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Stephen Bigger

Stephen Bigger PhD began his career as a secondary teacher and from 1981 was a lecturer in education in teacher training institutes, in Scarborough, Oxford and Worcester, ending as head of department and head of research in education.

Over that period he produced three books in collaboration with colleagues, made chapter contributions to others and wrote many articles and book reviews.

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Publications by Stephen Bigger

Living Contradiction

Describes how one teacher lost himself in his rigid commitment…

Author Blog

Discussion of an authoritarian zero tolerance school

April 14 2018

Little robots: behind the scenes in an academy school. An ethnographic study of a 'flagship'academy school with zero tolerance revealing bullying, regimentation, coercion, leading to a toxic environment in which only the compliant can remain. This is the opposite to what we argue, the spectre we argue against.


An excellent review by Les Back (Goldsmiths) here treating discipline here to a psychological version of corporal punishment (caning).

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Lincoln High School Walla Walla

April 07 2018

Everything we have argued for is found here, in Western Australia. Relate don't suspend!

This is how it went down: A student blows up at a teacher, drops the F-bomb. The usual approach at Lincoln – and, safe to say, at most high schools in this country – is automatic suspension.
Instead, Sporleder sits the kid down and says quietly: “Wow. Are you OK? This doesn’t sound like you. What’s going on?” He gets even more specific: “You really looked stressed. On a scale of 1-10, where are you with your anger?”
The kid was ready. Ready, man! For an anger blast to his face….”How could you do that?” “What’s wrong with you?”…and for the big boot out of school. But he was NOT ready for kindness. The armor-plated defenses melt like ice under a blowtorch and the words pour out: “My dad’s an alcoholic. He’s promised me things my whole life and never keeps those promises.” The waterfall of words that go deep into his home life, which is no piece of breeze, end with this sentence: “I shouldn’t have blown up at the teacher.”


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