As teachers, we were hired to teach a curriculum, some field or discipline. Yet the schools are social institutions as well. Schools serve an important socializing function for young people. They should.
We think that the problem arises when school as socializer undermines its other mission, imparting knowledge and skills that stick. Ask any teacher who has received an email to excuse the boys’ lacrosse team at 1:30 for a distant tournament. Losing students out of your class chips away at what the class can accomplish.
We explained elsewhere how to deal with digital distractions; here we focus on social distractions. Remember: Students’ relationships with adult experts and authorities–not with one another– are the most important thing they are doing in school.
The History Dr has a proposal to balance both missions, the academic and the social.