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time - not what you're expecting!

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussions' started by mac, Feb 14, 2018.

  1. mac

    mac Staff Member

    We're always debating time and how it's not linear and all that good stuff. This thread has NOTHING to do with that! ;) No it's something much simpler and basic - it's about how we perceive time in our daily lives. Let me explain.....

    I'm an old fart and grew up post-war when the UK used Imperial Units for weight, volumes and expressing the temperature. I grew up with pounds, shillings and pence and most of our imperial units changed when the UK changed over to the metric system. I worked in science all my life and I still routinely use metric and imperial units interchangeably. I'm fortunate I am familiar with all the common and not-so-common units.

    Significant to this thread now I also grew up with analogue clocks and watches although we didn't refer to 'em that way as digital displays were rarely seen at that time. I learned to 'tell the time' the traditional way and forty years later when I worked in learning support I found myself working with less-able kids and teaching them how to tell the time. What I found surprised me; not only did these kids not know how to tell even basic time they hadn't come into contact with a traditional clock or watch. I assume their parents would have had digital watches or used a cell phone and if there was a house clock (far from certain) it would likely have been a digital one. Whatever - the kids simply didn't recognise or understand clock-face time so my role was to teach it.

    It also made me wonder about what a clock face meant - or indeed a digital display - in practical terms to these kids. As they couldn't relate to twenty five past six, for example, did they understand how many minutes it was before their favorite TV program, for example? But did 6.25 mean anything either? Maybe time has never meant a lot to youngsters and it's only as we age that it takes on significance? Or is there more to it than that?

    Take a look at twenty three minutes after seven on an analogue clock. With a bit of familiarity and practice a child can actually see how far 'the big hand' has to move before it's 8 o' clock and time to be in school or whatever. The child doesn't need to know it's indicating that particular time because they can see the hand moving around the dial and heading towards the point when they know something important has to happen. But what if the clock shows 7.23? What does that mean? A child can't do the math working out how many minutes there are between 8.00 and 7.23 or see a point where something has to happen as the minutes display approaches it - or can they? I just don't know. We taught our daughter both digital and analogue time before she went to school and she knew what both meant to the degree a small child does. We would ask her what the time was using both analogue and digital clocks. But without someone doing that for their own kids, who else can? School? Maybe. If there's enough....time!

    So now I hear folk saying 6.44 instead of 'almost quarter to seven' 6.30 instead of half past/after six, 12.23 instead of about twenty five past twelve etc. Is that progress or dumbing-down?
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2018
    kim likes this.
  2. Bill Z

    Bill Z Well-Known Member

    IMO it is dumbing down. Here's what I'm seeing:
    1)There is no (or little) cursive writing taught anymore. It exercises both sides of the brain.
    2)We communicate in 144 character tweets. Younger people tell me not to send emails, they are too long.
    3)Music IMO has been degraded. Billie Holiday, Hendrix, the Beatles, Tony Bennett, James Brown, Bach & Chopin could not get a gig in the current music scene.
    4)GMO's, flouride, etc, etc IMO dumb us down.
    5)Instant gratification rules!

    IMO we are being dumbed down, the question is BY WHO?

    Frank Zappa said: "do your job, do it right, life's a ball. TV tonight!"
  3. mac

    mac Staff Member

    Isn't it the society and its fashionable values that are contributing to our dumbing-down? Not a person or persons but by the fashions of modern life....

    If tweeting led to our being succinct I'd laud the change and I'm not confident that using cursive writing would improve folk's ability to communicate effectively - 'pretty writing' doesn't lead to that. Disciplined thinking might. Music, like art, appeals to whom it appeals and fashion is all. I'm far from persuaded that adding fluoride to drinking water for dental health causes dumbing down or for that matter genetically modified organisms...

    But maybe you're just sending us up. ;) In my piece I wasn't.
  4. kim

    kim Active Member

    It seems to me that we are being dumbed down. We are becoming followers or people who are afraid to be different. Nobody likes to think deeply anymore or talk about deep stuff. I have been criticized for expressing my self poorly in my writing by a certain member on this forum;), but I do like to think about deep stuff. I'd like to talk about it but nobody is interested. It seems deep to me anyway.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2018
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  5. Cute Bear

    Cute Bear Banned

    By ourselves, by agreement.
    kim likes this.
  6. Bill Z

    Bill Z Well-Known Member

    Mac we can agree to disagree on this:
    On Cursive:
    Scientific studies have proven their cognitive utility and ... researchers surmise one reason may be because when we write by hand, every letter of every word demands different actions, engaging the brain more.
    From NY Times: learning to write in cursive is shown to improve brain development in the areas of thinking, language and working memory. Cursive handwriting stimulates brain synapses and synchronicity between the left and right hemispheres, something absent from printing and typing.

    If Shakespeare, Jefferson, Jung only tweeted we'd be in a world of hurt. Sure it's good for a quick response but quick responses don't answer large questions. I've been told by many millennials that they can't comprehend more than a paragraph and to me that's pretty sad.
    ravensgate and Cute Bear like this.
  7. mac

    mac Staff Member

    I'm happy to be corrected by scientific studies but your original assertions were preceded by "Here's what I'm seeing:" It sounded like your opinion. Had you said the above originally we wouldn't be having this conversation now....

    Clearly unable to be substantiated so that's an opinion but I accept your point that their mastery of language would be hard to appreciate in an unending series of tweets. I'd expect, however, all of them would eschew such a means of communication.

    Nothing to disagree with there. The situation concerning tweets is also sad and dispiriting when leaders of nations use them to communicate with the electorate. Tweeting, text messaging and using social media etc. do, however, allow a measure of communication - often poor communication admittedly - for individuals whose standard of education and personal ability is not of a high order.

    Maybe what's most the problem, though, is that teaching and eductional standards generally are simply not as good as we should reasonably expect. And that's another conversation. ;)
  8. ravensgate

    ravensgate Active Member

    Kim Marine, perhaps your "problem" is that you know what you want to say but are unable - for whatever reason - to articulate it adequately. No worries :)
    kim likes this.
  9. genewardsmith

    genewardsmith Active Member

    Kim Marine makes sense to me.
    kim likes this.
  10. ravensgate

    ravensgate Active Member

    These days it is such a treat to receive a handwritten letter! Personally, I have very little use for today's sloppy ways of communicating. Perhaps I'm "old school", but whenever I receive an e-mail containing several mistakes (spelling, etc.) in the first few lines, I'm left with a rather poor impression of the sender and end up deleting the e-mail. If you can't show your recipient a bit of consideration, in the wastebasket you go :rolleyes: Do high school and college students still write essays? If not, I think they should bring essay writing back!

    Regarding children and time, their learning about time isn't something innate (a few have suggested that children "are born that way"); rather it is learned. By the age of 5 children are usually able to tell that 20 minutes is less than an hour, or that 3 hours is longer than 15 minutes. As they age, they improve. Before the age of 7, most children have a rough time putting the descriptors in their proper place; for example, if you tell them that you ran for 20 minutes and your brother ran for 1 hour, and then ask them to tell you who ran more, the children tend to stumble.

    In an issue of Cognitive Psychology, researchers Tillman & Barner (2015) suggest that before mapping the duration of time, children learn time words as an ordered category, and for children to grasp the real meaning of time, they must experience the words and the concept together. Interestingly something very similar also happens with colors, numbers, and emotions.

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