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    • Member Info
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      • Interested in Language
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      • French
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
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    #1

    TESL in a smartphone world

    I'm a multilingual translator and transcriptionist who is new to teaching languages. I am teaching myself to teach private classes (and tutor) in ESL at the moment and I'm wondering what role smartphones play nowadays in the language teacher-student relationship.

    While I do love my laptop, I'm really not in a hurry to purchase a smartphone as they seem to take up so much resources in time and money and affect human relationships in ways that do not appeal to me. But I realize that this is where the modern world is heading, and with maybe 75% of us owning smartphones now, I expect my students to be avid users of these devices as well. The thing is that learning (whether it's a language or anything else) requires attention and concentration, and smartphones, with all the distractions they offer, tend to get in the way of that. So I'm wondering if it's common for ESL teachers to ask their students to turn off their devices and keep them in their backpacks during class or if it's something that you just learn to "work" with. Do you make sure that your lessons are so entertaining and engaging that the students actually forget to check their phones or do you take that opportunity to check your phone as well if you have one?

  1. 5jj's Avatar
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      • Retired English Teacher
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    #2

    Re: TESL in a smartphone world

    Welcome to the forum, Quadrilinguist.

    I have a simple rule. All phones are switched off for the duration of the lesson.

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: TESL in a smartphone world

    I have only ever taught one-on-one but I always switch off my phone and ask my students to do the same, whatever their age. My only exceptions to this were the high-ranking civil servants and government officials I taught in Madrid who would probably have been fired if they failed to answer their mobile. My classes were most definitely low priority for them and their bosses!
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  3. 5jj's Avatar
    • Member Info
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    #4

    Re: TESL in a smartphone world

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I have only ever taught one-on-one but I always switch off my phone and ask my students to do the same, whatever their age. My only exceptions to this were the high-ranking civil servants and government officials I taught in Madrid who would probably have been fired if they failed to answer their mobile. My classes were most definitely low priority for them and their bosses!
    OK, I allowed my rule to be broken in such situations.

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
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    #5

    Re: TESL in a smartphone world

    It's an issue that isn't going to go away. Some people really do need to have their phones on all the time, but these are the professionals- most learners simply don't have communication so urgent that they need them on and they're just a distraction. I'd generally use 5jj's rule, but if I were teaching, say, a group of brokers, I would respect their need to have them on, as long as they respected the environment of the classroom.

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