'Teacher' was first published in 1963 to excited acclaim. Its author, Sylvia Ashton-Warner, who lived in New Zealand and spent many years teaching Maori children, found that Marois taught according to British methods were not learning to read. They were passionate, moody children, bred in an ancient legend-haunted tradition; how could she build them a bridge to European culture that would enable them to take hold of the great joy of reading? Ashton-Warner devised a method whereby written words became prized possessions for her students. Today her findings are strikingly relevant to the teaching of socially disadvantaged and non-English-speaking students.
'Teacher' is part diary, part inspired description of Ashton-Warner's teaching method in action. Her fiercely loved children come alive individually, as do the unique setting and the character of this extraordinary woman.
Sylvia Constance Ashton-Warner MBE (17 December 1908 – 28 April 1984) was born and educated in New Zealand, where for many years she taught in small country schools. She developed revolutionary teaching methods which she described in 'Teacher'; the book was read around the world. Her first novel, 'Spinster', became a best-seller. She is the author of five novels, two educational books and autobiographical works.
'Sylvia', and MGM/UA film released in 1985, is based on the life of Sylvia Ashton-Warner and draws on several of her books, primarily 'Teacher'.