A business administration professor at National Chung Hsing University, Chiao Yu-ching (喬友慶), is trying a “cellphone detention system” in classes this semester, with the aim of emphasizing to the importance of concentration to his students.
Chiao marked the first day of the policy with a Facebook post, saying: “I believe that in this day and age, concentration is crucial to your ability to make the most of fleeting opportunities.”
“Your learning environment is affected by having temptations everywhere,” he said. “To that end, I want to make the Chung Hsing business administration department a phone-free space.”
Chiao, who also serves as the business administration department chair, set aside 60 lockers in room 203 of the departmental building earlier this month for “phone detention,” the university said, adding that students are asked to deposit their phones in an assigned locker before they attend class, although the policy is not mandatory.
Chiao’s measures were greeted by an enthusiastic social media response and several professors in other institutions have expressed interest in starting similar programs.
A statement released by the school on Thursday quoted Chiao as saying that university students all have smartphones and that a large number use them during class, which has a negative effect on their ability to concentrate and learn.
A student surnamed Chang (張) said he felt “lost and nervous” not having his phone in class, because he was accustomed to using it as a fact-checking tool.
However, after attending the class twice without his phone, Chang found himself to be more focused and more capable of recalling his knowledge and personal experiences to share in group discussions and exercises, he said.
The cellphone detention system is in a trial period for Chiao’s classes, he said, adding that the lockers would be made available to other students in the department if he is happy with the results.
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