Study reports English students have tough time reading analog clocks

Posted at 12:51 PM, Mar 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-24 13:51:25-04

In the modern age, most of what we do is on a screen.

Whether it’s watching Netflix, checking Facebook or even doing homework, we all scan screens — all the time.

The Telegraph reports it’s had an effect in the United Kingdom. Teachers now are installing digital clocks in exam rooms because their children reportedly have a tough time reading analog clocks. It results in them not knowing how much time they have left to finish exams.

Malcolm Trobe, the deputy general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, told the Telegraph that English students under the age of 18 have been accustomed to using digital devices and digital clocks.

“The current generation aren’t as good at reading the traditional clock face as older generations,” Trobe 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.”

It’s scary because Trobe is a former principal and has a good handle on British education. He says that teachers want their students to be as relaxed as imaginable in an exam setting.

He says that a traditional clock provides unnecessary stress.

“You don’t want them to put their hand up to ask how much time is left,” Trobe explained.

“Schools will inevitably be doing their best to make young children feel as relaxed as the can be. 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.”

Although reading clock faces is taught in school, Trobe said that many students still don’t fully understand them by the time they reach high school.

“It may be a little sad if youngsters coming through aren’t able to tell the time on clock faces,” he said.

“One hopes that we will be teaching youngsters to read clocks, however, we can see the benefit of digital clocks in exam rooms.”

So what do you think? Is this an indictment of the British educational system?

Or should it be something that American schools readily employ?