Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia has no plans to ban cellphones in the classroom

On Tuesday, the Ontario government announced it would be banning cellphones during instructional time in classrooms. The Nova Scotia government is not planning to follow suit.

'Can we prevent students from using these in the classroom? I don't think so,' says education minister

Cellphone bans in classrooms have been criticized for being difficult to enforce. (Shutterstock)

Nova Scotia's education minister says the province won't ban cellphones in classrooms.

"It's like trying to dam the tide," said Zach Churchill. "This technology is here, everybody wants a cellphone. Can we prevent students from using these in the classroom? I don't think so."

On Tuesday, the Ontario government announced it would be ban cellphones during instructional time, starting in September.

"By banning cellphone use that distracts from learning, we are helping students to focus on acquiring the foundational skills they need like reading, writing and math," Ontario Education Minister Lisa Thompson said Tuesday.

Churchill said the province is looking at how to apply technology to better meet the needs of students.

"I think we really need to think progressively about this and say, 'OK, this technology is here, it's real. How do we maximize the benefit of it from a teaching and learning perspective?'" he said.

Teacher Ben Sichel is not in favour of a cellphone ban. He said there was a ban at his school, Prince Andrew High in Dartmouth, around a decade ago.

"It just literally made it so that teachers and principals and vice-principals were spending so much time enforcing the ban or attempting to enforce the ban, taking away phones, coming up with appropriate consequences, it just became completely unmanageable," he told CBC's Mainstreet.

Sichel said cellphones have only become more prevalent since then and he estimates that 90 per cent of his students have one.

With files from Michael Gorman and CBC's Mainstreet

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