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Teacher Hardcover – 1963
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Top Customer Reviews
The point is, Ashton-Warner was a careful observer of the young Maori children she taught. She knew that what she had been trained to do in a college teacher-training program wasn't working, so she really looked to see what the children cared about, and invented ways to teach them based upon their deep interests and respecting their culture, different from her own. She, a left-handed artist, was different from the mainstream, and wanted to be appreciated...and she carried this and other knowledge from her personal life into her teaching. Ashton-Warner wasn't a woman of perfection, but she made a contribution that lasts...This book has changed the lives of many, many teachers -- I know because they have told me.
One of her main points was that the contemporary "Dick and Jane" method of teaching reading was too imposing, stagnant, and foreign to inspire success and a love of learning for her Maori students. She created a new system to do the job of bridging the old, illiterate civilization of the Maoris to contemporary New Zealand. Her method became famous. It is fairly simple and has been used since in a multitude of kindergarten and 1st grade classrooms. Children were allowed to give Ms. Ashton-Warner, their teacher, a new word every day. The word was traced, written, practiced, shared, and reviewed the next day. If the word was important enough to the child, it was remembered and therefore called an "organic" word since it came from an important part of the individual child. Children had word cards and every day would locate their own personal word cards amidst the class' collection.
As Ms.Read more ›
For young Maoris at the time of Ashton-Warner's writing, these words were not always positive, as many of her students were from troubled backgrounds. Words such as "fear" and "kill" were as popular among them as "kiss" and "love." Ms. Ashton-Warner's infant reading texts were hand-crafted by her for each student's particular needs and interests. After developing an "organic" vocabulary, the Maoris were better able to tackle traditional English elementary texts.
I found a sixth edition of this book in my late father's library. It was required reading for my father's Masters in Education program at Hunter College in New York City during the late 1960s and early 1970s. "Teacher" was first published in 1963.
Contemporary readers, especially Americans, may find the style somewhat dated. Towards the end of the book, Ms. Ashton-Warner changes from a conversational format to a diary-like, almost stream-of-consciousness style which is rather confusing. She also uses New Zealand terms such as "pa" and "haka" whose meanings have to be determined with some difficulty from context.
All that said, the message of "Teacher" is as vibrant today as it was when this work was first published. It is as relevant to building cross-cultural bridges as it is to enhancing learning among students of all backgrounds. My father drew upon it in getting reluctant older students to write and read about things that they were truly interested in. "Teacher" provides an important caveat to today's world of standardized testing and rigid pedagogical criteria.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have wantred to read this for a long time. It copletely lived up to expectatrons.Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
The book has transcended decades of fads in education. It is still the definitive work on learning and teaching, and very useful to anyone who cares about the student.Published 20 months ago by Lynn Olcott
Came too late for class luckily I could check it out from library. It was more than one week too late. Took over 3 weeks to mail . ???Published on June 7, 2014 by lakarr
I love this book! Every first grade teacher should teach reading as this teacher does. And every kindergarten teacher should use it in the Spring to help children prepare for... Read morePublished on March 19, 2014 by Mary E. Feagan
Probably dated but I am glad someone (a teacher) told me about it and I was able to read it.Published on March 5, 2014 by Joanne Zinn