Ings, W. (2017). Disobedient teaching: Surviving and creating change in education. Dunedin, NZ: Otago University Press.

I read this book, late last year and wrote the following notes. I believe it is worth looking at now and reminding myself how much I valued the advice in this book. I need to look at the takeaways, to see what I changed and tried. And how well did it work.


Disabling the Obvious

  • Collectively name the 3 most obvious solutions
  • Write them up where everyone can see them, discuss them
  • State that they are no longer possibilities

Impossible Marriages

  • Creatively force a relationship between two unlikely ideas
  • Look at an object in front of you
  • Close eyes and listen. After 30 secs write down one sound you heard.
  • Try to use the sound to sell the object in front of you. Create a unique advertising campaign


In Y9 when introducing micro:bit project use the “disabling the obvious”. See if this results in more diverse projects.  I didn’t do this, and in retrospect if I had – would I have been removing the scaffold that some students needed. As we get better at using the micro:bits this will still be a valid thing to try.

Y7 – “impossible marriages” could be an intro to how we will introduce creativity. Or Lean Canvas could be adapted. Still working on this one. There have been so many changes at Year 7, that changing and trying everything has been impossible.


The measure of performance is not the measure of learning. Set times for testing measures one thing at a set time.

Self and peer evaluation

  • Only the person who has made the work can criticise the work
  • What is effective about the solution and why?
  • If I had the time again what would I change and why?
  • Others can make positive comments, but, more importantly, they should ask analytical questions
  • Deadlines are absolute


Another method to continue to work on with Y9. As part of the exhibitions of projects. I have done this and I believe that it has given me better insights into their thinking. We also keep a log and portfolio of our thinking.


Growing other people

  • Strategically empower the people they work with

Creating high trust environments

  • Decentralised, high trust environments
  • Do not micro manage
  • Do not demand incessant reporting
  • Expect high levels of personal responsibility
  • Do not always place themselves in the final seat of approval

Encouraging critical conversations

  • Respect for questioning and alternative solutions is attentively nurtured
  • Attentive inquiry
  • What do you see as options for dealing with this problem?
  • What is your preferred option and why?
  • What are the benefits, costs and risks of this option?
  • What would have to be done to execute your plan?
  • Who else needs to be involved?
  • What support would you need?

Changing heroic practices

  • Strategically change practices that continue to emphasise the heroic model of leadership

Storying change

  • Change must have a voice
  • Recognise and disseminate authentic stories
  • Own name rarely appears – recognise others and value them


Need to work on stories. We are doing really good things and we need to celebrate. Y8 exhibition is a good example of this. Working on showcasing the students work. Providing many opportunities for the students to share their work with their parents/caregivers and make it visible.


Don’t criticise

  • People don’t respond well
  • Help people come up with the solutions themselves
  • Coax, encourage, question and reward

Question bravely

  • Why we think something happens?
  • How a solution might be improved?
  • What is working with a process?

Show an enduring interest in others

  • Show others they matter

Think from the other person’s perspective

  • Consciously put yourself in other’s shoes
  • Let other people take the credit

Humanise what opposes

  • Establish yourself as human
  • It is hard to attack something that you understand or empathise with
  • Change has the greatest chance of occurring in an environment where people have been enticed into showing appreciation of each other (even if they disagree)

Believe in your potential


Keep questioning

Believe in myself and my ability to influence change. This has been a big year for change and we are continuing to experience the discomfort. I am continuing to evaluate – my big focus for this year is gathering learner voice (both teacher and student).

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