How to handle lecturer who doesn’t let me use my phone?

Inspired by another question where a user asks how to handle students with a phone, my question is from the opposite perspective: what is the correct response when a lecturer asks one to put away the phone?

This actually recently happened to me (a few months ago), and for obvious reasons (not wanting to interrupt the flow of the lecture, not wanting to have a falling out with the professor, etc), I just put my phone down.

But to be honest, I don’t think that’s the correct response, or at least I feel this is not the way it should be, because I find such demands inappropriate for a number of reasons, and so I shouldn’t be giving in to them, should I?


My reasoning:

First of all, and this may sound immature, but what I do with my phone is none of the lecturer’s business. As long as I am not disturbing anybody (audio is always off, I am never typing loudly because it’s a touch-screen, and nobody is distracted by the screen because I make sure to sit in the back), it shouldn’t be a problem.

Secondly, I find that such demands can impede my learning. I often use the phone to look up information related to what the lecturer is actually talking about. If a topic is mentioned that I don’t quite recall, a quick google search or a 10-second glance at the topic’s Wikipedia page brings me up to speed. Or perhaps the textbook for the course is on my cloud server and I need to the phone to actually access the book, if I didn’t bring (or even buy) the physical copy.

Finally, I find it highly disrespectful to call a student out for being on a phone in the middle of a lecture in front of all others. Such conversations, if they need to be had, should be had in private. Approach me after the lecture or during the break if you have a problem. Don’t call me out in front of the entire class.

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