The small hand tells you the hours and the big hand tells you the minutes, but the traditional clock face no longer tells many pupils anything at all.
A teacher, giving a presentation at a conference in London, has said that many pupils in Years 9, 10, and 11 are only able to tell the time if provided with a digital clock.
She told participants: "It is amazing the number of students I am coming across in Year 10, 11 and in sixth form who do not know how to tell the time.
"We live in a world where everything is digital. We are moving towards a digital age and they do not necessarily have analogue watches anymore and they have mobile phones with the time on."
The teacher was speaking at a conference held last month by PIXL (Partners in Excellence), a partnership of more than 2,500 schools, sixth forms and alternative providers.
A number of Twitter teachers agreed, with some pointing out that their pupils were unable to understand clock chimes.
They don't need to learn how to tell the time; they've got phones!— Naureen Khalid (@5Naureen) March 13, 2018
Children tend to get bought an iPhone before they get a wrist watch if at all— Niall Dosad (@Dosad_SCITTELS) March 14, 2018
The Year 1 national curriculum programme of study for maths requires that pupils learn to tell the time on an analogue clock, and to be able to draw hands on a clock face marking the hour and half-hour.
However, writer and primary-education expert Sue Cowley suggested that this means very little 10 years after pupils have left key stage 1.
they did it in KS1/2 - maybe they forgot because no one used it since?— Sue Cowley #fff (@Sue_Cowley) March 14, 2018
Certainly, many teachers recognised the practical difficulties created by horological illiteracy among GCSE candidates.
Yep. Doesn’t help in exams. Or detentions. 🙄— Sarah Ledger (@sezl) March 14, 2018
Others, however, argued that digital clocks ensured that no pupil was left out.
Always use a digital clock for exams. Many dyslexics find analogue very hard.— Pig Witch (@pig_witch) March 14, 2018