Harvard Educational Review
  1. Journey With Children

    The Autobiography of a Teacher

    By Frances P. Lothrop Hawkins

    Niwot: University Press of Colorado, 1997. 432 pp. $22.50 (paper)

    The autobiography of Frances Lothrop Hawkins, Journey with Children, is the story of a teacher who believes in children. It artfully illustrates how teaching demands listening, watching closely, and following children where their natural curiosities lead them. And it is about respect.

    Hawkins tells us, "To have respect for children is more than recognizing their potentialities in the abstract, it is also to seek out and value their accomplishments - however small they may appear by the normal standards of adults" (p. 350). Examples of Hawkins's keen ability to recognize children's accomplishments and genuinely give them value are found throughout this book. Her respect for children is illustrated not only through her direct encounters with them, but also through the settings that she carefully designs for her students. Whether in the field school, on the Indian reservation, at a co--op school for four--year--olds, or in classrooms in inner--city Boston, Hawkins provides children with environments that elicit their own interests and thereby "deepen their engagement in practice and thought" (p. 350).

    Journey with Children is organized chronologically, beginning with Hawkins's first teaching experience, as a substitute in mid--Depression San Francisco, and recounts her varied experiences in rural, urban, and home--grown "gypsy" classrooms. Woven into the many stories of her students is her theory, which holds the book together.

    As I read this enlightening account, I found myself wishing to know more about Frances Hawkins's life outside of teaching. Although in the Introduction she touches on the relationship between her childhood history and her teaching, I still found myself asking who Frances Lothrop Hawkins was before she walked into that first classroom as a teacher and what influences from her life account for the teacher she has become. I would have loved to hear stories that would shed some light on how she has come to watch so closely, listen so intently, and deeply understand children the way she does.

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    Book Notes

    We Can't Eat Prestige
    By John Hoerr

    The Seed Is Mine
    By Charles van Onselen

    The Essential Piaget
    Edited by Howard E. Gruber and J. Jacques Vonëche

    Journey With Children
    By Frances P. Lothrop Hawkins

    Guided Reading
    By Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell

    One Child, Two Languages
    By Patton O. Tabors

    Taking Note
    By Brenda Miller Power