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Classroom Management, Education Trends, Podcast Articles   |   Aug 20, 2017

How to get student buy-in for your class cell phone policy

By Angela Watson

Founder and Writer

How to get student buy-in for your class cell phone policy

By Angela Watson

This week on the Truth for Teachers podcast: Listen in on my coaching call with Jim about getting student buy-in with room arrangement and routines/procedures, specifically with a classroom cell phone policy.

Listen in on a coaching call I conducted with a graduate of the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club. His name is Jim, and he’s entering his 4th year of teaching. Jim works on a grades 7-12 campus and is a high school geometry and 7th grade honors math teacher.

The questions that Jim submitted to me were mostly about getting student buy-in with room arrangement and routines/procedures. But the part that I wanted to share with you here on the podcast is where we do a deep dive into getting student buy-in with a cell phone policy.

In some of the coaching call excerpts I share, I’m talking a lot, and in others, I’m mostly just asking questions, depending on which part of the call I put on the podcast. With Jim’s call, I’m asking a lot of questions, and I want you to listen closely and see if you can pick up on some of the key concepts Jim is stating as we talk.

Like most teachers, Jim already has most of the solution inside of him, and it’s just a matter of helping him uncover the different parts of that solutions and put them together. Notice how each of his responses to me is like a clue which leads us to the next piece of the puzzle, until we have the whole thing assembled. It’s a really fun process to participate in and I think it will be fun for you to listen to, also.

What we’re doing in this conversation is partially about ironing out the details of the cell phone policy, about partially about figuring out which areas of the classroom to give kids ownership of, and where we need to provide more leadership and modeling.

As a newer teacher, Jim is still figuring out his teaching style and what’s going to work with his student population. So my goal was to help him uncover the deeper issues which go beyond cell phones. which is about teaching kids the important life skill of deep work and concentration, and understanding that as adults, they will need to unplug at types so they can focus on completing a task without distraction. That is a learned skill we have to teach, model, and practice.

The approach Jim and I settle on is what makes sense right now for his teaching style, subject area, and the type of class culture he’s trying to create. What we uncover is the right solution for Jim and his students, but there is no one right approach.

And in fact, if you ask yourself some of the questions I ask Jim, you might find that the answers are completely different, and that’s okay.

The value is in asking the right questions, because honest self-reflection is what’s going to get you to the right result.

classroom cell phone policy

Click the player above to listen in on the coaching call,

or use the download button to get the MP3 and listen on the go!


I hope listening in on this portion of the coaching call I did with Jim is helpful to you in figuring out where to give kids more ownership, and where they need you to lead the way. Remember that a leader is someone who demonstrates what’s possible.

As you look for ways to be truly lead students in your classroom, remember that your job is to expose kids to possibilities. Think about what skills students really need to be successful in your classroom and in life, and model for them how to practice those skills. Stay connected to your vision for your classroom, and what kind of learning experience you want students to have, and communicate that vision clearly to kids. Demonstrate for them what is possible so that they can then create their own vision.

This post is based on an episode from my weekly podcast, Angela Watson’s Truth for Teachers. A podcast is like a free talk radio show you can listen to online, or download and take with you wherever you go. I release a new 15-20 minute episode each Sunday and feature it here on the blog to help you get energized and motivated for the week ahead. 

Truth for Teachers podcast: a weekly 10 minute talk radio show you can download and take with you wherever you go! A new episode is released each Sunday to get you energized and motivated for the week ahead.

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Angela Watson

Founder and Writer

Angela created the first version of this site in 2003, when she was a classroom teacher herself. With 11 years of teaching experience and more than a decade of experience as an instructional coach, Angela oversees and contributes regularly to...
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