I recently asked the question to our students in the school I work at what would happen if we eliminated the bells. Answers ranged from “it would be a madhouse” to “nothing.” I asked the question because I have been in a high school on the north side of Chicago that did not have bells. Wondering what happened there? The answer is nothing. The students moved from class to class just like there were bells ringing.
I often think about how little freedom we give students. The bell is one of them. Students in my current school really don’t need a bell. Ask any of them. They are very aware of the exact time the bell rings without it actually ringing. They know.
I personally would like to see bells in high school removed.
I get that we still have to have a system for emergency sounds and alarms. I’m not talking about those systems. Just the bells. When I was visiting the school that didn’t use bells, I felt like it was a more “professional” environment. The students moved around the school like they were in a business or on a college campus. It felt good. It felt like the students had a little more ownership of their time.
The hallways were clear when class time began. The same teachers were in the hallways welcoming students coming into their rooms. Late students still got late passes.
It was positive. It was professional. It was peaceful.
Without loud bells.
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