China / Education

Should children be rewarded for non-use of phones in class?

By Zhao Xinying (China Daily) Updated: 2016-09-29 08:29

A professor of marketing at Tan Kah Kee College of Xiamen University in Fujian province has been helping students to focus by encouraging them to hand in their mobile phones before class starts and collect them after it finishes. It is not obligatory, but those who hand in their phone get a point each time as a reward, which will be added to their final examination score. The professor's tactic to encourage his students to concentrate in class has been met with both praise and criticism.


"I think it's quite an innovative move by the professor. As a student myself, I understand how easy it is to get distracted in class by all kinds of apps on mobile phones, which makes you miss lots of useful and interesting course content. It has been a headache for quite a lot of college professors. The move is controversial and cannot be applied across the board, but at least it will help to highlight the problem the professor is trying to address."

Lei Zhihong, a graduate student of the Communication University of China

"Mobile phones are becoming increasingly well-known for their capabilities, as well as their potential to distract students. I appreciate that the professor is attempting to create an ideal environment for students to learn. It is also an example of marketing, by promoting the reward of test points for those that invest in the system."

Wang Haifeng, a Beijing resident whose son is in fifth grade at primary school:


"As a professor myself, I understand the intention of helping students focus on their studies. But I will not take the same measures, because the policy of adding points is not fair to those who always mute their mobile phones and never use it during class. Usually, I tell my students in the first class of each semester that they should not use mobile phones in class unless they want to be removed from the classroom."

Zhang Shaoduo, deputy director of Shanghai International Studies University's Graduate School

"I think it's a superficial measure that will not be so effective in helping students to concentrate, particularly those who don't care about tests or points. Students using mobile phones in class rather than listening carefully to the teacher is usually the result of unstimulating content. So a better idea is for teachers to make their classes more engaging for students."

Liu Hua, a primary school teacher of English in Weinan city, Shaanxi province

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