Author： EnglishTeacher 2023-05-19
A teacher in China has come up with a novel – and many say extreme –method of making sure her students do not bring their mobile phones to school.
The middle school teacher in the southwestern Chinese province of Guizhou makes students submerge their communication devices in a basin of water.
Shock has been expressed on social media after a video of the watery classroom practice appeared online on May 9 which provoked much criticism of the teacher for being “too extreme”.
In the clip, a pile of mobile phones was placed beside a basin of water on a podium and students can be seen placing their phones, one-by-one, into it.
An unidentified male teacher from the school, Mingya School, told the online media outlet, Time Video, that the school has imposed a strict ban on mobile phones, it also outlaws romantic relationships, smoking and drinking.
The teacher said parental agreement had been secured that children who bring phones to school can be punished, even to the extent of throwing their mobiles onto the floor.
“Since throwing phones onto the floor could have a bad influence on the children, the teacher decided that the water treatment was a more appropriate solution,” the unnamed teacher said, adding that the children had no option but to comply because their parents had sanctioned the punishment.
The move has drawn a sea of criticism online.
“Can’t you just confiscate the phones and return them after school? Does money grow on trees for their parent?” one online observer said.
“This punishment shows how incompetent the school is by not being able to teach students in reasonable ways,” said another.
A third suggested the school was breaking the law: “The students could report a criminal case of their private property being damaged.”
Many students in China got their first mobile phone during the Covid-19 pandemic, when teaching was forced online due to strict pandemic controls.
This fact led another commenter to say mockingly: “First, they told the students to do their schoolwork on their phones, then they banned them.”
A member of staff from the local education bureau told Jimu News that they had “criticised and educated” the teacher.
“The school cannot ruin the belongings of students, even with the parents’ permission,” the member of staff said.
This is not the first time extreme teaching methods have made headlines in China.
In 2021, a teacher in the central Chinese province of Hunan caused controversy by punishing a group of students, who breached a no phone rule, by smashing them on the floor until they were broken.
Last year, a teacher in another central province “punished” students who did not do well in an exam by making them cane his palm using his ruler.