Views #1523 | Intermediate (B1)

Phone Manner Mode

Angela and Todd talk about how and when it is OK to use your phone in public.

Todd: So I'm here with Angela, and in a previous interview we were talking about kids and technology and devices, and how these days often people look at their device when they're with another person. How do you feel about that? If you're eating with somebody, you're at dinner, is it okay to check your phone?

Angela: We have a rule in our house, no phones at the table. Absolutely no phones.

Todd: Very nice.

Angela: Because you know, you see people, they meet in restaurants, they sit around a table, the food comes, but everybody's looking into their phone, and engaging with whatever they're doing on their phone, and not talking to the people who have met them. And I see people walking on the subway, the street, head in their phone. It's ...

Todd: It is crazy.

Angela: It's really sad.

Todd: And if you think about it, we used to have manners. Things you couldn't do. For example, no elbows on the table, no hats inside the house. I mean it sounds silly, but I remember those rules as a kid. The one that was really hard was the no elbows on the table. Yeah, so it's interesting that we don't have new rules, like we should reinvent them. You can't have your phone on during the plane when it takes off, so your rule is a good idea.

Angela: Yeah, no phones at the table.

Todd: So you're an English teacher, what do you think about phones in the classroom?

Angela: If they're on a break, I always call it their text break, because when I'm teaching English out here I find that people have got their phone to their hand, and maybe they're Googling a word or something, so it's not too much of a distraction. But when you stop them for a break, as soon as you say "let's have a break now," they're all after their phones, and they're sitting individually looking at their phones.

Todd: And it's silent, I know what you mean. I'll teach, and it used to be you would say "okay take a break," and it would be really loud, they would start talking with each other. And these days it's just silence, they just go and they do that motion of just flicking with their finger, as they're scrolling down. And I know I just sound like some old guy, "hey, get off my lawn!" And I have the same problem, I want to check my phone all the time, but I have to admit it's strange I think.

Angela: And now you needn't even check your phone, you just look at your Apple watch or your watch on your wrist, it's going to tell you if your phone needs your attention.

Todd: But it used to be where I would say things like, you know as a teacher you're teaching, you can see if the student's looking down at their phone, and I would say "hey, don't check your phone." But now these days kids actually call me on it, they're like, "Oh, I'm looking up a word," or "Oh, I'm checking something," and they literally are checking something. And the kids are good at using their phone as a learning tool -

Angela: Yes, I think that's fine.

Todd: So it is, it's a gray area these days. Yeah. So when you're with somebody you never pop out your phone?

Angela: I would admit that I will be guilty of checking my phone in my bag, but I would never get it out and go on Facebook or Instagram and start Instagramming, I would just look at it and put it away.

Todd: Yeah. There's other things I've done, I mean could be because I'm getting older, but for example I try not to listen to my iPod so much anymore, or my phone. Radio, music, whatever. I actually just try to listen. I notice that when I am always listening to everything I kind of tune the world out, and I might miss things.

Angela: You will miss things. You see people, I've been quite tempted some days to put my earphones in and walk to the BTS, but actually I think, no, you'd miss the traffic noise, you miss the tuk tuks, you miss a dimension of the world that's happening around you. And then you get on the BTS and everybody in the carriage is head down, same position, on their phones.

Todd: Yeah. And actually I don't do it just for that reason, because I noticed that I'm missing out. It's so tempting, but I might see something.

Learn Vocabulary from the Lesson

takes off


When it takes off.

Here, to take off refers to when a plane starts its flight. Notice the following:

  1. Everyone must be seated when the plane takes off.
  2. The airplane takes off at 5 p.m. this evening.

take a break


Okay, take a break.

When we take a break, we stop from doing something for an amount of time. Notice the following:

  1. It is good to take a break after you have been working long hours to refresh yourself.
  2. She took a break for 15 minutes during her shift.

gray area


It's a gray area.

A gray area refers to when people have different opinions about something. It is not clear what is right or wrong. Notice the following:

  1. The best way to raise children is a gray area for many parents.
  2. Whether or not one diet is better than another is a gray area.

pop out


Never pop out your phone.

Here, to pop out means to take out something for use. Notice the following:

  1. I will pop out my phone to take a selfie.
  2. It is not polite to pop out of the closet and scare someone.

tune the world out


I kind of tune the world out.

When you tune the world out, you do not pay attention to things happening around you. Notice the following:

  1. I tune the world out around me when I am listening to music.
  2. My kids are good at tuning the world out when I am telling them to do their chores.

pet peeve


Mild pet peeve of mine.

A pet peeve is something that is annoying to you. Notice the following:

  1. People chewing near my ears is a pet peeve of mine.
  2. When I am talking to someone and they are not looking at me, that is a pet peeve of mine.

Vocabulary Quiz

take off • take a break • pet peeve
tune • gray area • pop out
  1. Breaking the law is sometimes a .
  2. What is your biggest ?
  3. We should soon, so put your phone away.
  4. When I get bored, I just a book and read.
  5. I need to from social media.
  6. These days it is hard to just out the media.
Answer the following questions about the interview.
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About the Teacher / Creator

Hello, and welcome to elllo. My name is Todd Beuckens. I've been an ESL teacher for 25 years. I created elllo to provide teachers and students free audio lessons and learning materials not usually found in commercial textbooks.
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