After my editorial last month on outstanding Kiwis and how we seem to have disproportionately more per capita than one might expect, it was interesting to then come across in the media Professor Welby Ings, who has written a book called Disobedient Teaching. I haven’t read his book, but I did watch a couple of interviews, and I found his ideas compelling.
Professor Ings maintains that the “number 8 wire” is not a cultural gift, it has to be taught. He says that with the focus on testing and passing standards, our culture of innovation is dying in the current education system. Kids are learning to be compliant strategists who learn how to tick boxes but who haven’t learned how to take risks. “And,” he says, “you don’t win the Americas Cup with people who are terrified of taking risks.”
I believe there are very few educators who are not passionate about teaching, and that is evident by the articles that I get sent, showcasing the learning that is going on in our local schools. But I believe Professor Ing’s points are also important to take on board, because we all want the best for our children, who represent our future society.
Professor Ing’s views notwithstanding, it is heartening to hear of organisations such as Scouts and Conscious Kids, who are helping to keep the innovative kiwi spirit alive, and who are offering many opportunities for children to take risks and grow and learn from them. Read about several of them in the pages of the Beacon this month, and be inspired.