Back and Forth in (teaching) Time

A few days ago, the teacher at Robert’s summer program made me aware that Robert had difficulties telling time.  I was surprised, but not exactly.  I was surprised, because Robert was taught how to tell time more than ten years ago.  Step by step, he was told how to tell time to:

the full hour,

half an hour,

quarter to and quarter past an hour,

up to five minutes

up to a minute

I was not “EXACTLY” surprised, because I remembered that Robert had always had some difficulties when the time on an analog clock was a few minutes before a  full hour.  Since for such time an hour hand was close to the NEXT hour, Robert kept making one hour mistakes.  When the clock showed 10:49, Robert read, “11:49”.

I kept addressing that problem from time to time,  but never have I insisted on 100% correctness.  I hoped that in the future, as Robert would be required to tell time in order to organize and/or follow his daily routines, the errors would dissipate.

They did not.  Maybe, because the time telling has  never became important to  Robert and/or Robert’s teachers.  And that might include me.

Faced with such conundrum,  I considered two approaches.

One was to use the Teaching Hands Clock. Teaching Hands Clock  is a clock that has  a small oval attached to the hour hand. As one end of the oval approaches but not reaches full hour, let’s say 11, the other end still keeps the correct hour (10) inside the oval. I have seen  Teaching Hands Clocks many times  in the catalogue of the store  Different Roads to Learning, but somehow, I have never ordered it.

The other method is to connect the teaching of telling  times with teaching another, related  skill.  I want  Robert to learn to tell how many minutes TO  an hour or PAST an hour.  I  hope, that if Robert understands  that, for instance,  five minutes TO 11 is the same as 10:55, then he will almost naturally master time telling.

I have to emphasize that if Robert were younger, I would use Teaching Hands Clock, because  at that time I couldn’t rely on any of the skills,  that support Robert’s learning now.

But at present it would be much more enriching to connect two different skills in such a way that they could reinforce each other.

I am convinced that in some instances teaching a concept what seems to be more complex, facilitates the understanding of  the simpler one.  Sometimes, placing a simple concept in a wider picture allows to better understand its function and its mechanism.

If that won’t be the case in teaching time telling, I can always use Teaching Hands Clock.

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