Battling the rule of thumb 1

April 24, 2008

I was pleased to read Frank Furedi's stand against texting ("It's a vxd question: why your lecture isn't as important as an SMS", 17 April) and saddened at stories of tutors choosing to ignore, or feeling constrained from doing something about, texting.

A couple of years ago, I decided enough was enough. Since then, I have used the first lecture/seminar to tell students that if they are caught using their phones, I reserve the right to ask them to leave the room. I have thrown some out for using a mobile. Attendance is perhaps not quite as good as it had been before, but seminars are far more productive because students know their tutor is serious about work. So go in hard and early, back up your statements the first time it happens, and it's surprising how quickly students police themselves. However, because my position is somewhat out of kilter with many academics and departments, I am unwilling to make public my name. Shame.

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