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Durham e-Theses
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An examination of how children read the time

Rothera, Sally Ann (1989) An examination of how children read the time. Masters thesis, Durham University.



Telling the time seems to be a problematic area for both children and teachers. This project considers how young children come to master our system of measuring and using time. Empirical work focusses on the development and use of a test procedure to evaluate time telling and setting skills in young children. Subjects comprise one hundred and twenty primary school pupils between the ages of six and nine years. Children are required to read time from analogue and digital representations on a computer screen and set time on 'real clocks'. Established educational practices are reviewed from structured discussions with class teachers and school mathematics co-ordinators, and through observation of classroom practice and resources. An extensive analysis is made of children's performance and the nature of their errors. Children are found to perform poorly on reading tasks, and their scores are much lower for reading analogue time than digital time. The number of correct answers obtained on setting tasks are even less. These findings suggest that young children’s understanding of our devices for measuring time are not as developed as they would be appear from a consideration of reading ability alone. Children are found to exhibit an enormous range of misunderstandings, and an examination of the nature of these, highlights the features of visually-coded time that are conceptually difficult for young children to master. The quality of young children's time telling environment at the level of the school and the class, is found to be largely deficient. This situation is presented as a contributory factor to the low performance of subjects on the test. Finally the numerous suggestions for effective teaching methods in the literature are summarized to give some idea of the range of approaches possible, but researchers are criticised for failing to properly evaluate their proposed instructional methods.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1989
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Feb 2013 13:40

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