Disobedient teaching: surviving and creating change in education

28 Feb, 2017

Despite being expelled from Secondary School and suspended from Teachers College, AUT Professor Welby Ings’ new book is about teaching.

Disobedient Teaching: Surviving and creating change in education is being released this week.

Professor Ings says he wrote the book as he has for a long time questioned the dehumanised systems of learning and our preoccupation with micromanaging teachers.

“In the book, I question the obsession we have with assessing performance, and argue for higher levels of creativity in learning, teaching and educational management.”

Disobedient Teaching takes a stand against our national obsession with testing and reporting. It calls for higher levels of teacher agency and learning that operate away from the restrictions of performance indicators, predetermined criteria and tick-box teaching.

Professor Ings argues that positive disobedience is a fundamental teaching behaviour among successful practitioners, and the ability of excellent teachers to change learning and learning environments is predicated on it.

His book examines creativity, assessment, passion, our obsession with ‘success’, and how teachers influence change. To do this it tells stories from the chalk face. Some are funny and some are heartbreaking, but they all happen in New Zealand schools.

Disobedient Teaching suggests that the essence of what makes a great teacher is the ability to stand up to, and change educational practices that have been shaped by anxiety, ritual and convention.

In the face of New Zealand’s increasing and uncritical political obsession with accountability and reporting, his book argues the transformative power of teachers who think, critique, defy and act.

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