Much of what you read here come from conversations with my students on the first day of the ‘Time Semester’.
How do you teach concepts that, on the face of it, appear to be simple? But teaching about Time is far from simple – where do you begin and more importantly how do you begin? I had planned to introduce my students to a basic understanding of time in relation to the past, present and future, time as linear, and the ways in which we have, over the centuries documented time.
I began this class with a question on the board: What is Time? The students responded to this question by speaking of a ‘storehouse’ of moments and it was through an opening of the storehouse that we were able to calculate and understand time. The students felt that it was memory that controlled time. This was much further than I hoped they would be, the prospect of this conversation and the evolution of this conversation was an exciting prospect. And so it seemed fitting to introduce different ideas into the equation – and so I introduced the idea of space. What was the relation of time and space? Could time work in isolation? Does space relate to Time? And how? Does time have a form?
These were some of the questions we addressed in the first half of the class. The results of this conversation were fascinating for two reasons. One, the students responses were insightful and delved deeply into philosophical ideas (ideas that they were able to articulate without prior knowledge) and second, because of the range of examples the students were able to draw from, from both their everyday and outside of themselves.
They began to talk about language as the tool that informed Time because of its relationship with Memory. And through this articulation of language as a tool they began to question.
Here are some of things we came up with:
And here is a video that keeps time: