Comedian on why being bored in school is a good thing
Steve Allen, comedian
- Credit: PA Images
It’s common to say kids these days don’t know they’re born, but I feel sorry for them because of mobile phones.
As a child I would beg my parents to let me have a phone extension in my bedroom. I saw having a phone as the height of coolness. Now I can’t wait to get away from the thing. My mobile is always buzzing and pinging and giving me work to do.
This is why I agree with Education Secretary Gavin Williamson’s plan to ban mobile use in classrooms. I am rather shocked that they’re not already banned.
When I was young I didn’t expect to run an extension cable from my home to the school so I could have a rotary phone on my school desk. That also meant my parents couldn’t message me during the day and yet somehow we coped.
Not only do children not need their phones, they face another problem: phones are great. The modern ones are high-powered mini-computers that surf the web, play games, make films and store a record shop’s worth of music. They are interesting. Trigonometry isn’t.
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Why make it even harder for children to focus on the dull learning? How can you calculate the volume of a sphere when you know you could be watching YouTube videos?
It is an important part of a school education. Not the sphere thing - I have never needed 4/3πr³ - but doing boring tasks. Part of what school prepares you for is the ability to tolerate the dull. All jobs have that part. Even astronauts have a lot of paperwork to do.
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The best reason I can find for banning mobile phones in school is this. The children who can’t cope without their phones will grow into the adults who don’t turn their phones off in the cinema.
Ban them now!