* Sylvia Ashton-Warner was an early proponent of organic teaching, which focused on using a child's personal experiences as the starting point for learning.
* She used these techniques to teach young Maori children in New Zealand.
* Using a child's natural "first words" as a way to begin reading was not a new idea, having been mentioned by Voltaire and used by Tolstoy at a Russian peasant school.
* Ashton-Warner argued that Maori children were being forced to adopt a white, foreign culture at too young an age.
* She advocated allowing them to use culturally significant words to learn how to read.
* She believed that after they learned how to read using words that were meaningful to them, they would then have a smoother transition to the dominant culture.
* Many of the children in Ashton-Warner's class were emotionally damaged.
* This damage was reflected in the often violent images from...
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