Do Classic Tunes Cure Tardiness?

Wichita schools use upbeat, uplifting back-in-the-day songs as a signal to get students to class on time.

by Converge Staff / November 10, 2009 0

At Truesdell Middle School in Wichita, Kan., students hear more than just a morning bell telling them to get to class; they hear "The Hustle." At West High, students "get rollin'" to the "Rawhide" theme. At North High, where the trend started in the mid-1990s, the "William Tell Overture" comes on and students speed up.

Throughout the district, The Wichita Eagle reports, administrators are fighting student tardiness with old-school tunes that you probably won't find on any of the kids' iPods. For example, Truesdell uses two other songs besides "The Hustle": James Brown's "I Got You (I Feel Good)" and the theme from "Mission Impossible." The music plays loud and clear over hallway or parking lot speakers, cuing students for the start of class.

The Truesdell principal says music is more fun for students, and they can use the song to determine exactly how much time they have before they're considered tardy. The "Mission Impossible" theme song, for instance, gives students exactly 60 seconds to get to class.

Administrators say they chose songs like "I Got You (I Feel Good)" and Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode" not only for their upbeat tempos, but also their uplifting messages.

"First, there's that 'Go, Johnny, go-go-go,' like 'Get moving. Go to class,' " Principal Leroy Parks at Southeast High told the Eagle. "And there's also 'Johnny, be good,' which is a message we hope to convey."

He added that, at his school, the music has reduced the number of tardies. But does it really work? In the comments to the article, some have expressed that the approach is annoying and ineffective.

"After watching the video it doesn't appear to be working," one person wrote. "If a teacher still needs to shout go go go!"

Watch the video and decide for yourself.

According to the article, adminstrators who use the tactic did note a few drawbacks. One problem is that when the music, for whatever reason, doesn't play, students don't move. Another minor issue is that students grow to eventually despise the songs they hear over and over every week.

"I don't think any of them will be buying Chuck Berry's greatest hits anytime soon," Parks said.

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Do you use this method at your school? Have the results been positive or nonexistent? Let us know.