Distractions: Are classrooms really where the most learning happens?

Editorial Board: | Nooreen Moinuddin | Perspectives Editor

Depending on what subject it is, who the professor is, and the time of day, a seemingly short lecture can feel like an eternity where you’re not learning much. Between laptops, cell phones, tablets, and fidgety students, the classroom environment is becoming one of the worst places to actually learn in. If your own electronic distractions don’t take away from your learning, most likely other students do.

Next time you’re in class, take a minute to notice how many students have their phones, laptops and iPads out, are browsing Facebook and Twitter, texting under their desks, or playing games. Almost everyone has some sort of distraction glued to their hands.

These devices make it extremely easy to tune out the professor, and be stuck in your own little world, sometimes taking your classmates with you.

Of course, we have all heard and used the age-old excuse, “but I NEED my laptop to take notes in class and study!” The truth is, we do. However, without proper discipline, it’s doing more harm than good. With new technology so readily available, it makes students feel as though they NEED these things to be successful in the class, which may not always be the case. Slowly but surely, it feels as though our attention spans are quickly dwindling down to nothing.

The Candor would like to remind you that, even if your laptop screen is not fully visible, or your cell phone is somewhat hidden under your desk, doing anything other than simply paying attention to the professor is a distraction to yourself and other students. The constant clicking of a keyboard is almost as bad as having a bright Facebook screen open for everyone behind you to see. Once your actions are noticed by a classmate, or even your professor, it makes it almost impossible to ignore it and focus on anything else. Taking the blame away from technology for a second, even our little quirks and habits can be extremely distracting and annoying to others. People who absentmindedly twirl and play with their hair are just as irritating as those loudly clacking away on their laptops. The loud chewing of crunchy chips is sometimes worse than a bright cell phone screen in your peripheral vision.

The Candor does realize that it is easy and human nature to be distracted and not 100% focused all the time. However, even if you can’t concentrate yourself, be mindful of your actions and don’t do anything that would distract others. Despite how focused someone really is, loud chewing, clicking and random lights from the game you’re playing can be distracting and make it hard to pay attention to those sitting around you. It is almost impossible to sit completely still and take notes the entirety of the class, but keep in mind that you are sharing the classroom space and experience with other people, and be mindful of your actions.

Remember that it is common courtesy; before pulling out your cell phone, turning on your laptop, or trying out different hairstyles in class, think about how it will affect and distract other students, and your professor. If you aren’t going to pay attention, don’t go to class, but don’t take that away from other students too.