Story by Trey Martin and Destiny White
Basketball fans across the country eagerly anticipate the month of March, which is home to the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Teams from across the country compete in instant classics, drawing the attention of millions of viewers.
“I enjoy [the games] because they go on all day, and I also like to see how my bracket is doing,” junior Ra’Twuan McMillan said.
This year, the games will begin on March 16, with the earliest contests tipping off around noon. The tournament is so large that Turner Sports has even released an app dedicated to live coverage of every game, free to every customer with a television subscription. The app has been around since 2011 and is easily accessible to students, causing problems in the classroom.
“[Watching games] interferes with what’s going on during the lesson and things like that. We definitely have a school policy about cell phones that would create problems,” math teacher Douglas Rivers said.
As technology availability among students continues to increase, sporting events disrupting the classroom environment persists.
“It’s something I deal with every year but then forget about it until the next season,” history teacher Mary Dawson said.
The timing of the tournament is ideal for distraction. The event normally falls at the end of the third quarter and close to spring break, most often ending the week of spring break. The students feel as if the year is dragging on and the games are an exciting alternative.
“I watch the games in class because the games are more interesting than school,” senior Nyal Johnson said. “I like the fact that anyone can win.”
The students shifting their attention to the games is frustrating for teachers at the school.
“I feel annoyed if they are doing it instead of focusing on what we need to do in class. But I feel like depending on the situation, if we are transitioning from checking homework to taking a quiz and you check to see a score I’m okay with that, but if you watch while I’m lecturing, that’s not okay,” Dawson said. “All that stuff should be communicated by the teacher and student.”
As the tournament approaches, teachers plan on continuing their normal lesson plans, to get to the end of the third quarter.
“We always have a plan for the day and our plan just doesn’t include things like that. We just stay on our task,” Rivers said.
While the distraction that sporting events is present, some classes are able to get the best of both worlds.
“It depends on the students. If the student is interrupting class to share stuff, or students are following basketball instead of doing school work, it can be distracting. But then I have had other classes where they don’t care at all. It really depends,” Dawson said.
The tournament will play games during four school days from March 16-24. In addition to Turner Sports’ app, Twitter also has a possibility of streaming games like they did during the NFL season. The tournament will be a test for teachers and students ability to stay on task.
“There’s a lot of studies that prove that [students] actually can not multi-task; you can not do two things at once,” Rivers said. “If they’re paying attention to the game, then the learning that was suppose to take place didn’t.”