Six utterly random laws

Clandfield's Law of Procrastination clearly states that...

Time to put your thinking caps on readers! One of the things I enjoy watching are the TED Talks (I’m sure many of you know them, but in case you don’t then be sure to check them out here). One of the latest I saw was Dan Cobley talk about everything physics had taught him about marketing. It was an ingenious little talk about theories of physics and how they could be applied to marketing.
It got me wondering, could we not do the same with ELT? I seem to remember fellow blogger Alex Case writing once that anything, absolutely anything, could be made to relate to ELT if you were ingenious enough. So here’s my idea. Below are six utterly random laws from various fields. Can you take one and form it into a law relating to ELT? For example, Murphy’s Law states “If anything can go wrong, it will”. So I could change this to be Clandfield’s Law of lesson observation: “If anything can go wrong in an observed lesson it will”. Get the idea? That was the easy one. How about the following laws?

1 Newton’s First Law. Every body remains in a state of rest or uniform motion unless it is acted upon by an external force.

2. The Second Law of Thermodynamics. In a system, a process that occurs will tend to increase the total entropy (disorder) of the universe.

3. Heisenburg’s Uncertainty Principle. It’s impossible to measure the position and the momentum of a particle because the act of measuring it, by definition, changes it.

4. Parkinson’s Law. Work expands so as to fill the time available.

5. The Peter Principle. In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his or her level of incompetence.

6. Tobler’s First Law of Geography. Everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related than distant things.

Try it out with your colleagues. Can you make one or more of these relate to English teaching? Or perhaps another law of your own invention? Post a comment – you may assure yourself a place in ELT stardom!

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Published in: on November 5, 2010 at 1:13 pm  Comments (9)  
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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Number 4’s too easy, Lindsay – paperwork! Number 2 sounds like a running dictation gone very wrong…

    • Thanks Mike! But what I wanted was you to reform it. So for example number 4 becomes Harrison’s Law: Teachers admin work expands to fill the time available. Right?

      • Ah, that’s right! But it has more cachet now you’ve named it after me ;o)
        I’ll have to get on with that guest post I’ve got on the backburner for you…

      • Yes, that’s right! Clandfield’s law of guest blogging…

  2. Buckingham’s First Law of Monday Morning: All ESOL learners (and some teachers) will remain in a state of partial inertia until acted upon by the internal force of caffeine(usually kicks in after 11am).

  3. Boyle’s Law describes the relationship between Pressure and Volume in gases at a fixed temperature. While one doubles, the other halves. This came up in my Proficiency class today (don’t ask me why!). I thought to myself how appropriate it was. I’ve always found that the more homework you give (Pressure), the less students actually produce (Volume).

  4. Here’s my try.

    1. Newton’s First Law. Every student remains in a state of rest and inactivity unless he or she is acted upon by an motivated and competent teacher.

    2. The Second Law of ELT. In class, interesting activities that occur will tend to increase the total engagement of the students.

    3. Heisenburg’s Uncertainty Principle. It’s impossible to measure the ability and confidence of a student because the act of measuring it is, by definition, random.

    4. Parkinson’s Law. A lesson plan expands so as to fill the prep time available.

    5. The Peter Principle. In a poorly run school, every teacher tends to rise to his or her level of incompetence.

    6. Tobler’s First Law of ELT. Everything is related to ELT, but the teachers favourite things are more related than other things.

    Phew!

    • Nice one! Like that last one especially.

  5. Hi Lindsay ,

    Awards are a reward for those who merit applause !

    I hope that last night went well and would like to thank you for a very interesting and informative flight , as a result of our conversation .

    Let me know if you are ever close to Stanstead airport and fancy a blast in a classic BMW M5 !

    Best Regards ,
    David


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