It may surprise you to learn that some teenagers can’t tell the time. Intelligent ones, even. I have seen this happen particulary when a student is showing symptoms of Dyscalculia…

### Why can’t she tell the time?

It’s a complex skill, and depends on an appreciation of numbers from one to sixty, the five times table, and halves and quarters. Plus of course a sense of whether we are in the “to” zone (leading up to the next hour) or the “past” zone (just past the previous hour) which is essentially a matter of left and right. And leads to 8:40 being called “twenty to nine”. Plus of course the ability to quickly add or subtract 12 is essential to converting from the 24 hour clock to am and pm. **The ability to swiftly move from one numerical naming scheme to another is crucial.**

If any of those underlying skills aren’t strong enough then telling the time is going to be a real struggle.

She may hold tight to digital clocks and only want to work with either the 24 hour clock or only work with AM and PM type times.

### What can a tutor or parent do?

- Understand that this skill IS difficult. Never belittle the student. I have yet to encouter ANY teenager who likes having weaknesses in their raft of mathematical skills
- Find out what they CAN do. Read a digital clock? Say what time things normally happen?