According to a recent article published by The Telegraph, some schools in the UK are removing analog clocks from their examination rooms because too many teenage students “cannot tell the time.”
Malcolm Trobe, deputy general secretary at the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) said the analog clocks in thei GCSE and A-level exam rooms will be replaced with digital devices. “The current generation aren’t as good at reading the traditional clock face as older generations,” he said.
“They are used to seeing a digital representation of time on their phone, on their computer. Nearly everything they’ve got is digital so youngsters are just exposed to time being given digitally everywhere.”
Trobe, a former headmaster, said he hopes the change will improve exam efficiency for the students. “You don’t want them to put their hand up to ask how much time is left,” he said. “There is actually a big advantage in using digital clocks in exam rooms because it is much less easy to mistake a time on a digital clock when you are working against time.”
Analog clocks will not be removed from daily classrooms. “One hopes that we will be teaching youngsters to read clocks, however, we can see the benefit of digital clocks in exam rooms,” Mr. Trobe concluded.
???? Oh My Goodness???? If high schoolers CAN’T read analog clocks but are capable of handling Twitter Snapchat Facebook Spotify ITunes multiple games and who knows what else… We have a problem. I thought that was taught in kindergarten???? https://t.co/NyxXA5uJTb
— Joni❄️Snow Princess (@JoniPrincess) April 29, 2018
Readers on Twitter and Facebook were quick to panic about this change. “Big mistake,” wrote Brad Brettencourt on Twitter. “Analog clocks are usually childrens first exposure to fractions and are important in later thinking in relationship to understanding pie graphs and later becoming comfortable with statistics.”
The problem with his opinion is that it’s not based on reality. Analog clocks are not being removed from Kindergarten classrooms. They’re being removed from examination rooms in high schools because the teens are struggling to read an analog clock. These same teens were raised in Kindergarten, Elementary, and Middle School classroom that all featured analog clocks. So what went wrong?
Technology changed. The students of today are no longer using analog clocks in their daily lives. Without the reinforcement at home, these students have no reason to remember how to read an analog clock. The clocks on their phones, computers, tablets, cars, microwaves, televisions, cable boxes, and more are all digital. Wrist watches, like sundials, are quaint relics to the children born after 2000. Many homes do not even have an analog clock hanging on the wall anymore.
Schools have not failed to teach these children how to read a clock in Kindergarten, society has failed to make this skill relevant for the children of today. If it’s important for your child to know how to read a traditional clock, help your child understand why this skill is necessary and show them the danger of its absence.