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Forum: Important to expose children to different types of clocks

I read with interest the letter “Have digital instead of analogue clocks in classrooms to help dyslexic kids” (Oct 13).

Difficulties in perceiving time are also a key deficit in those with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

According to ADHD expert Sharon Saline, many kids with ADHD struggle to feel time as it passes and have to be assisted to see it move. Analogue clocks show this to them. 

For children with ADHD, analogue clocks are more effective than digital ones because they provide a visual of how much time has passed and remained. Analogue clocks, in sight, are critical for time awareness and time management.

Time management specialists believe that analogue clocks, unlike digital ones, can teach young people that time moves. The majority of time displays, such as smartphones, computers and smartwatches, are now digital. 

Some schools have ditched analogue clocks and gone fully digital. In other schools, the analogue clock still has its place in the classroom.

I would like to share my own teaching experience with analogue clocks. In a recent Cambridge English Qualification test, a practice paper for foreign students seeking admission to Primary 1 or 2 in our schools, there was a question in the listening test on time.

The question was how to express “10 past 6” in digits, with the answer being “6.10pm”. The common error among students was “10.6pm”. The follow-up review can be effectively done using an analogue teaching clock with markings showing five-minute intervals.

Incidentally, telling time in minutes with the concept of “past” and “to” is taught in P2 mathematics. Children should be exposed to both kinds of clocks in their daily lives. It is important to be able to decode both.

Irene Fong

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