Can turning off bells improve school climate?
A growing number of California high schools have stopped using bell systems as reminders of when to get to class and are instead relying on students to pay attention to the time, according to EdSource.
Administrators say turning off the bells creates a calmer campus environment and teaches students life skills that they’ll use well beyond high school.
The only problem that sometimes occurs is when a classroom clock is out of sync with the time on students’ cell phones, but the article says students are good about not setting alarms.
Administrators at Rancho Mirage High School, one of the schools featured in the article, say that getting rid of the bells was just one of the practices they implemented in hopes of creating a positive school culture. Schools across the country, in places such as North Carolina and Missouri, are also coping just fine without bells, saying that the practice is often shared by word of mouth among administrators.
A school in Illinois considered whether to replace a bell’s sound after a student conducted his own research project and found that the “piercing” tone was interfering with students’ concentration in class.
On his blog, Teacher to Teacher Press, educator and professional development provider Brad Fulton talks about how not having bells at his K-8 school even allowed for flexibility in instruction. Teachers would sometimes ask for some additional time to complete a lesson or project with students.
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