Some Schools Are Getting Rid Of Analog Clocks Because Kids Can’t Read Them

For as long as clocks have been in classrooms, teachers have been frustrated by them — usually because the kids are distracted by watching the hands tick away the seconds until recess.

In a sign of our fast-changing times, though, it appears students now struggle with reading a traditional clock. As a result, some schools in the United Kingdom decided to toss out analog clocks because they are causing too much confusion and distraction for children.

Exam Stress Due To Clocks?

According to a report in the UK’s Telegraph, some teachers have replaced traditional clocks with digital clocks because students complained they couldn’t easily keep track of the time during exams.

“The current generation aren’t as good at reading the traditional clock face as older generations,” said Malcolm Trobe, deputy general secretary at the Association of School and College Leaders in England. “Nearly everything they’ve got is digital, so youngsters are just exposed to time being given digitally everywhere.”

clock photo
Getty Images | Win McNamee

High School Students Struggling With Non-Digital Clocks

This doesn’t appear to only be a problem for younger children who may not have had much exposure to analog clocks. Even high school-age students have seen their time-telling skills start to fade over the years, according to educators.

“It is amazing the number of students I am coming across in Year 10, 11 and in sixth form [10th, 11th and 12th grade, respectively] who do not know how to tell the time,” said one teacher in Tes, an educational resource for teachers in the UK. “We live in a world where everything is digital. We are moving towards a digital age and they do not necessarily have analog watches anymore and they have mobile phones with the time on.”

My iPhone 3G 16GB

The Added Stress Of Time

Trobe, a former school headmaster, told the Telegraph, that replacing traditional clocks for digital ones would hopefully help students be able to manage their time better. This, in turn, would help things “as easy and straightforward as possible” during these stressful situations.

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

raising hands photo
Getty Images | Christopher Furlong


Holding Out Hope For Analog Clocks

Despite the changes, education officials are holding out hope that the time for traditional clocks hasn’t completely expired.

“It may be a little sad if youngsters coming through aren’t able to tell the time on clock faces,” Trobe said. “One hopes that we will be teaching youngsters to read clocks. However, we can see the benefit of digital clocks in exam rooms.”

U.S. Prepares To Set Clocks Back As Daylights Saving Time Ends

Public Shocked At Lack Of Clock Skills

As word spread about clocks being pulled from classrooms, people all over the internet shared their shocked reactions. How can today’s students not tell time, they wondered.

While some people might chuckle at the development, Nyla Tai found nothing funny about it at all.


Twitter user @mooter said his teachers had a simple way to reinforce traditional time-telling skills in the classroom:

However, not everyone blames technology or lazy students or even lack of teaching on the time situation. In fact, Ben seems a bit fed up with people complaining about things like cursive writing and analog clocks disappearing from classrooms.

What do you think about replacing analog clocks with digital clocks in classrooms?

In his book Studies in Expressive Movement, famed psychologist Gordon Allport and his…