Monday, March 13, 2006

My Ears are Ringing

Does anyone else think that high school-aged kids should know when they need to be places without bells ringing throughout the day? A bell ringing every hour does not help prepare kids for life. When was the last time an adult at his or her job (other than those of us in education) had to respond to a bell? It doesn’t matter if you’re a plumber or CEO, being on time is a vital piece to success… and after high school nobody is going to be ringing a bell to remind you to get somewhere. I propose high schools around the country post clocks and daily schedules in their hallways, then get rid of the bell and expect students to show up on time!


Blogger Scotty W said...

Is the bell to remind students, or is it to remind teachers that class is over for unity with passing periods? Just a thought. I agree otherwise.

9:33 AM  
Blogger rayh said...

This idea hasn't come up for quite a while. I'm so used to it guiding me, I'm not sure how I or others would function but I think it would make for a great discussion. Way to rock the boat Tom.

9:54 AM  
Blogger K Schneider said...

This sure sound likes pure pandemonium to me! The student's wouldn't be able to use the excuse "sorry I'm late, I didn't hear the bell ring" or "sorry that's the bell I have to go (somewhere, anywhere)". And how would I ever be on time to class since I am never able to syncronize my watch with the schools for more than a few days at a time?

I suggest we get more businesses to have bell systems. What a great way to end a particularly boring business meeting - "Oh, that's the bell, have to go to my next meeting." If this were to happen perhaps our students would be more successful when they went out into the big bad world without a watch.

12:04 PM  
Blogger Ms. Fine said...

It is funny Tom that you would bring this issue up. I had to do an operational behavior paper regarding some of the behaviors that I do without even recognizing that I'm conditioned in doing so. One of the behaviors that I discussed was in regards to the clock and time. I look at the clock, no matter what, when the bell rings. I sometimes look at it and don't read the time but I have conditioned myself to look at clock. With that, I think we would have some serious issues if we didn't have a bell. Due to the fact that everyone’s watches are not aligned the same way. With that, it would be interesting to see the results if we were to take away the bell. I think it might be chaos....

12:26 PM  
Blogger Sally G said...

I have taught in both environments. I have to add that the non-bell enviornment lasted for only part of the year. Eventually we were going to alternate sounds: buzzers, vocal reminders, et cetera. (If you think bells are annoying, try b uzzers!) I think it requires a widespread conscious flexibility to make bell-addicts adapt. So far I have noticed that personality type surfacing only irregularly.

2:54 PM  
Blogger ChingyenG said...

I like the bell. Not the sound of it but what it does for me.

As the alarm on my PDA, the bell tells me that it's time to wrap up whatever I am doing and get ready for the next appointment.

Hmm. I take it back. I NEED the bell. :-)

8:42 PM  
Blogger jaredr said...

Bells happen all the time outside the "World of School". In small towns all across America you can hear bells ringing letting people know they should hurry or that they still have time. Bells start and end the stock market each day. Sporting events use some sort of bell or buzzer to start or end a game or match.

I like the bell because it clearly defines when the class starts and ends.

3:43 PM  
Blogger Cheryl S. said...

I must admit that I'm quite addicted to the reminders - bell or otherwise - on my Blackberry that alert me to an upcoming activity or to-do-item! It may be a little bit of dependence (or laziness) mixed with a little bit of overwhelmed...sometimes the combo of kid, personal, work, and grad school "to-dos" are too much to track w/o help. I think the bells should stay, but I would like it if the bells at school weren't quite so loud!

7:53 AM  
Blogger Caroline S said...

I think that the bell adds for the consistence of all the classes being let out at the same time. I can't imgine how noisy the halls would be at all differnt times.

11:25 AM  
Blogger Jared Robinson said...

I think the bell is more for the teachers than the students. I agree with Tom that students could train themselves to be time conscious and responsible. The teachers could give the structure that the bell would otherwise provide to help the kids be on time. But what would help the teachers? We are a pretty egocentric lot. I could easily see myself talking well beyond my allotted time without noticing.

Granted that there are no bells in the real world, but there is also no manic switching of focus (in most jobs) from subject to subject in an organized schedule.

8:04 AM  
Blogger melissa m.o. said...

I've had to ponder on this Post for a few days before commenting to it. I think I have finally come to a few conclusions, in my own mind.

First of all, I DO think a bell is very important in this setting and agree with Jared when he says that bells and reminders play a huge role in our lives outside of school. I think of all of the times that I have broiled something and not set the timer telling myself to "just remember in 3 minutes..." You can guess what has happened 9 out of 10 times. Smoke alarm going off, fumes and smoke in the air, etc. I NEED reminders of some kind in my life everyday (a planner, a to do list, etc.) and I think most people are the same way.

My second point is that high schools are not the business world. True, a CEO of a company may not have bells in the office to remind people to do his or her "job". But I would bet almost all of those people have some type of a reminder in place so they don't forget things. The job of of going to school (or teaching for that matter) is unlike any other. One of our responsibilites as educators is to help mold responsible behavior with expectations (notice I said here, "HELP", not "ENTIRELY"). Bells are one way to remind under developed brains that they need to be somewhere at a certain time. At some point in their lives, they may not have that reminder but right now they do. It is an integral part of learning to schedule effectively.

Just my thoughts. Would love to hear feedback!

10:21 AM  
Blogger Mwiebe said...

I have heard that the whole bell system is a product of the Industrial Revolution, when everyone (almost) worked in factories and was dismissed by bell. The bells in schools were supposed to train the kids for their promising future careers in manual labor. I guess it was supposed to pre-program the kids. Has anyone else heard this?

On most Fridays at 2:13, there is no other sound I would rather hear...

8:50 AM  
Blogger lgaffney said...

I'm with you, Tom. The clocks are all synchronized so it is the same time in every room. I did not have bells in high school nor did I have them in college. We still knew when we were supposed to be in class. I think this would be another excellent way for us to instill a sense of personal responsibility. We brag about being a "college prep" high school and this would be just one more way we could move in that direction!

10:56 AM  
Blogger mmarchino said...

I get caught up in the moment that relying on just knowing when class is out would be a change. I like the reminder when class needs to start. It is all in conditioning. If there isn't a bell there would be ways of coping. I have to say that I love Saturdays because there is no morning alarm!

1:54 PM  
Blogger Krueger said...

I agree with Caroline in that the bell keeps us all on a consistent schedule. I don't know how freshmen would do without a bell. I teach mostly freshman, and I think many of them aren't yet responsible enough to handle not having a bell, especially at the beginning of the school year. Not having a bell would just add to the beginning of the year chaos. I think we have already have enough on our plates to deal with.

10:34 AM  
Blogger kleibsohn said...

How about instead of bells ringing in our heads we change that annoying sound to a more enjoyable sound of MUSIC! When I was doing student teaching at the elementary level the bell system was Disney songs. Now I understand that is definately too elementary for the high school level. So we come to some kind of agreement of a blurb of music to play that is uplifting yet strong enough to remind us it's time to go. Just a suggestion to stop the ringing in my ears, especially if happen to passing through the cafeteria where it just so happens to be utterly loud!

3:01 PM  

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