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Ben Lawless

Co-author of Good Humanities 7 & 8

How long have you been in the education industry?
I’ve been a teacher for seven years. Before that I worked at Melbourne University for about ten years. I was also lucky to work in a university in Vancouver for two years – up a mountain!

How have you noticed your teaching style change over the years? Why do you think this is?
My teaching has heaps more differentiation in it now than when I first started. I used to just teach the same thing to all students, but now I target instruction to student ability as much as possible. I’ve built up enough activities to be able to do this. It is great and my students make way more progress when they are all working in their ‘Goldilocks Zone’ (not too hard, not too easy).

What is the importance to you of good educational resources?
Good educational resources are so important! Teaching is a full-on job and finding or making resources takes time away from the many other things teachers have to do. Resources that are ready to go are the best, especially ones that are underpinned by a developmental mindset.

What has been your favourite part of writing an education resource?
I got to learn heaps about a really specific part of history, which was great. When I teach this content now, I just know so much more of it off by heart. I like having influence in other classrooms so if our book gets used, that’s awesome!

What is your favourite part of being a teacher?
Spending time with young people who are curious and like to have fun and laugh!

What are three things people wouldn’t know about you?
I make electronic dance music, I have a massive toy collection and I’ve been to fifty countries.

What do you like to do when you’re not teaching (or writing)?

Play with Lego with my kids and go for forest walks.

Who are three people, living or dead, you’d love to have dinner with?
Socrates, Friedrich Nietzsche and Jesus.

What is your favourite book and why?
Lord of the Rings because it is so massive and so realistic and Tolkien invented heaps of languages! And because I love fantasy and magic.

Do you follow a sports team?
I am a mad Black Caps supporter (the New Zealand national cricket team).