Ted's teaching tips

30th October 1998 at 00:00
The Big Picture:See page 18

We have just turned our clocks back and Dali's surreal distortion of something as familiar as a watch raises questions about the nature of time.

Time, the concept Define time - what is it? What is the link between time and space? (imagine a video sequence of knocking down a wall of bricks played forwards and backwards). Can we see the past? (museums, old buildings, antiques). Can we see the future (for instance, January 1, 2000, will probably be cold. It will probably get light at about 8am and go dark about 4pm). Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher, said that you could never step in the same river twice. What does this mean?

Keeping time How can we keep time? (watch, clock, hour glass, candle, counting in our head). Why is time important in our society? (catching train or bus, school lessons). What might happen if we could not measure time (burn food, miss our holiday plane).

Surrealism Think of examples of surrealism (painting by Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte, Monty Python humour, Spike Milligan poem). Dali's "melted watch" is an unexpected distortion of the familiar. Can children paint or write something surreal?

Writing You travel in space at near the speed of light (so time appears to "slow down" for you). When you return it is now the year 2008 on Earth. what is life like?

Ted Wragg is professor of education at Exeter University

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