Month: November 2018

A Student’s Ability To Tell The Time On An Analogue Clock Is Now Outdated. Discuss. [5 marks]

So, here it is. We are in the 21st Century. It’s time to ‘get with the program’.

I’ve relented and bought in a new digital clock into my classroom. I’ve done this because every now and again I have students that ask me for the time and I always point to the wall at the analogue clock and say “There you go, the time is right there.” I would often get a bewildered look from some of these students, but I thought nothing of it.

Last week, another student ask me the time and I dutifully showed them where to find this out for themselves. I was not prepared for this out loud response: “But Mister, I legit don’t know how to read that clock!”

Now, some of you might not think telling the time on an analogue clock is an important thing to learn as ‘they all have mobile phones and they are all digital anyway.’ Here’s the thing: We are in the digital revolution but there are analogue dials everywhere in the form of car dashboards, pressure gauges, meters, town hall clocks… We are not suddenly going to get rid of them all overnight.

Learning the time on an analogue clock is just one of those things that I call a ‘basic life skill’. Just like learning how to count change out in a retail establishment, even though most people ‘payWave’ their purchases. Or learning how to use a dictionary is important, even though we can now ‘ask Siri’ to spell a word out for us. Or learning your Times tables and fractions as this is a foundation for working out problems involving numbers. Or learning to tie your shoelaces, even though some kids might only wear slip on shoes or Velcro trainers. Or learning how to punctuate and be grammatically correct is also important, even though we actively encourage students to ‘Bring Your Own Device’ and use Google Docs has that ‘funny red wavy line’ that tells you there is an error but most kids just click the ‘Ignore’ option without reading the pop up message. Or learning how to use a pen for the same reasons as my previous point…

So, I’m opening up this conversation and my thoughts to you all to consider and comment on. What do you think? It’s important for me to point out that we don’t have to agree on this, as the world would be boring if we all did. However, I personally believe there is still a place for these things for life!


UPDATE: 01/06/2019

It appears that you CAN teach an old dog new tricks! One of my students pointed something out to me that I had never thought about before. They told me that they work out the time by simply looking at the number where the minute hand is and then multiply that number by five. I instinctively just know the time by sight. Maybe this is the result of rote learning? Who knows…

Coincidentally, a friend sent this link to me on Facebook. I thought I’d share it with you… Enjoy!

Jimmy Kimmel – Can Young People Read a Clock?