schools removing analog clocks

Schools in England are removing analog clocks from exam halls because students can’t properly read them, according to a report from the Telegraph.

Malcolm Trobe, deputy general secretary at the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), says students today cannot read analog clocks because they’re so accustomed to 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.”

But, unbelievably, instead of teaching students how to read analog clocks, schools are opting to remove them so as not to cause any “unnecessary stress.”

Mr Trobe, a former headmaster, said that teachers want their students to feel as relaxed as possible during exams. Having a traditional clock in the room could be a cause of unnecessary stress, he added.

He said that schools are trying to make everything as “as easy and straightforward as possible” for pupils during their exams.

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

“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.”

Other teachers around England have noticed the problem, too. Cheryl Quine, a head of department at Cockermouth School and chair of the West Cumbria Network, said on Twitter that they first discovered the issue “a few years ago.”

But, disturbingly, the inability to tell time on an analog clock is far from the worst side effect of our increasing reliance on technology. According to Sally Payne, the head pediatric occupational therapist at the Heart of England foundation NHS Trust, children are having increasing difficulty holding pens and pencils.

“To be able to grip a pencil and move it, you need strong control of the fine muscles in your fingers. Children need lots of opportunity to develop those skills,” she said.

“It’s easier to give a child an iPad than encouraging them to do muscle-building play such as building blocks, cutting and sticking, or pulling toys and ropes. Because of this, they’re not developing the underlying foundation skills they need to grip and hold a pencil.”

This is absolutely unacceptable. Parents should not rob their children of basic skills simply because it’s easier to distract them with technology. Children need social interaction, sunshine, and meaningful playtime that will not only help them to develop the skills that will carry them well into adulthood, but also help them create lasting memories. So the next time you think about giving your son, daughter, or grandchild your phone or iPad, maybe think twice and encourage them to do something more constructive instead.

Share this if you think technology is handicapping our children!

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