Grumpy Opinions by Tabitha Korol
“It was a cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” Thus began George Orwell’s prophetic novel, 1984, written forty years earlier, preparing the reader for a dystopian future under socialism – a society of great suffering and injustice, and bereft of reason. This symbol of the thirteenth stroke brings into question what transpired through all the previous twelve hours, when inhumanity triumphed over our society, destroying our time and history itself.
In Orwell’s tale, words were constantly being removed from the language and history repeatedly revised so that the citizens could no longer formulate thoughts. The character, Winston Smith, explains, “He who controls the past, controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.” We live in similar times, perhaps not as dramatically, but certainly equally disturbing. We are witness to ongoing destruction of our vocabulary, disintegration of the family unit, isolation and disorientation of the individual, demolition of historic monuments, whitewashed history, and a tampering of time, all combining to extinguish and remake our society. The focus of this diminished schooling and re-education is our young.
“British schools are removing analog clocks from exam halls because kids can’t read them,” reported Paul Bois, in the Daily Wire, April 2, 2019, with the subheading, “Many educators are phasing out analog clocks…” Rather than teach the kids to read the time, the educators are removing the clocks; this is happening in the US, as well. An emailed message from a teacher in the US read, “I get fifth graders asking me what time it is; there are two clocks in my classroom.” Where are the parents? And why can’t this teacher with two clocks set aside five minutes a day to teach what should have been taught in Kindergarten?
Studies have shown that being able to tell time on an analog clock is good for the brain and the mind. It enhances the children’s cognitive and creative skills and helps them to visualize and learn time management – to understand the passage of time and how much time is left to complete a task. It boosts their abilities to solve complex mathematical manipulations, with increments and fractions comparable to similar concepts in other activities – even to grasp and learn map direction. Of course, the academics and psychologists are aware, yet the regression continues as we move closer to thirteen o’clock.
Another methodical and consistent destruction to our children’s conceptualization, creativity, and ability to work through and solve problems is the removal of cursive writing from the curriculum. Suzanne Baruch Asherson, occupational therapist, wrote in the New York Times (April 13, 2013), “Putting pen to paper stimulates the brain like nothing else.” It stimulates brain synapses and synchronicity between the left and right hemispheres, leading to increased comprehension, expression, critical thinking, working memory, and higher SAT scores – skills not achieved from printing and typing[…]