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French lawmakers recently created a law meaning students can no longer use smartphones at school. This new legislation has banned them from being used at any time during the school day, whether that means leaving them at home or turning them off. This law includes tablets as well. The French government has created this law to protect children’s well-being and to protect the classroom environment. It will be used to combat phone addiction as well as make sure the classroom is distraction free and a place primarily for learning.

The French education minister Michel Blanquer spoke about how today “there is a phenomenon of screen addiction” and a “phenomenon of bad mobile-phone use”. He continued by saying, “Our main role is to protect children and adolescents. It is a fundamental role of education, and this law allows it.”

The law bans all smartphones and tablets from being used but French high schools can choose how strict they want to be with other internet devices. Some exceptions to the policy include education, extracurricular activities and students with disabilities.

The new French president, Emmanuel Macron, came into office in 2017. Before his run,  students could already not use phones during class time. As part of his campaign, he pledged to add to this and ban them from schools entirely.

Other French laws have been made to protect people from technology as well. In 2017, the government made a law requiring French companies to limit work emails and work-related technology from leaving the office. The law was nicknamed the “right to disconnect” and encourages people to leave their work at work. It was created to help reduce stress in workers and prevent employee burnout.

Benoît Hamon, a Socialist member of Parliament and former French education minister explained, “Employees physically leave the office, but they do not leave their work. They remain attached by a kind of electronic leash, like a dog,” and continued “The texts, the messages, the emails: They colonise the life of the individual to the point where he or she eventually breaks down.”

Difficult words

Legislation: The process of making laws.

Well-being: The health and happiness of someone.

Phenomenon: Something that occurs, usually out of the ordinary.

Adolescents: Going from a child to an adult.

Fundamental: Necessary or needed.

Extracurricular: Extra activities outside of school or work.

Pledge: A promise.

Burnout: To feel mentally or physically tired from work/school.

Colonise: To settle or establish a way of life.

Activities

For listening practise, listen to the recorded article here:

British English: 

American English:

Match the Synonym!

1. Legislation A. Establish
2. Wellbeing B. Health
3. Phenomenon C. Promise
4. Adolescents D. Lawmaking
5. Fundamental E.  Childhood
6. Extracurricular F. Exhaustion
7. Pledge G. Necessary
8. Burnout H. Activities
9. Colonise I.  Occurrence

True or False?

1. Students in Finland can no longer bring smartphones to school. T / F

2.  Tablets will not be included in this new law. T / F

3. The government’s goal is to protect children. T / F

4. No schools can decide their level of strictness on other internet devices. T / F

5.   There will be some exceptions to the rule. T / F

6.   The current president came into office 5 years ago. T / F

7. One of President Macron’s promises was to ban smartphones from schools entirely.        T / F

8.   The French government have made other laws to protect people from technology. T / F

9.  The law for workers is called the “right to unplug”. T / F

10.  Worker burnout is not a problem these days. T / F

Unscramble the sentence!

1. banned / being / used / has / from / legislation / This / new / them

2. as / well / tablets / This / law / includes

3. education / It / fundamental / of / role / is / a

4. to / policy / the / education / exceptions / include / Some

5. was / to / workers / in / help / reduce / created / It / stress

Listening and Vocabulary

Listen to the article and fill in the words OR practice vocabulary and fill in the words.

British English: 

American English:

Phenomenon Minister Strict
Combat Created Pledged
Attached  Encourage  Environment

French lawmakers recently __________ a law meaning students can no longer use smartphones at school. This new legislation has banned them from being used at anytime during the school day, whether that means leaving them at home or turning them off. This law includes tablets as well. The French government has created this law to protect children’s well-being and to protect the classroom _____________. It will be used to __________ phone addiction as well as make sure the classroom is distraction free and a place primarily for learning.

The French education minister Michel Blanquer spoke about how today “there is a _________________ of screen addiction” and a “phenomenon of bad mobile-phone use”. He continued by saying, “Our main role is to protect children and adolescents. It is a fundamental role of education, and this law allows it.”

The law bans all smartphones and tablets from being used but French high schools can choose how ________ they want to be with other internet devices. Some exceptions to the policy include education, extracurricular activities and students with disabilities.

The new French president, Emmanuel Macron, came into office in 2017. Before his run,  students could already not use phones during class time. As part of his campaign, he ______________ to add to this and ban them from schools entirely.

Other French laws have been made to protect people from technology as well. In 2017, the government made a law requiring French companies to limit work emails and work-realated technology from leaving the office. The law was nicknamed the “right to disconnect and _____________ people to leave their work at work. It was created to help reduce stress in workers and prevent employee burnout.

Benoît Hamon, Socialist member of Parliament and former French education ___________ explained, “Employees physically leave the office, but they do not leave their work. They remain ____________ by a kind of electronic leash, like a dog,” and continued “The texts, the messages, the emails: They colonise the life of the individual to the point where he or she eventually breaks down.”

Conversation Questions

Take turns speaking with a partner or try to answer on your own:

1. Did you find this article interesting? Why or why not?
2. Did you learn anything new from this article? If so, what?
3. Are smartphones allowed in schools in your country?
4. Do you think students should be allowed to have internet devices in school?
5. What are the advantages to having smartphones in schools?
6. What are the disadvantages to having smartphones in schools?
7. Should the government control what technology can be brought to school?
8. Is screen addiction a problem in your country?
9. What should be done to combat screen addiction?
10. Does your country have any laws against technology?
11. Is there a problem with worker burnout in your country?
12. How many hours does the average person work in one week in your country?
13. What should be done to help worker burnout?
14. Can we use technology to fight addiction?
15. Do you think companies should limit overtime and emails sent outside of work hours?
16. Should technology companies be responsible for people’s addiction?
17. Do you track how much screen time you have on your devices?
18. Do you make sure to disconnect from work when you leave?
19. What activities help you de-stress?
20. Would you like your government to create laws against technology?