Teaching: Putting Life into Learning

In Spinster, her vivid novel pub lished in 1959, Sylvia Ashton-Warner told of a loving, slightly balmy school teacher who taught Maori children in back-country New Zealand. Herself a teacher for 17 years in Maori schools (but a grandmother rather than a spinster), Novelist Ashton-Warner endowed her heroine with an extraordinary gift for handling young Maori minds in conflict with civilization. Dropping the fictional cloak, she has now expounded her singular methods in Teacher. Published this week (Simon & Schuster; $5), it may well be the year's best book on education.

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