“I think the ban will be a good idea because it will help people focus in class,” Year 10 Zane shared.

AC News also had messages from many students across the state who expressed their disgust via social media. One student said “the government isn’t thinking” and that the ban will not be obeyed by all of Victoria’s students.

Teachers were looking forward to less distraction, allowing students to focus on learning and have more face-to-face interaction.

“I think the mobile phone ban will be a positive influence,” Maths Teacher Katrina Pace said.”

“I think [students] will have a problem putting their phones down and even some separation anxiety from having it so far away from them.”

Media Teacher Melissa Murnane agreed with Pace but said that phones can be useful in media when creating content.

“I’m not sure how it will be enforced – that will be interesting, but I do think it will be an interesting step because we need to get back to focus on our learning,” she said.

“I think once a model comes in that we can enforce and it becomes more of a routine in class. I think the kids should be able to get quite used to it but it’s certainly going to be a shock at the start.”

Next term the Department of Education and Training will work with principals to develop detailed advice and resources as schools prepare to introduce this policy next year. A review will be conducted at the end of 2020 to obtain how the ban has gone.