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Moving book not for the faint-hearted

Disobedient Teaching: surviving and creating change in education  Welby Ings, Otago University Press, 2017.

Disobedient Teaching is a profoundly moving book. It speaks to the very heart of teaching practice: how and why we as teachers relate to others. It puts a spotlight on what we hope to achieve, and how we go about achieving it.

It is not a book for the faint-hearted. It challenges prevailing measurement-based orthodoxies with reasoned and compassionate vigour. It further exposes these approaches as the dehumanising travesty that they are. But it does much more than that. It shines a much needed light on best human practice.

Ings draws on case studies from his own considerable experience in education to outline a way forward for teachers and school leaders. His writing is simple and beautifully crafted, yet communicates a moving challenge.

Some readers will shed tears of joy as they experience an affirmation of their teaching practice that has possibly been denied them for years. Some will react with anger and denial. Others will recognise an opportunity to recalibrate themselves in a way that is even more respectful of human dignity and potential.

Disobedient Teaching is a must read for every classroom- and office-based teacher. It is organised into six parts. Each deals with a key aspect of the author’s overall thesis that in ‘an education system that does staggering damage to potential’ disobedient practice can lead to positive change.

It is worth reading for the anecdotes alone. They are profoundly moving  –  Grant Reid.

Five stars.